Recap by Curt Heinrichs
Johnni DiJulius after his 16-0 tech fall win. Photo courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Head Coach Tom Ryan and the wrestling Buckeyes breezed past Frank Romano’s Notre Dame College Falcons on Friday night by the score of 29-11. The Buckeyes won 7 out of 10 matches including 5 wins by bonus points. Sticking close to the script that I’d predicted prior to the season, the Division II Falcons really only challenged the Buckeyes in a few weight classes, including DII National Champ Joey Davis and DII All-American Brandonn Johnson.
Kicking off the dual meet season for the Bucks was newly-minted started Nick Roberts at 125 lbs. Roberts leapt out to a 5-0 lead after the 1st period and didn’t let his foot off of the gas, earning a 10-2 victory over Brian Hauser of NDC. The major decision is Roberts’ 2nd over Hauser in the young season and 6th overall. Roberts moves up to 12-2 on the season.
With a 4-0 team lead, the Buckeyes sent #19 ranked Johnni DiJulius out to face Marty Carlson. The Walsh Jesuit alum wasted no time, jumping out to a 5-0 lead, much like Roberts before him. Unlike Roberts, DiJulius kept his opponent off of the scoreboard for the duration of the match. The Buckeye redshirt sophomore used 3 takedowns and 3 sets of 5-count backpoints to earn his 2nd tech fall of the season. Moving up to 6-1 on the season, JDJ pushed the team score to 9-0 in favor of the Buckeyes.
2 time NCAA Champ Logan Stieber added to his unbeaten streak with a first period fall over a tough Maurice Miller, proving that the football team’s streak isn’t the only winning streak worth noting in Columbus. Stieber scored a pair of takedowns before allowing a takedown to Miller. Stieber reversed Miller and put an end to the match with a fall at 2:10. The match was Logan’s first official match of the 2013-14 campaign and his first since defeating defending champ Kendric Maple at the NWCA All-Star Classic. The pin moved the team score to 15-0 for the Bucks.
Long-time Buckeye Ian Paddock faced a stiff test against the Falcons’ Abel Avila, but held on for a 5-3 victory. Paddock scored the first 5 points of the match, but then surrendered the final 3 points of the match. Paddock has shown some inconsistency this season, but improves to 9-3 on the year. Paddock is a 3 time NCAA qualifier, and has a knack for wrestling his best in big spots, but I’d like to see him win decisively in the early going. The decision victory pushed the Buckeye advantage to 18-0.
In one of the weight classes that may be up in the air, Randy Languis staked his claim to the 157 lb spot with a 2-0 win over Jonatan Rivera. With the only score in the match being a 3rd period escape by Languis, he also tacked on another point at the match’s conclusion with over a minute of net riding time. With 0 points from the neutral position, Languis needs to continue to work for and score takedowns if he’s going to be successful against Big Ten competition. The Buckeyes took a 21-0 lead with the decision victory.
Columbus native Joe Grandominico further extended the Buckeye lead to 25-0 with a major decision win over Anthony Burge. Grandominico had a pair of takedowns and a pair of 2 point near falls to go along with a penalty point and a point due to stalling. A late reversal was all that Burge was able to muster in the match. Grandominico is another Buckeye fighting for a starting spot, and earned the Russ Hellickson Most Outstanding Wrestler of the match.
Mark Martin ran into a buzzsaw in defending DII NCAA champion Joey Davis at 174 lbs. With the score knotted at 2 apiece after 2 periods, Davis tallied 3 takedowns and an escape to widen the gap to 10-4 at the end of the 3rd period. Davis remains perfect in his collegiate career after going 30-0 a season ago. Martin was an NCAA qualifier last season and a decision loss to Davis is no reason to hang one’s head. The win gave NDC 3 points and moved the score to 25-3 in favor of the Buckeyes.
“Score early and often” appeared to be #9 ranked Kenny Courts’ game plan when he took out Charles Mason. Courts scored lots of points last year at 174 lbs and doesn’t appear to be struggling to light up the scoreboard at 184 lbs this season. With 3 takedowns and two 5 count nearfalls, Courts only allowed a single escape to earn the 14-1 major decision. The major decision was Kenny’s 6th bonus point victory of the season (including falls and tech falls as well as major decisions) and pushes his record to 9-1 on the young campaign. For thoses keeping score at home, the major decision gave the Buckeyes a 29-3 edge.
With the dual meet easily in hand, the Buckeyes opted to give #6 Nick Heflin a rest and trotted out junior Ray Gordon to face a tough Brandonn Johnson. Heflin earned a slim 5-4 victory over Johnson earlier in the year, which didn’t bode well for Gordon. Johnson scored seemingly at will, yielding only a 1st period escape to Gordon en route to an 18-1 tech fall. While I understand the match was locked up for the Buckeyes, I'd like to see Heflin get some experience at his new weight class against what has proven to be a tough opponent. I fear that Heflin's habit of defensive wrestling may continue at 197, and I'd love to see him working on leg attacks in the early going before he runs into guys like Scott Schiller and Morgan McIntosh in Big Ten action.
A pair of outstanding Ohioans locked horns in the final match of the evening when Buckeye Nick Tavanello (Wadsworth) squared off against Orlando Scales (Elder) of Notre Dame. After a scoreless 1st period (something that isn’t exactly a rarity among heavyweights), the 2nd period saw a total of 5 points scored, giving Scales the 3-2 edge. A Tavanello escape in the 3rd sent the bout into sudden victory overtime. Scales was able to tally a takedown, putting a cap on the match and the dual meet. With the 2 late victories, NDC made the score look respectable, but the Buckeyes were in control throughout. The match concluded with a final score of 29-11, giving the Buckeyes their first win of the season.
The Buckeyes next take the mat when they head to Tobacco Road to take on Duke before tilts with Davidson and George Mason at the Davidson Duals next weekend.
I’ve previously previewed the Duke match, which can be found here, and will take a look at Davidson and George Mason’s team in the near future.
For more coverage of the Buckeye wrestling team, I’d advise following @wrestlingbucks on Twitter. For my stream-of-conscious thoughts on Buckeye athletics, the Browns, heavy metal, and my frustrations with Cleveland traffic, give me a follow @CurtHeinrichs.
Thanks for the read and be sure to check back to Eleven Warriors in the near future for my interview with NCAA champ Logan Stieber.