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.