Wrestling: Buckeyes Bring Home Hardware from US Open

By Curt Heinrichs on April 29, 2017 at 9:06 pm
US Open Champ Luke Pletcher

Luke Pletcher and Nathan Tomasello showed no signs of slowing down after an excellent NCAA season as both current Buckeyes took home hardware from the 2017 US Open on Saturday. 

Pletcher competed in the UWW Junior Freestyle tournament, and brought home the 63 kg title with an 8-6 victory over Sam Turner of the Wyoming Wrestling RTC. Pletcher was one of many with Buckeye ties to represent Titan Mercury and the Ohio Regional Training Center. Pletcher trailed 6-4, but scored four straight points in the last 90 seconds to earn the title. 

Also competing in the Junior division, Buckeye commit Malik Heinselman won the 46-50 kg. Heinselman defeated Missouri commit Dack Punke 4-0 in the championship bout to earn the US Open title. Heinselman is one of the top rated recruits in the Class of 2018, and will fit in quite nicely on the Buckeye team with all of his freestyle accolades. 

Buckeye recruit David Carr scored points by the boatload in the early rounds, but lost to Joe Lee 14-5 in the semifinals. Carr then defaulted out and took sixth place at 70 kg. 

Current Buckeye Kevin Snyder competed in the Junior tournament at 96 kg, but ran into future teammate Chase Singletary in the quarterfinals, with Singletary winning 10-0. Singletary lost in the semis 8-0 to eventual runner-up Nathan Traxler. Snyder won three matches in the consolation bracket, but lost 10-1 in the third place to finish fourth. Singletary, who will graduate later this year and join the Buckeyes in the fall, placed fifth at 96 kg. 

Nathan Tomasello lost a tough 2-2 match by criteria to Tony Ramos late on Friday night, but didn't let the loss slow him down on Saturday morning in the consolation bracket. NaTo defeated Minnesota Storm representative Zach Sanders 6-4 and then edged fellow Titan Mercury wrestler Frank Perrelli 9-7 to take third place at 57 kg. 

After a big upset victory on Friday over top-seeded Jayson Ness, Johnni DiJulius' luck ran out. JDJ lost 10-0 to Brandon Wright, and then was bounced from the tournament by Chris Dardanes after a 13-2 match. 

Hunter Stieber showed that he is back to normal after an injury-riddled last two seasons for the Buckeyes. Stieber lost in the quarterfinals at 70 kg on Friday night, and was eliminated from the tournament just a match shy of placement by Jason Welch by the score of 12-8. 

Former Buckeye All-American and current Princeton assistant coach Nick Heflin opened some eyes with an excellent showing at the US Open. Heflin defeated Gabe Dean 6-3 on Friday night before losing to top-seeded David Taylor 15-4. In the consolation bracket, Heflin defeated Oklahoma State Cowboy Kyle Crutchmer 7-2 before defeating Penn State's Bo Nickal 10-6 for third place. After not being a big name on the freestyle circuit, Heflin demonstrated that he is still a force on the mat. 

The United States World Team trials will take place in June, and the Buckeyes are sure to be well represented after a strong showing at this year's US Open. 

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