Recap by Curt Heinrichs
Winning 6 out of 10 bouts, the Buckeye wrestling team improved to 7-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten with a victory over Northwestern in Cincinnati. The dual was contested at Moeller High School, the alma mater of Wildcat junior Pierce Harger, and the Buckeyes had a large contingent of scarlet-and-gray-clad faithful in attendance, urging them to victory.
Kicking off the dual was a bout between 125 lbers Nick Roberts and Garrison White. Roberts stormed out to a 12-0 lead, but allowed White to score 7 consecutive points in the 2nd and 3rd period before the match concluded with a final score of 13-7 with riding time. The win is Roberts’ 1st Big Ten dual meet victory as a Buckeye and improves his record to 20-7 on the season.
Johnni DiJulius returned to the lineup and allowed an early takedown to Dominick Malone before returning to form. DiJulius eventually earned a 7-3 decision and improved to 17-1 on the season. DiJulius’ record includes a win over the current #1 ranked Joe Colon. The win gave the Buckeyes a 6-0 advantage in the match.
Logan Stieber didn’t give Pat Greco any room to breathe, putting on a near fall clinic. If my information is correct, Stieber earned a tech 16-0 tech fall inside the 1st period. Aside from Stieber’s lone loss this season, all of his matches have ended with him being the victor by bonus points. The 5 point tech fall gave the Buckeyes an 11-0 lead over the Wildcats.
Ian Paddock took on top 5 ranked Jason Tsirtsis at 149 lbs and was unable to upend the freshman, losing by a score of 6-3. The loss put an end to a 3 match winning streak for Paddock, who is now 19-7 on the year.
At 157 lbs, Randy Languis was unable to overcome a pair of Ben Sullivan takedowns and dropped a 6-2 decision. With the loss, Languis falls to 11-11 on the season in one of the tougher weight classes in the Big Ten. The Wildcat victory allowed them to draw within 5 points of the Buckeyes.
Joe Grandominico dropped his 165 lb match to the aforementioned Harger 10-3. Grandominico has taken his lumps of late and will look to turn that around next week, when the Bucks take on Nebraska. Harger’s decision drew the Wildcats within 2 of the Buckeyes.
In one of my matches to watch, Mark Martin wrestled for the full 7 minutes and it paid off in a big way for the Buckeyes. Trailing the #9 ranked Lee Munster by 1 with time running out, Martin earned a late takedown to snatch the victory for the Bucks. The win is Martin’s 2nd of the Big Ten season and improves his record to 19-8 overall heading into a big match with Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh.
As has been his M.O. this season, Kenny Courts lit up the scoreboard early and often against Jacob Berkowitz. Allowing only 4 escapes, Courts was unable to get another turn late in the 3rd period which would have given him a technical fall. At any rate, Courts settled for a major decision by the score of 18-4. Courts improved to 21-3 with the win and goes to 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Courts’ offensive output must have inspired #8 Nick Heflin because Heflin, who is usually known for engaging in low-scoring bouts, tallied 4 takedowns en route to a 13-6 decision over Alex Polizzi. Polizzi was ranked #17 heading into the match, but was stymied by Heflin’s attack and wasn’t able to get anything going. The win for Heflin was his 12th of the season and was his highest scoring match since 2011. With the thick of the Big Ten schedule ahead, Heflin could carve out a niche for himself if he were to maintain this offensive output throughout. Heflin’s win gave the Buckeyes an insurmountable 21-9 lead heading into the heavyweight bout.
Buckeye Nick Tavanello was unable to derail last year’s NCAA runner up Mike McMullan in the evening’s final bout. McMullan has had his season put on hold due to a nagging injury, but paired 2 takedowns with an escape and riding point and earned a 6-2 decision over Tav. The Buckeye heavyweight fell to 1-3 in Big Ten action with the loss.
With his efforts against Munster, Mark Martin earned the Russ Hellickson Wrestler of the Match award.
The final score of the match was 21-12 in favor of the Buckeyes, who have a chance to improve their 2-2 Big Ten mark this Friday when Nebraska travels to St. John Arena. The match will be televised live on Big Ten Network (at long last! Let’s hear it for live college wrestling on TV) for those unable to make their way to the friendly confines to the Ohio State campus.
Thanks as always for reading. Go Bucks.