Recap by Curt Heinrichs
Heading into Friday’s match against #11 Michigan, the keys to the match as mentioned by Wolverine coach Joe McFarland were bonus points as well as upsets. While the bonus points went in favor of the Buckeyes, the Wolverines had the edge in upsets, scoring 3 upsets against higher ranked Buckeyes. These 3 upsets ultimately swung the match in favor of the Wolverines by a score of 21-12.
Leading off the action were the 157 lbers, with #14 Brian Murphy knocking off Buckeye Randy Languis. Languis was able to keep the match knotted until the 3rd period, where he gave up a pair of nearfall points and an additional point for riding time at the match’s conclusion to lose 5-2.
#7 ranked Dan Yates of Michigan came storming out of the gates against Buckeye Joe Grandominico. Grandominico was unable to recover after giving up 3 takedowns in the opening period. Yates took the decision 8-4 and gave the Wolverines a 6-0 lead.
#14 Mark Martin was able to get the Buckeyes on the board with a 4-3 win over Collin Zeerip. The win brings Martin’s record to 20-9 overall and 3-3 against Big Ten foes. With the decision, the Buckeyes pulled within 3 points of the Wolverines with a 6-3 team score.
In the 1st of the aforementioned upsets, #20 ranked Domenic Abounader of the Wolverines knocked off #10 Kenny Courts. Courts was unable to overcome a 6-3 deficit after the 1st period. Abounader moves to 4-1 in Big Ten duals, while Kenny’s streak of Big Ten losses continues with 2 straight.
Senior Buckeye Nick Heflin was firing on all cylinders, accounting for the first of the Buckeyes’ wins by bonus points. Heflin was able to score 4 takedowns against unranked Chris Heald and earn a 16-3 major decision. At the midway point in the dual, the Wolverines held a slim 9-7 lead.
Following the break, unranked heavyweight Nick Tavanello took on super freshman Adam Coon of the Wolverines. Coon was ranked #2 in the latest Intermat rankings after losing his 1st match as a collegiate wrestler. Coon was previously ranked #1, having won 23 straight and knocking off the 2x defending NCAA champion. After trading escapes in regulation, Coon and Tav went to the tie breaker period, where Coon scored a 2 point reversal. A subsequent escape by Tavanello wasn’t enough and Coon escaped the match with a 3-2 win. While no loss is ever fun, Tavanello can take consolation in the fact that he took the #2 ranked wrestler to the wire and shut down his high-powered offense. Coon’s victory gave the Wolverines a 12-7 lead.
The top of the lineup was where the Buckeyes should have held a marked advantage, but the Wolverines must not have looked at the rankings prior to the match. Nick Roberts dropped a 2-1 decision to Connor Youtsey in the tie breaker period. Heading into the match, Roberts was ranked #15, while Youtsey was not ranked.
At 133 lbs, #5 ranked Johnni DiJulius suffered just his 2nd loss of the campaign, dropping a 2-1 decision to Rossi Bruno after a marathon match. In the 2nd tie breaker period (after 10 minutes of wrestling), Bruno was able to escape and hold JDJ down in his 30 second period to earn the 2-1 victory. The win gave the Wolverines an 18-7 edge in the match.
With just the 2nd match featuring bonus points, Logan Stieber scored 10 unanswered points in the 1st 3 minutes against #13 Steve Dutton of Michigan. Ultimately, Stieber won by his 5th technical fall of the season by a score of 16-1, allowing just 1 escape to his Wolverine opponent. The 5 point tech fall pulled the Buckeyes within 6 points with just 1 match remaining.
A comeback was not in the cards as Ian Paddock hoped for a 3rd career victory over Eric Grajales. In order for the Buckeyes to win the match, Paddock would need to pin Grajales, but Grajales turned in a 6 point effort in the 3rd period and won by decision. The win gave Michigan a 21-12 final score, helping them to improve to 5-0 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes dropped to just 2-4 in the Big Ten, but they won’t have to wait long for a chance to improve as they travel to Purdue on Monday. The match will air live on BTN (I checked this time! It’s actually going to be on TV) at 7 PM.
Thanks for reading and Go Bucks!