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Penn State Wrestling Recap: Zain Retherford Sweeps Nick Lee for the 65 KG title

19 MAR 2016: 149 lbs. – No. 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) defeats No. 2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) during the final night of the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Champioships at Madison Square Garden in New York City,NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State wrestling legend Zain Retherford wasn’t sure if he was even going to compete at this year’s Olympic Trials, and he’s leaving them with a trip to Paris planned for this summer.

Retherford swept teammate Nick Lee in the best-of-3 championship series, taking match 2, 5-0, to win the 65 kg Trials.

“I went to Coach Cody (Sanderson’s) office in November, and we had a conversation,” Retherford said. “I said, ‘I’m done.’ In January he came up with a gameplan and said, ‘If you still have the itch, it can be done.’ I put my trust in the coaches, and I’m grateful.”

It wasn’t all sunshine for NLWC members, though. Thomas Gilman was swept in his championship series by Iowa’s Spencer Lee at 57 kg. Lee pinned Gilman in the second match for the right to go to Paris.

In the much-anticipated series in the 86 kg final, Aaron Brooks picked up a 4-1 victory on reigning gold medalist David Taylor. Taylor would have to win two in a row on Brooks in the evening session to return to the Olympics.

Mitchell Mesenbrink picked up a third place finish at 74 kg in his first taste of the Olympic Trials. Mesenbrink was beaten by Jordan Burroughs in the semifinals last night.

“Losing isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. It’s the same thing in NCAAs,” Mesenbrink said. “It stings, but I’m grateful.”

Kyle Dake took the first bout of the 74 kg finals, as did Kyle Snyder at 97 kg. Both will need one win to qualify for the Olympics this evening.

Penn State wrestling star Greg Kerkvliet finished the tournament with a fourth place finish.

The evening session begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on USA and Peacock.

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