THE TEAM: Ohio State Wrestling Team
THE DAY: Feb. 3, 2012
THE PRICE: It appeared free for students and cheap for everyone else
THE PLACE: Historic St. John’s Arena
THE OPPONENT: Michigan
THE RESULTS: Ohio State 24 – Michigan 13
First, I will warn you I grew up in a football-wrestling family. All my cousins at one point in time played both football and then wrestled in the winter. I’ve been going to meets since I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I have been to multiple high school state championship meets (that are 3 days long where the first two rounds have 10 and 9 mats respectively). My dad coaches it, and I was a mat stat and film girl in high school. I still go to the high school championship. In short, I know the wonderfully underrated sport of wrestling quite well. I’ve watched at least half of our team win state championships before coming to OSU. So, before we go any further, I am going to introduce you to some terms that I will be using quite a bit for those of you unfamiliar with the sport.
Weight Classes: The maximum weight a person can weigh to wrestle in that category. There are 10 in college wrestling: 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, 184, 197, and Heavy Weight (between 198-285 lbs).
Neutral: both wrestlers are standing up
Tying Up: when the wrestlers tangle their arms together, trying to push at each other
Shot: when one of the wrestlers makes a move, usually grabbing one or both legs of the opposing man
Take Down: when the wrestler who is usually on top has control of the other wrestler’s hip/body (worth 2 points)
Escape: when the wrestler on the bottom ‘escapes,’ causing the two to be at a neutral position (worth 1 point)
Reversal: when the control is switched between the two wrestlers (2 points to wrestler taking control)
Back points: when the wrestler on top causes his opponent’s back to be 45 degrees or closer to the mat (if held for 3 seconds, it’s worth 2 points; if held for 5+ seconds, it’s worth 3 points)
Fall/Pin: when the wrestler in control forces both shoulder blades to touch the mat (automatic win, time recorded)
Ride Time: The amount of time a wrestler has control of his opponent, or is on top. If the measured time exceeds one minute, the wrestler receives a point at the end of the match
Choice: Who controls what position they want to be on, top or bottom
How Over Time Works: If the score is tied after 3 regulation periods of 3 minutes each, there is one minute of sudden death/automatic win. It is started from a neutral position, and the first person to score a point (or get a take down) wins. If the score is still tied, then there are two 30 second periods. A coin is flipped, and the winner get’s their choice for the first period. For the second period, they switch, and, whoever scores the most points, wins. However, if, after both periods the score is still tied, the whole process is repeated once more. In the case that after 6 periods of over time (two of which are automatic win, four of which are 30 second switch offs) the score is still tied, the winner is decided by ride time.
So, without further ado…
I went to this as a band event for a friend and was not disappointed. After playing a few cursory tunes, we began our two hour show of what the #6 Buckeyes could do to the #12 Wolverines (sounds familiar?).
It started off with Ohio native, the 16th ranked 125 pounder in the nation, Johnni Dijulius . He came to Ohio State after winning 3 Ohio State Championships (which is another post for another day if you guys want it). It started off with two quick take downs by Johnni, quickly racking up 4 points to take a nice, early lead. However, he never could actually convert on them, and thus the first period ended. In the second period, he started on the bottom, preferring to get an escape point to bolster his score. However, shortly there after, he was taken down by his opponent, Grant Pizzo. With the score 5-2, and five seconds away from tied or worse, Dijulius made an escape with 10 seconds left in the second period. With OSU starting on the top for the third period, Michigan escaped, bringing the score to 6-3. The next few minutes were spend with Dijulius dangerously tying up before being taken down again to tie the score at 6-5. Dijulius struggled on the bottom, denying the Michigan grappler the points he sought. However, with 36 seconds left in regulation, Johnni pulled a reversal. With the score 8-5, he rode out the rest of the match, and added another point from his 1:43 ride time to round out the score to 9-5. With this win, the Buckeyes took the lead, 3-0, against Michigan to open the night.
For the good guys at 133, #3 Logan Stieber stepped onto the mat to face #16 Zac Stevens (for the record, I don’t like that Zac either). Within seconds, Logan took Zac down to the mat, before letting him escape, score standing at 2-1. Within 30 seconds, the elder Stieber had another take down, but he wasn’t as careful that time. Instead, Zac pulled a reversal, riding Logan on top, and bringing the score to 4-3. Quickly realizing his mistake, Logan escaped. The rest of the first period was spent tying up, as Zac tried not to be taken down once again. However, he ended up making a big mistake. When given the choice, Zac decided to take the bottom and maybe improve his score. Logan had other things in mind. With 46 seconds left in the second period (and M*ch!g@n still sucks!), he stuck Zac. With a loud cheer across the arena, the Buckeyes moved to 9-0 on the day.
