Wrestling: Buckeyes Cruise to 39-6 Win Over Sparty

Curt Heinrichs's picture
February 9, 2014 at 9:34p

It was a good weekend for wrestling in Massillon, with the Perry Panthers winning the Division I State Dual Tournament over the weekend. Prior to the Panthers victory, however, the Buckeyes took on Michigan State at Perry High School. In a fairly new tradition, the Buckeyes have hosted a home dual match at the alma mater of an upperclassman, this time honoring senior Nick Heflin, who was a state champion for Perry. The Buckeye senior made the most of the opportunity to wrestle in his old stomping grounds, posting a major decision as the Buckeyes won in a romp over the Spartans.

Leading off the action were the 125 lbers as redshirt freshman Nick Roberts faced experienced senior Brenan Lyon. Roberts wasted little time in putting his team out to a lead, sticking Lyon in the 1st period. The pin was only Roberts’ 2nd of the season and it put the Buckeyes out to a 6-0 lead in the match. The win put a halt to Nick’s personal 3 match drought and improved him to 21-10 on the campaign.

#9 ranked Johnni DiJulius was in search of putting an end to a losing streak of his own, having lost 2 straight to Big Ten foes. Not to be outdone by Roberts, DiJulius managed to score a takedown and earned a fall over Garth Yenter before the end of the 1st period. The pin was JDJ’s first pin since the finals of the Las Vegas Open and it put the Buckeyes ahead 12-0.

#3 Logan Stieber continued a short streak of his own, giving up a takedown early to Brian Gibbs after giving up a late takedown against Purdue. Having succumbed to 2 consecutive takedowns, Stieber started the scoring off with a reversal and a trio of 3 point nearfalls in the 1st period. After the rough start, Stieber kept the heat on an earned a tech fall by the score of 20-3, only yielding an escape after the early takedown. Stieber improves to 17-1 with his 6th tech fall of the season.

Leading 17-0 heading into the 149 lb match, the Buckeyes sent #20 Ian Paddock out to take on a tough Nick Trimble. Paddock pushed the pace and was able to score 2 takedowns and earned an 8-4 decision to push the Buckeye lead to 20-0 over the Spartans.

I’m not sure if Randy Languis, Joe Grandominico, and Mark Martin planned out their matches prior to taking the mat, but all 3 ended with identical outcomes. The Buckeye wrestlers at 157, 165, and 174 lbs all defeated their Spartan counterparts by a score of 5-2, and when read in succession, their scores sound like the outcome of a tennis match (if only the Buckeyes had each earned another point). The additional 9 team points gave the Bucks an insurmountable 29-0 edge over the visiting Spartans.

184 lber Kenny Courts widened the Buckeyes’ margin by 6 more points with his 3rd fall of the season, this time over MSU’s John Rizqallah. Courts has become known as a wrestler who can rack up points in a hurry and his unorthodox pin of Rizqallah from the down position proves that Courts is dangerous from anywhere. After the 6 point fall, the Buckeyes moved up to a 35-0 lead.

Not wanting to disappoint his hometown crowd, #8 ranked Nick Heflin took on a dangerous Nick McDiarmid. After a scoreless 1st period, Heflin notched a reversal and nearfall to give him a 5-0 lead. After recently showing that he has some serious takedowns in his arsenal, Heflin scored a pair of takedowns in the last 90 seconds to earn a 10-2 major decision over McDiarmid. Heflin’s major decision improved his record to an impressive 16-1 on the season. With recent flashes of a potent offense, Heflin has got to feel good about his chances of making a return trip to the podium at the NCAA tournament next month.

In the only match where the Spartan was favored over the Buckeye, #7 Mike McClure picked up the lone MSU win of the evening over Buckeye heavyweight Nick Tavanello. McClure earned the pin with seconds to go in the 1st period to put his team on the board and put an end to the scoring. After the lone loss, the Buckeyes won the match by the final score of 39-6.

The Buckeyes will next take the mat when they host the NWCA National Duals at St. John Arena on Sunday and Monday. At post time, the preliminary round pairings were not available. I’ll have a Know Your Enemy segment and possibly a Buckeyes in the Crosshairs piece (assuming that I can make contact with the coach  as soon as the pairings are made public).

Thanks as always for reading. Go Bucks. 

Comments Show All Comments

t-dub's picture

Thanks Curt, seeing the write ups follow to the new digs is a major relief for me.  I always like to see the posts.  The team hit a bit of a rough patch; do you think they are getting stronger and do you think they will be in shape to make a push in the NCAA?

"What is our aim, I can tell you in one word. Victory" Winston Churchill

Curt Heinrichs's picture

T-Dub, I live in Cleveland. The motto here is "waiting for next year." The Buckeyes may have a few on the AA podium in March (Stieber, Heflin, JDJ if he wrestles hard, possibly Courts), but next year they could challenge Iowa, Penn State, and maybe Cornell for the top spot. Stieber Squared, Tomasello, Bo Jordan (Bo, Tomasello, and Hunter all won yet another Open tournament this weekend), Courts, Demas, and possibly Kyle Snyder and Thomas Haines competing for the medal round next year. Guys like Tavanello and Mark Martin will have another year under their belts and could make waves in the Big Ten. 

To answer your question the best that I can, I think that the Buckeyes have benefited from some nice scheduling early in the season and they were able to get some solid rankings early on. The Big Ten is an absolute meat grinder and there is no shame at all in having a less-than-perfect dual meet record. That kind of tough scheduling during the season will only make the team perform well in the post-season. Teams at nationals will not have the kind of big match experience that Big Ten teams have, which benefits the Buckeyes greatly. While they did hit a rough patch, I think it was to be expected and guys like DiJulius and Courts won't be expected to lose several matches in a row from here on out. 


+1 HS
bukyze's picture

In a fairly new tradition, the Buckeyes have hosted a home dual match at the alma mater of an upperclassman

Did not know that.  Very cool.

Curt Heinrichs's picture

The Buckeyes beat Illinois last season at Cody Magrum's alma mater of Oak Harbor High School (which was also my 1st match covering the Buckeyes). If I had to bet, I'd guess that they'll find a gym in Huron/Erie county to host a match for Logan Stieber.

This kind of travelling only helps to build up a reputation with local fan bases and can help keep some of the top Ohio wrestlers in Ohio for college.   

+1 HS
JeffCoBuck's picture

Exactly.  When we were at the match at Perry, I noticed the school had a great big wall-mounted tribute to Steve Luke, complete in a M*ch*g*n singlet with the block "M" at the top.  I certainly can't fault the school for recognizing one of its own as an NCAA champ, but I would have much rather seen him immortalized in the Scarlet and Gray.  Doing things like this and branching out really gains positive exposure for OSU's program and hopefully goes a long way toward achieving the very thing you mentioned, keeping Ohio's top wrestlers in Ohio.

JeffCoBuck's picture

I learned back in November that they would be at Perry High.  My dad is a Perry alumnus, so it was doubly cool for me, getting to watch the Buckeyes and be in my dad's old stomping grounds.  The Buckeyes looked great, needless to say.  Nick Heflin getting a standing O after his match was pretty sweet.  It was a good night.

Curt Heinrichs's picture

Nick has been one of the most dependable wrestlers for the Buckeyes and he'll leave big shoes next year. He's turning on the offense at the right time and should make a splash at the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. 

+1 HS