Chalk up another national championship for Tom Ryan's wrestling Buckeyes. True freshman Myles Martin, the No. 11 seed in the 174-pound weight class, completed an improbable run by defeating Penn State's Bo Nickal, the No. 1 seed in the division, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Martin earned the title by a score of 11-9 to capture his first national championship in just his first season of collegiate wrestling, becoming the 15th true freshman to win it all. Martin also become the first No. 11 seed to win a national championship since 1979, per Ohio State.
It was a measure of revenge for Martin, who lost to Nickal by fall at the Big Ten championships two weeks ago. Nickal (33-2) also beat Martin 11-5 during the dual meet and pinned him earlier in their careers at Cadet Nationals.
“The coaches were so happy I got All-American, but I wasn't really thinking about it. I was thinking about the next match, keep competing, competing hard.”– Myles Martin
Martin led 2-1 after the first period with a takedown, but Nickal scored with an escape. Nickal got three straight points to open the second period and take a 4-2 lead but Martin came on strong and nearly got a pin, leading 9-4 after two. After another escape, Martin was content to yield stall points and hold off Nickal.
Martin finished third in the conference tournament but will be much happier with a national championship. The Penns Grove, NJ, product finishes his freshman year with a 33-6 record, with a third-place finish in the B1G tourney, All-America honors and a national title.
As a freshman, Martin now has an opportunity to chase the accomplishment of Logan Stieber and become a four-time champion. He's talented enough to do it, but obviously there is a long way to go to reach that level.
Martin's win also clinched a top four finish for Ohio State in the team standings.