Ohio State Wrestling Preview 2013-14
Not sure how many wrestling fans are on the site, but I am very excited for the Buckeyes upcoming season. Here are my thoughts on how they will perform this year:
125 – Redshirt freshman Nick Roberts will be the starter even though he lost the wrestle-off to true frosh Nathan Thomasello. Thomasello will redshirt this year to add some size/strength. Roberts was a 3x PA state champ, and is very skilled, but will probably be a fringe NQ. I would project he will win around 20 matches, finish 5-7 in the Big Ten and maybe win 1 match at Nationals.
133 – Johnni DiJulius is back after taking a redshirt last year. DiJulius was a 3x Ohio State champ and started as a true frosh at 125 then bulked up last year to fill in at this weight. Not an explosive wrestler, he might struggle a little on his feet, but he does have excellent defense. I see him being a top 12-15 wrestler at this weight, top 5 in the Big Ten and a long shot at AA status.
141 – Logan Stieber is looking for his third straight national title. Stieber started his collegiate career at 125, then was injured and took a medical redshirt. He came back at 133 as a RS freshman and beat the defending national champ in the finals. He was undefeated last year at 133 as well. He makes another weight jump this year to 141 where I think he will be more comfortable. I see Stieber going undefeated again this year, and, possibly, not having a match decided by less than 8 points.
149 – Ian Paddock is back for his third year as a starter. Paddock was a 3x NY state champ who started as a freshman and sophomore for the Buckeyes. He was a NQ both years. He then redshirted as his brother was severely injured and he went home to help out. He came back last year and saw some time at both 141 and 149, qualifying for nationals as an undersized 149. He has put on the size and strength needed to compete at 149 this year, and I think he will be a surprise to many national observers. I see Paddock being a Top 10 wrestler, top 4 in the Big Ten and a serious AA candidate.
157 – The Buckeyes will start Randy Languis here as Josh Demas takes a medical redshirt. Languis started three years ago at 141 and has been a solid backup since. I worry that he will be undersized for the weight and I see a struggle to finish .500. I am not projecting Languis to be a national qualifier and I hope that I am wrong.
165 – Another weight where the Buckeyes will be redshirting a true frosh who is the best wrestler at the weight, in this case Bo Jordan. Jordan was a 4x state champ and ranked as the #1 senior in the nation last year. I’m not 100% sure who the starter will be at this weight. It could be Craig Thomas, who lost the public wrestle-off to Jordan, or it could be Justin Kresevic, who lost the wrestle-off at 157. Either way, this will be a weak spot for the Buckeyes.
174 – Mark Martin is a true sophomore who started at 165 last year for the Buckeyes and really came on strong at the end of the year. Martin was a 2x champ in high school and a NQ for the Buckeyes last year, winning a couple of matches. I think this is his natural weight and he will be improved from the beginning over last year when he was making a huge cut. I see him being a top 20 wrestler, top 6 in the Big Ten and a NQ who wins a couple of matches.
184 – Kenny Courts was a 3x PA state champ who started the season here for the Bucks last year but lost his spot to Cody Magrum. Courts was injured his senior year of high school and missed most of the next 18 months recuperating. He had a great summer and I think will surprise many this season. I see Courts being a Top 10 wrestler, top 4 in the Big Ten and a definite AA candidate.
197 – Nick Heflin is a 4 year starter and 2x AA. However, he wrestled 174 each of the last 4 years. He makes a big jump his last year for a couple of reasons, to avoid a big weight cut and to possibly win a title. 174 is super loaded and 184 has Ed Ruth, who is a bad man. Heflin is not aggressive, but has excellent hips and defense. I see him being a solid top 10 wrestler who has a very good shot at being an AA.
285 – Nick Tavanello won 3 state titles in high school and had a very productive redshirt year last year, winning a number of open titles and a lot of matches. Tavanello should be solid, but the Big Ten is deep at heavy. I think he will be a 20-25 type guy nationally, which may only put him at 9-10 in the Big Ten. Any wins at nationals will be a bonus.
Team – Ohio State has a relatively easy dual schedule, and I think they win plenty. They have some big scorers at tournaments in Stieber, Heflin, Paddock and Courts, but the consistency through the lineup isn’t there. I say they finish the Big Ten dual season no worse than 6-2, and they garner another top 10 finish at nationals.