Around the Oval on Friday, May 31

By Grant Miller on May 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.

Last week, after their team's terrific season came to an end in the Nation semi-final, Peter Kobelt and Blaz Rola found themselves in the last 16 of the NCAA Individual Championships. Kobelt faced Pepperdine's Sebastian Fanselow, but came up short, losing 6-4, 6-2. 

A well-deserved title for the excellent Rola

His teammate Rola had a much easier time with South Carolina's Tsvetan Mihov, winning 6-3, 6-2.  After losing the first set of his quarter-final against Duke's Henrique Cunha, Rola came right back with two dominant set wins to advance to the last four.

Once there, it seemed as if Rola could do no wrong, as another commanding triumph saw him move past Japie De Klerk of Tulsa and into the final. 

His opponent was Virginia's Jamere Jenkins, whos was aiming for a unique triple crown: he and his fellow Cavaliers already won the team national title, and now he was in both the singles and doubles final. He and his teammate Mac Styslinger captured the doubles title, so the only thing standing in his way was Rola.

The first set looked comfortable for Rola before a double fault allowed Jenkins back into the match and he eventually forced a tiebreaker. In what can only be described as an epic encounter, Rola eventually came out on top in the tiebreaker 10-8 to take the first set 7-6. A much more straightforward win followed in the second set, with an ace clinching a 6-4 set win and a NCAA Singles Championship for the junior.

Rola, who hails from Slovenia, won the doubles crown in 2012 alongside Chase Buchanan, and also became an All-American for the fourth time after his triumph in Urbana, Illinois over the weekend. Congratulations to Blaz on a wonderful season both with his team and individually.  

Just missing the target

For the second time in as many weeks, all that stood between the Ohio State baseball team and a shot at a Big Ten title was the Indiana Hoosiers. Having not been able to beat the men from Bloomington the required two times during the last weekend of the regular season, the Buckeyes had another chance to get it right as the two squads met in the Big Ten tournament semi-final at Target Field.

The last game of the season saw Indiana jump on Ohio State pitching with eight runs, and they're lineup did similar damage last Friday night. Six runs in the bottom half of the fifth not only erased the one run advantage held by the Buckeyes, but it also gave the Hoosiers more than enough breathing room. Ohio State didn't even score after that inning, and left with a familiar feeling as Indiana ran out 11-3 winners.

Now the Buckeyes were down to their last chance to get the championship game. Nebraska, who had come through the other side of the bracket after losing to the Buckeyes, were waiting for them. The game began as a pitchers duel with Ohio State's Jaron Long and Nebraska's Christian DeLeon giving up a combined two hits over the first three innings. That all changed in the top of the fourth, when two doubles and two singles drove in three runs for the Huskers. Ohio State couldn't find any answer on the offensive end, and another two runs from Nebraska in the eighth meant that the Buckeyes would fall short of the Big Ten title game once again, losing 5-0.  

Due to the two difficult losses to end the season, the Buckeyes didn't receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and so their season has ended. It's almost cruel how close they were, especially considering that just one or maybe two more wins would've solidified their place in the field. In any case, it was another terrific season of Buckeye baseball, and we can only hope that they take that final step next season. Thanks, boys.    

Regional Action

Both the Ohio State men's and women's track and field teams competed in the NCAA East Regional last weekend to see who would participate at the National Championships.

For the men, Michael Hartfield and Korbin Smith both moved in the long jump category. Antonio Blanks qualified in the 400m hurdles, while Big Ten Champion Billy Stanley. Blanks will also be competing as part of the 4x400m relay team alongside Devin Smith, Champ Page and Marvel Brooks. Also qualifying was the 4x100m team, with Devin Smith, Timothy Faust, Nick Batcha and Demoye Bogle ready to take on the best in the nation. 

Faust and Bogle will also compete in individual events, the 200m and 110m respectively. The team's last qualifier was Chris Fallon, who clinched a spot in the 1500m Championships. 

The Ohio State rowing team hits the water for the final time this weekend

On the women's side, there was the unsurprising sight of Alexis Thomas qualifying in the hammer throw and Katie Borchers clinching her spot in the 800m finals as well. The team's other participants in the National Championships is the 4x100 relay team of Ashlee Abraham, Aisha Cavin, Christienne Linton and Adenike Pedro. Later, Abraham also made it through to the Championships in the 200m. The 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships are June 5-8 in Eugene, Oregon.

Top Seeded boats

We must not forget that this weekend the No. 1 Ohio State rowing team sail into Indianapolis to compete in the 2013 NCAA Championships today through Sunday.

After winning their fourth Big Ten title two weeks ago, the team now prepare for their 14th-consecutive appearance at the tournament. After seeing so many Buckeye squads come up just short in their pursuit of postseason glory, let's hope that the powerful rowing team can buck the trend. 

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