Wrestling Preview: No. 10 Ohio State Hosts Wisconsin

By Curt Heinrichs on February 12, 2016 at 11:37a
No. 10 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Ohio State will close out their Big Ten dual meet season when they play host to Wisconsin on Friday night. The match will feature a pair of bouts with two ranked wrestlers and, interestingly enough, all four of those wrestlers are from the state of Ohio.

The Badgers bring a 1-5 Big Ten record to Columbus to face a Buckeye team with a 6-2 conference record. Both teams enter the dual on the heels of a tough loss and will look to rebound.

Friday’s dual meet will serve as Senior Night for the Buckeyes, where they will honor the senior members of the team, including four starters. Johnni DiJulius stands as the active career wins leader for Ohio State with 110 wins to his credit and has earned three trips to the NCAA tournament. Mark Martin is also a three-time NCAA qualifier, but has been hampered this season due to injury. Kenny Courts earned 5th place at the NCAA tournament last season and helped the team to win the first NCAA title in program history. Hunter Stieber earned All-American honors in each of his first two seasons at Ohio State before serious elbow injuries prevented him from his third consecutive finish on the podium last season. Seniors Jacob Bresciani, Matthew O’Hara, Mike Manuche, Dominic Prezzia, and Kyle Riley-Hawkins will each be recognized as well.

The match will take place at St. John Arena on Friday and action will start at 7:00 PM. Those without tickets will be able to watch the match live on Big Ten Network Plus (subscription required). 

Let’s take a look at what to expect when the Badgers come to Columbus. 

Illinois Fighting Illini
Wisconsin Badgers
2-6 overall 1-4 Big Ten

7:00 PM- Friday, February 12
St. John Arena
Columbus, Ohio


Wisconsin badgers

Head CoachBarry Davis
Davis is wrapping up his 22nd season as Wisconsin’s head coach. During that time, he has amassed a record of 218-160-11 while wrestling largely against Big Ten competition. Davis was in the corner of 22 All-Americans, eight Big Ten individual champions, and three NCAA champions. As a competitor, Davis was a three-time NCAA champion at Iowa under the legendary Dan Gable. Davis was a four-time All-American and won four Big Ten titles for the Hawkeyes. Davis was a distinguished international competitor in addition to his excellence in NCAA competition, winning a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics while he was still in college. Davis also competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and medaled at the 1986 and 1987 World Games. Davis is assisted by a pair of former Badgers in Trevor Brandvold and Kyle Ruschell, who were each two-time All-Americans for Wisconsin. 


Ohioans on the Wisconsin Roster

Isaac Jordan (RS JR, 165)

Isaac is the fourth of the Jordan family to wrestle for Wisconsin, joining Jim (Isaac’s father and two-time NCAA champ, three-time All-American), Jeff (Isaac’s uncle, two-time All-American), and Ben (Isaac’s older brother, an All-American in 2012). Isaac won three state titles for his uncle Jeff at Graham High School and placed 3rd at the state tournament as a freshman. Isaac placed twice at the Walsh Ironman, winning the tournament as a senior.

Ryan Taylor (RS JR, 133)
A classmate of Jordan’s at Graham High School, Taylor won three state titles of his own after serving as a backup in his freshman season (to NCAA All-American Nick Brascetta). Taylor placed three times at the Ironman tournament, finishing 5th and then a pair of runner-up finishes (both to Virginia’s George Dicamillo).

Eli Stickley (FR, 141)
Stickley was a three-time state placer for Graham High School, ending his career with a state championship as a senior. Stickley won an Ironman title as a junior and placed 3rd as a senior. He is the cousin of Isaac Jordan. 

Notable Badger Wrestlers

Ohio State isn’t the only Big Ten team that features wrestlers with Olympic aspirations. The Badger lineup is without Jesse Thielke (141) and Conor Medbery (HWT), who are each taking an Olympic redshirt year. Medbery was an All-American last season after finishing 4th at both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. Wisconsin has struggled to replace both wrestlers, and have struggled in dual meets in part due to their absence.

Isaac Jordan: 165
Jordan has spent the bulk of the season ranked #3 in the InterMat rankings (behind two-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State and Bo Jordan) and has earned a pair of All-American finishes at the NCAA tournament. As a freshman, Isaac finished 7th at the NCAA tournament after advancing to the quarterfinals. In his second season, Jordan fell to Taylor Walsh in the NCAA semifinals and again finished in 7th place. He has finished 3rd and 1st at the Big Ten tournament, defeating Bo Jordan in the final of the 2015 tournament. Isaac currently boasts a perfect 18-0 record during his junior season.

Ryan Taylor: 133
Taylor returns for his junior season with an All-American finish to his credit after a 7th place finish at the 2015 NCAA tournament. Taylor was 2-2 at the NCAA tournament as a freshman and fell short of placement. He has placed 3rd and 2nd at the Big Ten Championships. Taylor holds a 3-3 record to this point in an injury-marred junior season.

Probable Lineups
Ohio State WT Wisconsin

Key Matchups

165: #2 Bo Jordan vs #3 Isaac Jordan
These two have presumably met thousands of times before this dual, but this will be just the second time that they meet with the score being official. Bo and Isaac are cousins and grew up wrestling one another since they could walk. Both Jordans were multiple-time state champions (Bo won 4, Isaac won 3) for Bo’s dad, Jeff Jordan, at Graham High School, where they were likely practice partners. Isaac took a 3-2 decision in the Big Ten championship match last season, so Bo will look to avenge that loss in the dual. Both guys have been nagged with injuries to this point in the season, so don’t be shocked if this one doesn’t take place until the Big Ten tournament in March. If it does happen, it’s undoubtedly the biggest match of the dual. 

133: #10 Johnni DiJulius vs #7 Ryan Taylor
Taylor and DiJulius are two of the more decorated lightweights in Ohio high school wrestling’s impressive history with each winning a trio of state titles. Taylor is an explosive wrestler with excellent finishes on a variety of leg attacks, while JDJ prefers to work from ties and set up his fireman’s carry. 133 is the deepest weight class this year in the Big Ten, with half of the latest InterMat top 20 featuring Big Ten competitors. This match will likely be huge in the seeding at the Big Ten tournament in March.

184: #16 Kenny Courts vs Ryan Christensen
Courts’ career at Ohio State is drawing to a close, but he hasn’t made great strides in improving since he came to Ohio State. He is still wildly inconsistent, but is known to show great bursts of offense. Kenny defeated Christensen earlier in the season by major decision, so he’s more than capable of getting a win here. If Courts is going to make a run at a second All-American finish in March, he’s going to need to get on a roll to build up some confidence. After a tough loss against Matt McCutcheon of Penn State, Christensen is just what the doctor ordered.  

Match Outlook

Wisconsin is not a great team this season. They’ve only won a single dual meet against a Division I opponent this season, although it was a pretty big upset against a highly-ranked Rutgers team. We will probably see some back-ups in the lineup for Ohio State, especially at 149 for Hunter Stieber. Tom Ryan tends to play with the lineup in winnable dual meets, especially when guys are banged up like Stieber and Mark Martin have been. Barring some sort of crazy upset, Ohio State should improve to 10-3 and 7-2 in the Big Ten and move on to preparing for the NWCA Championship Dual Series, where they’ll likely meet up with Lehigh for a second straight year. 

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