Oklahoma State freshman Kaden Gfeller pinned fellow freshman Nick Lee of Penn State in 4 minutes, 50 seconds to win the 141-pound Southern Scuffle title Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Gfeller used his quickness from the start to score a takedown only five seconds into the match, but Lee countered with an escape and a takedown for a 3-2 lead. The Cowboy wrestler also recorded an escape to make it 3-all before Lee, who upset top-seeded Josh Alber of Northern Iowa in the semifinals, took a two-point lead with a takedown. Gfeller escaped then fought off another takedown from Lee for 20 seconds with only three fingers locked around the Nittany Lion wrestler’s crotch to trail 5-4 after the first period.
Lee took top position to start the second period and recorded a two-point nearfall during a scramble just 18 seconds into the frame for a 7-4 lead. Gfeller then received a penalty point for locked hands by Lee and scored a reversal to tie the match at 7-7. Gfeller turned Lee to his back and worked for nearly a minute before getting the pin at the 4:50 mark.
It was quite the coming out party for the undefeated four-time state champion from Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City. He went 4-0 during the tournament, including a 2-1 win over No. 17-ranked Luke Karam of Lehigh in the semifinals and a medical forfeit from Penn State’s Jered Cortez. He also had a technical fall and a fall Monday.
OSU’s Gary Wayne Harding also reached the finals at 133 pounds, but fell to Virginia’s No. 2 seed Jack Mueller 10-0. Harding earned a spot in the finals with a 3-2 win on riding time against Colby Smith.
Penn State, led by six individual champions, ran away with the Southern Scuffle team title, finishing with 70 points ahead of second-place Northern Iowa. The Nittany Lion’s five returning NCAA champions all won, Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184). The other Nittany Lion title went to an unseeded wrestler, Shakur Rasheed (197).
Northern Iowa took second with 127.0 and Lehigh was third with 102.0. Penn State’s 197 points are the second most in Southern Scuffle to OSU’s 198 in 2017. The Cowboys didn’t compete as a team this year due to their dual against North Carolina State at 12:30 p.m. CST Friday at Naples Naval Base in Naples, Italy.
Championship results (seeds listed)
125 - No. 1 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. No. 2 Jay Schwarm (UNI), 11-4
133 - No. 2 Jack Mueller (Virginia) maj. dec. Gary Wayne Harding (OSU), 10-0
141 - No. 6 Kaden Gfeller (OSU) pin No. 5 Nick Lee (PSU), 4:50
149 - No. 1 Zain Retherford (PSU) pin Josh Heil (Campbell), 4:39
157 - No. 1 Jason Nolf (PSU) pin No. 2 Mitch Finesilver (Duke), 0:51
165 - No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) maj. dec. No. 2 Bryce Steiert (UNI), 8-0
174 - No. 1 Mark Hall (PSU) dec. No. 2 Jordan Kutler (Lehigh), 4-0
184 - No. 1 Bo Nickal (PSU) dec. No. 2 Drew Foster (UNI), 10-2
197 - Shakur Rasheed (PSU) pin No. 5 Jacob Holschlag (UNI), 0:42
285 - No. 2 Jacob Kasper (Duke) dec. No. 8 Mike Boykin (NC State), 3-1 sv