LINCOLN, NEB – Two Penn State national champions will represent the United States in on the world stage as junior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) and true freshman Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) claimed titles Saturday at the 2017 US World Team Trials and US Junior World Team Trials respectively.
Retherford, a junior and a two-time NCAA Champion, downed Nittany Lion all-time great and 2016 US Olympian Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) in the 65 kg weight class’ best-of-three finals Saturday. Molinaro, who tied for fourth at the 2016 Olympics last year, won the first match 7-6 before Retherford rebounded to claim the title. The Nittany Lion, who returns for his senior year next season, won the next match 6-0 to set up a third and final bout for the title and a spot on the U.S. World Team. Retherford posted a 7-4 win to become a U.S. World Team member for the first time. He placed third last year.
Hall, a true freshman last season and an NCAA Champion, rolled over Iowa’s Alex Marinelli in the finals at 74 kg. Hall posted a dominating 10-0 win at the 1:53 mark to earn a spot on the 2017 U.S. Junior World Team.
Retherford will compete for the USA in Paris, France, on August 21-16. Hall will compete in Tampere, Finland, in the 2017 Junior World Championships on August 1-6. Both athletes represented the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club at the US World Team Trials.
Penn State won its sixth NCAA national championship in the last seven years in St. Louis in March. Penn State also won the 2017 Big Ten Regular season crown and the NWCA Dual Championship Series title, going 14-0 overall with a 9-0 mark in conference action. Penn State returns nine of its starters, eight of nine NCAA qualifiers and all six of its 2017 All-Americans for next the 2017-18 season (including five NCAA Champions).