Jarrod Boone at 141 had to face #1 Kellen Russell. Sadly, Jarrod was out of his league. Kellen played with Jarrod from the opening whistle, easily taking him down within the first minute. However, to Jarrod’s credit, he never gave up or gave in. He kept the match at 2-0 for the rest of the first period, not allowing Kellen to gain any back points from him. Jarrod started the second period on the bottom and eventually worked his way out. This only led to his inevitable take down once again. Another gimme escape signaled to all wrestling fans one thing: Russell was simply playing with the mouse, hording points like a dragon guards its treasures. The third period saw more of the same. Kellen started on the bottom, quickly earning his escape point. Simply toying with Boone caused him to stall a second time, giving Russell yet another point. Within a second, Jarrod laid on the mat, the result of another Russell take down. The match ended a miserable 2-11, giving Michigan 4 points as a team (score 9-4 for those keeping track).
The mat then saw another marquee match between 149 pounders #14 Cam Tessari of Ohio State and Michigan’s #7 Eric Grajales. Despite the high rankings of both wrestlers, Grajales won quite clearly. Appearing evenly matched that the beginning, the difference between the two, unfortunately, was that Grajales was much more aggressive. He got the only take down in the first period with little more than a minute left. The second period started in a different kind of stalemate. Tessari started on top, and, for half of the period, worked Grajales into the mat, trying to turn him and get back points. Alas, that wasn’t to be. Instead, Grajales escaped, and they resumed their tying up from earlier. The third period did not end well for Ohio State’s Tessari. He never escaped from the bottom, and nearly gave into Grajales, barely making it out. However, the match ended 0-7 in Michigan’s favor. The team score tallied to 9-7.
Taking the mat next at 157 were #20 Josh Demas from the Scarlet and Gray corner and Brandon Zeerip from that other one. They were evenly matched throughout the whole the first period, both wrestlers tried to take the other down. At one point, Zeerip caught and held one of Demas’ legs in the air, trying to grab it back, and suck him into a take down. However, Demas was having none of that. He hopped around on one foot to and fro. Zeerip then tried to flip him over onto the mat, only to have Demas some how flip, land on his foot, free his other leg, thus restoring the fully neutral position, body crouched, arms in front of him. The crowd applauded for just this stunt alone. The second period saw Demas on top, but he could not score any back points. Instead, Zeerip escaped from him, gaining his only point. The rest of the period consisted of long tie ups between the two, neither fully taking control. Thus, the third period began with Demas on bottom. It took little over a minute, but he escaped, scoring his point. Neither wrestler could take the other down. Regulation ended with the score being 1-1. A small break and a tune was played before the sudden victory/death minute long period began. Both wrestlers came out more aggressive than ever, trying with everything they had. The crowd roared to life when Demas took Zeerip down to the mat for his 3-1 win, bringing the team totals to 12-7.
The next match between Jedi Derek Garcia and Sith Lord #14 Dan Yates started after an intermission of shots (which is not usual at most duel meets). At the beginning, Garcia used the force (Coach Fickell, being the honorary assistant coach of the night, probably tried to teach him a thing or two) to his advantage, taking Yates down. Even when Yates escaped, they were mostly even. In fact, this good luck streak went into the second period where, after escaping from the bottom, Garcia took him down again. Granted, it didn’t last long. Yates, once again, escaped from Garcia, but this time, he took advantage of the shift of power to the dark side. The third period started with Garcia on the bottom, sucking some wind. He eventually escaped only to be hounded on by Yates. Relentlessly, score 5-3 in favor of the Jedi, Yates kept on getting good shots, most of which resulted in stalemates. However, with 4 seconds left in regulation, he got the take down, tying the score and bringing the match into overtime. Sadly, Garcia went down quickly, forking over another Ohio State loss. The team tally was 12-10.
