Session 1 of the Big Ten wrestling tournament started with the Buckeyes on a hot streak as nine out of ten Buckeyes earned a trip to the quarterfinals. Following the opening round, the Buckeyes trailed only Iowa, but the momentum wasn’t carried over into the quarterfinals.
Five Buckeyes will wrestle in Saturday night’s semifinals, led by top-seeded Logan Stieber, Bo Jordan, and Kyle Snyder.
At 125 lbs, No. 3 seed Nathan Tomasello earned a 7-2 decision over John Jiminez of Wisconsin. Tomasello appeared to struggle from the bottom position, but was able to do enough on his feet to earn the decision. Tomasello advanced to the quarterfinals, where he met Conor Youtsey of Michigan. Also advancing to the quarterfinals as 125 were Thomas Gilman of Iowa, Luke Welch of Purdue, Jordan Conaway of Penn State (via a bye), Tim Lambert of Nebraska, Ethan Lizak of Minnesota(via a bye), and Jesse Delgado of Illinois.
In the quarterfinals, Tomasello showed his prowess from the neutral position against Youtsey of Michigan with a 5-2 decision. Tomasello advanced to the semifinals for a dance with two-time NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois. The other semifinal will be between Thomas Gilman of Iowa and Jordan Conaway of Penn State.
Johnni DiJulius wasted little time advancing through the opening round with a first period fall over Michigan State’s Garth Yenter. DiJulius, the No. 4 seed at 133 lbs, used a single leg shot and caught Yenter in a scramble and pinned the Spartan at 1:25 of the first period.
DiJulius advanced to the quarterfinals where he met Cory Clark of Iowa, who was a 12-1 winner in the opening round. Also advancing to the quarterfinals were top seeded Chris Dardanes of Minnesota, Rossi Bruno of Michigan, Jimmy Gulibon of Penn State, Zane Richards of Illinois, Danny Sabatello of Purdue, and Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin. DiJulius was unable to duplicate his win over Clark from earlier in the season, falling 2-0 as a result of a Clark escape and riding point. DiJulius falls to the wrestlebacks, where he will face Northwestern’s Malone.
In the 141 lb weight class, Logan Stieber benefited from his No. 1 seed with a bye to the quarterfinals where he met familiar foe Nick Lawrence (Westlake, Ohio) of Purdue. Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Ashnault of Rutgers, Thielke of Wisconsin, Abidin of Nebraska, Dziewa of Iowa, Oster of Northwestern, and Nick Dardanes of Minnesota. Stieber scored a quick takedown, but Lawrence defended hard, fighting off turn after turn. Stieber eventually turned on the heat, scoring a 9-0 major decision to advance to this afternoon’s semifinals against Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers. The other semifinal will feature Iowa’s Josh Dziewa against Nick Dardanes in what will be a huge match in the team race.
At the 149 lb weight class, Hunter Stieber showed no signs of rust from a season-long injury with a takedown demonstration to open the tournament against Brandon Nelsen of Purdue. Stieber yielded a late takedown, but still won 10-7 to advance to the quarterfinals where he met Zack Beitz of Penn State. Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Brandon Sorensen of Iowa, Rylan Lubeck of Wisconsin, Alec Pantaleo of Michigan, Ken Theobald of Rutgers, Justin Arthur of Nebraska, and NCAA champ Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern.
The younger Stieber broke the 0-0 tie early with a nice takedown on the edge. Stieber allowed a late takedown to fall behind in the third, but scored a reversal with just seconds on the clock to earn a 5-4 decision and a trip to the semifinals. In Saturday night’s semifinals, Stieber will face defending NCAA champ Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern.
Representing the Buckeyes at 157 lbs, senior Josh Demas allowed Indiana’s Luke Blanton to hang around a little longer than he probably would have liked, but scored a big five point move late in the third period to earn a 9-3 win and a trip to the quarterfinals. Also punching their tickets to the quarterfinals were Martinez of Illinois, Luke Frey of Penn State, Doug Welch of Purdue, Brian Murphy of Michigan, Michael Kelly of Iowa, and Dylan Ness of Minnesota.
In the quarterfinals, Demas faced Nebraska's James Green. Demas hung tough with Green, but Nebraska’s All-American was too much for Demas, taking a 9-2 decision. Demas drops to the wrestlebacks where he will meet the winner of Ben Sullivan (Northwestern) and TJ Ruschell (Wisconsin).
Bo Jordan earned a first round bye with his No. 1 seed and then met Nebraska’s Austin Wilson in the quarterfinals. Also earning a trip to the quarters were Morse of Illinois, Harger of Northwestern, Walsh of Indiana, Hammond of Penn State, Robinson of Purdue, and Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin. Wilson hung tough, but Jordan scored a quick takedown and rode Wilson for most of the match. Jordan earned a 4-1 decision victory to advance to the semifinals, where he’ll face Pierce Harger of Northwestern. The other semifinal will be between Bo’s cousin Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin and Taylor Walsh of Indiana. You are indeed reading that correctly: three of the four semifinalists at 165 lbs wrestled in Ohio in high school.
Mark Martin kept the Buckeyes rolling in the opening round with a win over Rutgers’ Phil Bakukas. Martin advanced to the quarterfinals where he met Iowa’s Tom Selleck look-alike and All-American Mike Evans. The other quarterfinalists included Kokesh of Nebraska, Massa of Michigan, Brunson of Illinois, Storley of Minnesota, Jackson of Indiana, and Matt Brown of Penn State. Martin lost a lackluster 2-0 decision to Evans, falling down into the wrestlebacks, where he will meet the winner of Snook (Maryland) and Proctor (Michigan State).
Kenny Courts had his offense working in the opening round with an 11-2 victory over Mitch Sliga of Northwestern. The win set up a rubber match between Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr and Courts with each wrestler winning earlier in the season. Pfarr took the lead in the season series with a 7-2 decision, knocking Courts into the wrestlebacks. The other quarterfinal matchups were between Brooks of Iowa and McCutcheon of Penn State, Robertson of Wisconsin and Dudley of Nebraska, and Reyes of Illinois and Abounader of Michigan. Courts will face the winner of Maryland’s Gardner and Rutgers’ Pafumi.
Kyle Snyder earned a No. 1 seed at 197 lbs, which earned him a bye to the quarterfinals. The other wrestlers advancing to the quarterfinals were Studebaker of Nebraska, Burak of Iowa, Schiller of Minnesota, Huntley of Michigan, McDiarmid of Michigan State, and McIntosh of Penn State. Snyder met Wisconsin’s Timmy McCall in a battle of guys who have freakish strength. After a scoreless first period, Snyder escaped and scored a takedown of his own. Snyder utilized a tough ride from the top in the third period to earn a riding point and a 6-2 victory. Snyder will face Iowa’s Nathan Burak in the semifinals tonight while the other semifinal will be between Schiller and McIntosh.
The first nine Buckeyes earned a trip to the quarterfinals, but heavyweight Nick Tavanello was unable to make it a perfect 10 for 10 as he lost to Rutgers’ Billy Smith. Tavanello’s knee was heavily wrapped and he looked like it may have been bothering him throughout the match. Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Wisconsin’s No. 1 seed Connor Medbery (who faced Smith in the quarterfinals), Lawson of Penn State, Telford of Iowa, McMullan of Northwestern, Kroells of Minnesota, Black of Illinois, and Coon of Michigan.