Around The Oval: Ohio State Women’s Hockey, Ohio State Pistol and Ohio State Wrestler Jesse Mendez Win National Titles; Synchronized Swimming Takes Fourth at U.S. Collegiate Championships

By Chase Brown on March 25, 2024 at 1:05 pm
Jesse Mendez
Jesse Strickland / USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another Around The Oval.

In this week's edition of ATO, Eleven Warriors' one-stop shop for coverage of Ohio State's Olympic sports, we look at national championships for the Buckeyes' women's hockey and pistol teams, as well as an individual title for wrestler Jesse Mendez. We also break down synchronized swimming's fourth-place finish at the U.S. Collegiate Championships and other several results from the Buckeyes' various programs.

Titles Galore

One Ohio State athlete and two Ohio State teams won national titles over the weekend. 

On Saturday, wrestler Jesse Mendez defeated Penn State’s Beau Bartlett in last-second fashion to win an NCAA championship at 141 pounds. With his 4-1 decision, Mendez became Ohio State’s first national champion since Kyle Snyder in 2018.

After a scoreless first period, Mendez started on bottom and took a 1-0 lead when he escaped Bartlett’s clasp. The wrestlers traded shots for the next two minutes. Bartlett almost secured a takedown as the clock approached zeroes. However, in a heads-up defensive move, Mendez wrapped himself around his opponent’s foot, keeping their position neutral.

With Mendez leading 1-0, Bartlett started the third on bottom and, like Mendez in the second, escaped with relative ease. Tied 1-1, a takedown in the final moments would win the dual and settle the rubber match between Bartlett and Mendez. The former beat the latter in the regular season, and the opposite result occurred at the Big Ten Championships.

With 10 seconds left, Mendez made his move. He landed a three-point takedown and won an NCAA title.

Also on Saturday, Ohio State pistol won its fourth consecutive team title at the Intercollegiate Pistol Championships – good for the first four-peat in program history. The Buckeyes have now won five of the last six national championships in pistol and nine total titles since 2000.

Ohio State won the 2024 Intercollegiate Pistol Championships in dominant fashion. The Buckeyes ended the competition with an aggregate score of 6736, beating second-place Navy by 296 points. For comparison, the margin between Navy and fifth-place Citadel was 233 points.

Buckeye shooters took the top five spots on the individual leaderboard. Katelyn Abeln earned top individual honors for the second consecutive season with an aggregate score of 1717, while Ada Korkhin (1689), Jackson Leverett (1667), Riya Salian (1665) and Johnathan Dorsten (1657) rounded out the top five.

Ohio State took first place in all three categories of competition, winning trophies in the air, sport and standard classifications. Abeln earned top honors in both sport and standard pistol, while Korkhin won the individual title in air pistol.

On Sunday, Ohio State women’s hockey won its second national championship in three years, defeating Wisconsin 1-0 in the Frozen Four to avenge its title game loss to the Badgers in 2023 (and its WCHA Final Faceoff loss to the Badgers in 2024).

Joy Dunne scored the game-winner for Ohio State. After two-and-a-half periods of scoreless action, Dunne – the Buckeyes’ leading goal scorer this season – sniped a shot past Wisconsin goaltender Ava McNaughton to put Ohio State in front. In the final seven minutes, the Buckeyes’ defense buried the Badgers, keeping their explosive offense off the board and securing the shutout win.

“Congrats to the players and all the hard work that they put in throughout the year,” Muzerall said in her opening statement after the game. “Congratulations to Wisconsin. That was one hell of a game. Both teams battled hard. We knew it was gonna be a tough challenge.”

Synchronized Swimming

Ohio State synchronized swimming fell short of its third consecutive national title and 35th overall championship. The Buckeyes finished fourth behind Incarnate Word, Stanford and Texas Woman’s University.

Emily Armstrong started the meet strong for Ohio State, winning an individual title in A Figures, the second of her three-year career. The Buckeyes also had top finishers in the remaining elements, with Maddie Romney and Venice Shoda taking second place in the B Figures and C Figures.

Armstrong continued the meet with a fifth-place finish in solo. In duet, Daniella Molano Arango and Gabriella Molano Arango took fifth in their first national championship meet, while Armstrong and Hannah Heffernan took sixth. Ohio State’s trio squad of Armstrong, Heffernan and Emma Spott led the Buckeyes with a sixth-place finish, while the Molano Arango sisters and Taylor Sullivan came in eighth.

In the team competition, Ohio State’s “Scarlet” routine of Romney, Heffernan, Spott, the Molano Arango sisters, Sullivan, Victoria Carlson and Charlotte Gray finished sixth. The Buckeyes’ “Gray” routine of Shoda, Rikki Evans, Lilly Ortiz, Angelie Roger and Carol Walsh earned an honorary ninth-place result.

Other Results

  • Three Ohio State fencers finished the 2024 NCAA Fencing Championships with All-American honors as the Buckeyes took sixth place at the event. Luca Fioretto claimed a spot in the semifinals to earn first-team accolades, while Edriss Ndiaye and Paul Veltrup placed in the top eight to earn spots on the second team.
  • Ohio State men’s tennis defeated Northwestern (4-0) and Illinois (4-1) over the weekend. With the wins, the Buckeyes are off to a 4-0 start in Big Ten competition and are 20-1 overall. Their lone loss this season came to Texas, 5-2, in Austin.
  • Two weeks ago, Ohio State women’s tennis fell to Pepperdine and Michigan. The Buckeyes have since bounced back with three consecutive wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, outscoring their opponents 12-2 in that stretch. Ohio State is 10-6 this season with a 3-1 record in Big Ten competition.
  • Ohio State men’s lacrosse fell to Penn State, 12-9, on Sunday. The Buckeyes are in the middle of a tough stretch, having lost three of their last four games. They will look to bounce back next weekend in Piscataway, New Jersey, where head coach Nick Myers’ squad will face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
  • Ohio State women’s lacrosse also lost a game over the weekend, falling to Johns Hopkins, 15-5, in Baltimore. Head coach Amanda Moore’s squad is 6-4 this season with a 0-3 record in Big Ten competition. Moore is in her first season at Ohio State, which went 5-12 (0-6 Big Ten) in 2023.
  • Ohio State softball split its series with Rutgers over the weekend. With a 17-10 record, the Buckeyes will return to Columbus for their home opener against Dayton on Wednesday. They will also host Northwestern at Buckeye Field on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Ohio State baseball had its home opener against Georgetown on Friday and lost 5-1 to the Hoyas. The Buckeyes also fell on Saturday and Sunday to their visitors from Washington, D.C. Ohio State will continue its homestand this week, hosting Kent State on Tuesday and Purdue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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