"I was just thinking, this is my second-to-last full-style match I'll ever get to wrestle in a Penn State singlet". Mark Hall took second at 174.
Denver will be a slightly different looking team this time around, star defensman Will Butcher is now with the New Jersey Devils but the Pioneers still boast a deadly combo of US Olympian forward Troy Terry, goaltender Tanner Jaillet and forward Henrik Borgström who is fifth in the nation in scoring with 50 points.
Ohio State's Kyle Snyder (right) wrestles Michigan's Adam Coon in the 285-pound NCAA national championship match Saturday night in front of a record-crowd of 19,776 at Quicken Loans Arena.
When Martin beat Nickal two years ago, he had lost the first three meetings between the pair.
His opponent, Ronnie Perry, hailed from just down the road at Lock Haven and held his own against the Lions' top dog, holding Retherford to a 6-2 decision.
Jason Nolf of Penn State raises his arms after beating Hayden Hidlay of North Carolina State in their 157-pound match.
Wearing a chunky brace on his right knee because of an injury sustained on January 28 that ended his regular season, Nolf dominated Jordan from the opening whistle.
"Sounds great, right?" Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. The Nittany Lions faced Denver in the second round of last year's tournament falling 6-3 in a game that was a bit closer than the final score.
If Retherford wins his third title, it'll come at the expense of a friend. Although Hall mustered an acrobatic scramble to avoid an early takedown, Valencia eventually landed three to pull away from the Nittany Lions' defending champion. Coon got an escape point inside the final 10 seconds.
"Oh, yeah, we're going to use the crowd", said Kyle Snyder, a two-time heavyweight and 2016 Olympic freestyle champion. The Falcons (22-14-5), winners of the Atlantic Hockey playoff tournament, are the West Regional's No. 4 seed and play No. 1 St. Cloud State (25-8-6) on Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D. The other teams in that regional are No. 2 Minnesota State (29-9-1) and No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth (21-16-3). The Falcons defeated Robert Morris 5-1 for the AH title Saturday in Rochester, N.Y. But Diakomihalis locked up a cradle in a late scramble, put Meredith to his back for four points and won 7-4.
Nickal pinned Martin with 31 seconds remaining in the first period of the 184-pound final.
Penn State's wrestling program wasn't moribund prior to Sanderson's arrival in April 2009, but the Nittany Lions had just one team national title (1953) to their name before he was hired.
Shortly before his 92nd straight win propelled him into the finals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships - where he'll try for his third title when the tournament concludes on Saturday - Retherford looked around a packed Quicken Loans Arena.