The best match of the night, in my opinion, belonged to the 174 pound gladiators. Suiting up in the scarlet and gray was #7 Nick Heflan who faced the maize and blue’s #8 Justin Zeerip. Oh, how the titans clashed. The first period, nothing of statistical importance happened, however, that is quite the beguiling story. Both Heflan (new hero) and Zeerip were at each other the whole time. The were throwing shots at each other, single legs, double legs, flipping, twisting, trying to get that covenanted first blood in take downs. To start the new period, Heflan took the down, hoping to pull off a reversal for some points. However, those plans were foiled as the elite wrestlers squared off once more. Their metaphorical blades clashed against one another, trying to find a weakness in their opponent. However, the buzzer blared before a chip in the armor could be found; so started the third period. Heflan contained and rode Zeerip longer than he was rode earlier, but the slippery wolverine escaped and brought the total score to 1-1. As the clock wound down to 0 in regulation, both tried their best to some how pull off that take down, but neither succeeded. The first minute-long sudden-victory-death period came and gone without a single point. There were many attempts, but each parried and blocked the other’s advances. For the first time that night we entered into the two thirty-second-long periods. The coin flipped, and Heflan chose the bottom. When he escaped from Zeerip, OSU fans cheered, only to remember, there was at least one more period left. Unfortunately for the Scarlet and Gray clad, Zeerip escaped Heflan’s grasp. The first overtime came to a close. The second one only began. That second minute-long sudden-victory-death round found both wrestlers tired, but intense. Both swiped at each other, hoping to catch the other off guard or too tired to do much else. This proved fruitless as the second round of thirty-second periods started. Zeerip chose to go down. However, when he escaped, Zeerip took Heflan, taking him down out of bounds. Michigan fans were a tad upset about that call, but it was right. Zeerip, for all he did, pulled a reversal or take down on Heflan, however they were out of bounds, and thus those points did not count (to say that Michigan fans were not happy about that call is a bit of an understatement). Dutifully, Heflan sat at the bottom for the last time that night while Zeerip, after a lengthy referee review, stood around talking to his coaches. Once the wrestling commenced, Heflan escaped and survived the rest of the period. The score ended 3-3, but, since Heflan had more riding time, both he and The Ohio State University won, extending the lead to 15-10. Did I mention Heflan is my new hero?
Moving on to the 184 weight class, Ohio State’s very own #10 C.J. Magrum faced off against Hunter Collins. Much like the 141 class earlier, Collins became the plaything of Magrum as he practiced take down after take down, with some escapes peppered in. The first period was testament to what Magrum could do. Two take downs, and their escapes, were quickly tallied. However, Collins did not go down without a fight. In the second period, when he selected to go down, he went down. He did not allow himself to get stuck, but eventually escaped. Of course that meant that the third period started with Magrum acquiring more points from an escape, quickly followed by a take down. Collins managed to escape that trap one last time, but could not beat Magrum. The match ended 8-3, and the team scores were 18-10.
When 197 pounder, #20, Andrew Campolattano took the mat to wrestle with Chris Herald, no one knew what was going to happen next. Maybe Andrew himself, but that would be the extent. What followed was not a long, drawn out clash like the Heflan-Zeerip bout earlier. No, what happened was that Andrew of the scarlet and gray ended up pinning Chris in 18 seconds flat. It’s hard enough to pin someone in high school. Harder the further in the tournaments you get. Going to college is a whole new level, and it takes even more to be able to compete let alone pin. Andrew, though, made it look easy, as if he were trying to win a bet with some friends, seeing how fast he can pin a dude. Well, they know now. 18 seconds. That’s it.
With the victory already assured (team scores were 24-10), our heavy weight brawlers came on the scene. #18 Peter Capone (our guy) went against #10 Ben Apland. While this was not as flash or as juicy as past matches, it was a fitting end for the night, almost. Capone started strong, taking down Apland. Yet, with thirteen seconds left, he broke free. In the second period, Apland chose down, and was man handled. Capone illegally held or clasped his hand, which gave Michigan a point. Later, a reversal sealed his fate, and, well, it was history. He lost the match 2-4, but that didn’t matter.
Why? Because we beat Michigan, 24-13. Also, we don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan ‘cause we’re from O-HI-O!
THE RANDOM THOUGHTS
There were some kids sitting around me towards the back. They knew what they were talking about. It was both impressive and cute.
Luke Fickell looks like a good father. He was both amusing/playing with his kids the whole match. Just the random things I see.
Why does the band get no love? We don’t get balls from the ball blaster or T-Shirts from anyone. Why?
If there are mistakes about the matches or the people, names, etc., please excuse me. I’ve been up for over 24 hours at this point in time, and cannot think quite straight.
Remember to read the official release!