Recap by Curt Heinrichs
In their trip to Happy Valley, the Ohio State wrestling team took on the toughest team in the nation, let alone the Big Ten, and came up short in an upset bid. When I say they came up short, I mean way short. While the Buckeyes faced a daunting task in wrestling the #2 team (at the time) on the road, they were unable to build any momentum at all and lost by a score of 31-6. While the team deficit was surprising, a fact that was downright eye-opening to me was that 2 time defending NCAA champ Logan Stieber was not one of the two Buckeyes earning victories on the day. With a lackluster outing, the Buckeyes were only able to muster a pair of wins from Johnni DiJulius and Nick Heflin. While the Buckeyes wrestled hard on the feet, the Nittany Lions were able to dominate the mat wrestling, amassing huge chunks of riding time throughout the day.
Kicking off the day at 125 lbs, Nick Roberts looked to knock off NCAA finalist Nico Megaludis of the Nittany Lions, but was unable to put any offense together against the junior. Megaludis started slowly and really started to rack up the points starting in the 2nd period with backpoints and managed to earn 5 team points for Penn State with a 21-4 tech fall.
At 133 lbs, DiJulius picked up where he left off last week when he was the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week by earning a 3-2 decision over a game Jimmy Gulibon. The match was tied at the end of regulation, but DiJulius earned a point with a net riding time of over 1 minute.
Stieber dropped a sudden victory decision to true freshman Zain Retherford. Unable to get out from the bottom, Stieber conceded a riding point to Retherford to send the match into sudden victory, where Retherford was able to score a late takedown and steal the victory.
Ian Paddock took the mat for the Buckeyes at 149 lbs, but dropped a 5-3 decision against unranked Zack Beitz, who will likely be relegated to the bench when Andrew Alton returns from a shoulder injury.
Randy Languis was unable to prevent the takedown against unranked James Vollrath and dropped an 11-5 decision. Heading into the midway point of the match, the Buckeyes trailed 14-3 with the star-studded Nittany Lions yet to wrestle.
Everyone’s All-American David Taylor scored early and often against Joe Grandominico and earned his 3rd tech fall of the season to stay undefeated.
An NCAA runner-up a year ago, Penn State’s Matt Brown muscled his way to a major decision over Mark Martin of the Buckeyes.
Ed Ruth showed no signs of rust in his first match back from suspension as he took out Kenny Courts by the score of 14-3.
Two-time All American Nick Heflin was able to earn the 2nd victory for the Scarlet and Gray with a 3-1 victory over Wesley Phipps, who was filling in for a banged-up Morgan McIntosh. Phipps is a quality wrestler who would start for many teams across the country. Heflin, as is his custom, kept the score close and found a way to edge his opponent.
Heavyweight Jimmy Lawson kept the scoreboard operator alert with a 15-4 victory over Buckeye Nick Tavanello. In a weight class that typically doesn’t see a great deal of scoring, the athletic Lawson appears to have found his groove and could be a force in the Big Ten this season.
While the Buckeyes did not have great results by any stretch of the imagination, they’ll have a shot at redemption when they take on Kent State on the road this Thursday. I’ll have a preview of the bout in the coming days.
Thanks as always for reading.