Last night, the Buckeyes had what might be the most competitive wrestle-offs in the country. Coach Tom Ryan has created incredible depth in Columubus, and it was on display yesterday in French Field House. The big news is that 141 pound sophomore and returning All American Hunter Stieber will not be in the starting lineup when the Buckeyes travel to Buffalo on November 3rd. Instead, junior Ian Paddock, an two-time NCAA qualifier at 133 pounds before taking a redshirt year last winter, will man the spot as he defeated Hunter 7-2. This has been a major talking point on the national wrestlin circuit, as Hunter Stieber All Americaned as a true freshman last year and is getting some early buzz as a national title contender this year. The other big development is that Nikko Triggas is returning at 125 after a two year hiatus. Triggas was an All American in 2010. He erased a 3-1 deficit to returning NCAA qualifier Johnni DiJulius by turning him for three points with his patended arm bar in the 3rd period and gaining a riding time point for the win. DiJulius and Stieber are both true sophomores, and have red-shirt years avaialbe should the staff go with Triggas and Paddock at 125 and 141. Other thoughts are as follows.
133: Returning NCAA champ Logan Stieber rolled. He's a heavy favorite to repeat with finals victim Jordan Oliver moving up to 141 pounds.
149: Returning All American Cam Tessari won a tight match, but should be entrenched as a starter and very well might improve on his 5th place finish as a true freshman.
157: This wrestle off is not over. Returning starter Josh Demas won last night, but he will take on Derek Garcia, the starter at 165 is moving down and they will wrestle off next week. Both Demas and Garcia are returning starters in their sophomore years of eligibility, though Garcia has a redshirt to work with. Both are projecting top 20 wrestlers.
165: The pleasant surprise of the preseason has been true freshman Mark Martin of St. Ed's establishing himself as a starter. Martin was a 2x state champion in Ohio and a top 3 wrestler nationally at his weight last year and a top 25 recruit in the class. He rolled in his wrestle off last night, and presumably beats Garcia which is prompting the move down to 157. I've been high on Martin since his sophomore year of high school, and I really think he's going to explode at the college level.
174: Returning All American Nick Heflin cruised.
184: This was the big coming out party for redshirt freshman Kenny Courts, who won decisively in his wrestle off. Courts was a top 10 recruit (and ranked 2nd in his weight class behind now teammate Andrew Campolattano) out of national power Central Dauphin in Pennsylvania, but redshirted last year after back surgery. Courts is a 2x Pennsylvania State Champion and a guy who could be one of the elite first year starters in the country. Three year starter Cody Magrum is moving up to 197 rather than wrestle off Courts, which could be him growing out of the weight, but also speaks volumes about the staff's confidence in Courts. If he can stay healthy, he could be a monster.
197: Magrum will wrestle off with sophomore Andrew Campolattano, who was a round away from being an All American as a true freshman at this weight last year. Campolattano was also a member of the Junior World freestyle team this summer. Camp was a 3 star recruit as a linebacker who originally committed to Rutgers before rethinking his decision and deciding to wrestle in college, where he was a top 3 recruit nationally. Magrum is a captain and 2x NCAA Qualifier. Camp has a redshirt year to use, and this is another weight, like 125, 141, and 157, where the Buckeyes have two guys capable of scoring points at the NCAA tournament.
285: Returning starter Pete Capone beat Orry Elor 3-1 and should hold down the spot again for the Buckeyes this year.