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Penn State Wrestling Legend Zain Retherford Loses in World Qualifier

Photo by Mark Selders, Penn State Athletics: Zain Retherford wrestled Nick Lee

Penn State wrestling legend Zain Retherford still has a path to the Olympics Games in Paris this summer, but the path will be more difficult now.

After winning his first two matches as 65 KG, Retherford fell in the Round of 16 to Mongolia’s Tumar Ochir 7-2.

The bout was closer than the score would indicate.

In the last 30 seconds, Retherford was tied 2-2 and ahead on criteria. Ochir then hit a single-leg takedown with exposure to go ahead by five points and win the bout. Retherford needed Ochir to win his next two matches and make the finals to keep his own Olympic dreams alive.

Ochir won his quarterfinal bout 9-0 and has to win one more.

Retherford will also need to win consolation matches in qualification rounds Sunday with will take place between 11 and 1:30.

Retherford started his day with a second-period fall over Romania’s Stefan Coman. The next match was even more dominant. He got an 11-0 first period tech over Yemen’s Ibrahim Guzan.

Before the World Qualifiers, Retherford took care of business at the U.S. Olympic Trials in his old college backyard.

Retherford beat fellow Penn State wrestling standout Nick Lee in a best two-out-of three final to earn a chance to compete in Istanbul.

Before his freestyle career, Retherford made a name for himself as one of the best wrestlers in Penn State history. He and future Olympic Gold Medalist/Oklahoma State head coach David Taylor are the only wrestlers in program history to win two Hodge Trophies, which is wrestling’s equivalent to the Heisman. Only six men in history— another one being Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, who won three at Iowa State— have won more than one Hodge.

Another one in that group is Iowa legend Spencer Lee. Lee will qualify for Paris in Istanbul Saturday at 57 KG if he wins his semifinal match.

The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 1.

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