Fans of Ohio State's coveted Pin Chain had plenty to smile about Friday night, as the Buckeyes recorded three falls and a tech in the first four matches of the night in East Lansing. After a rough pair of matches at 165 and 174, the back end of the roster got things back on track and cruised to a decisive win over an outmanned Michigan State squad.
Michigan State is not a great wrestling team. In the past two years, they've recorded just two wins over conference opponents, and gave up more than 40 points each in losses to Iowa and Penn State earlier this season.
Even with Bo Jordan and Kyle Snyder out of the lineup - the former taking the night off ahead of Sunday's match versus Purdue and the latter wrestling at the Yarygin Memorial in Russia - Ohio State was expected to win running away. Things didn't quite turn out that way, as Tom Ryan's squad dropped three matches, including one that was... interesting, to say the least.
First, the good news: Ohio State's title contenders did what they were supposed to do. The night started with a bang, as Luke Pletcher - not known as a bonus point machine by any stretch - picked up his second pin of the season, putting Nathan Ellis on his back midway through the second period.
Joey McKenna decided he'd go one better, pinning Kole Krauss just 97 seconds into the match. A tech fall from Ke-Shawn Hayes, his seventh of the year, and a pin from Micah Jordan, and the rout was on.
Hayes, along with teammate Myles Martin, are among the Top 10 in the nation in tech falls this season.
The nation's tech fall leaders. pic.twitter.com/qWxFYfyEWs— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) January 24, 2018
Then things got... funky.
At 165, Te'Shan Campbell came into the match on a three-match losing streak, and one might have assumed that this was the perfect match for him to reassert himself as a likely All American. It didn't happen that way.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the final period, Campbell found himself on the wrong side of several stalling warnings and penalties, some of which were... questionable. At any rate, the situation is symptomatic of Campbell's issues of late in scoring points, and as the period drew to a close, Campbell drew a final stalling penalty and a disqualification.
By that point, Tom Ryan had had enough, and wanted to challenge the final stalling call, which turned a decision worth three team points to a disqualification worth six. His pleas not only fell on deaf ears, but they earned sufficient ire from the official that the Buckeyes were docked a point for failing to "control the mat area," reminding everyone that NCAA wrestling is perhaps the only sport in existence that docks points for action that happens outside of the field of play.
Ryan and Campbell have some serious work to do in the coming weeks. Campbell started the season like a freight train, looking every bit an NCAA qualifier. In the month of January, on the other hand, he's looked anything but, failing to take shots or to finish the few that he takes.
Fritz Schierl and Kevin Snyder, stepping in for the elder Jordan and Snyder brothers, each dropped narrow decisions.
Schierl came back with a vengeance in the third, trying to erase a six-point deficit, but simply ran out of time. Snyder, on the other hand, appeared to have the match in hand, but his attempt at an ankle pick went awry, and Michigan State's Christian Rebottaro managed to scramble into a takedown of his own, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
The meet ended on a brighter note, however, as Nathan Tomasello picked up a decision against a game freshman in Rayvon Foley. Foley scrambled and defended well, but Tomasello was never in any real danger of losing the match.
Ohio State walked away with the victory, and some exciting performances from its best wrestlers. It also saw one really distressing match and a pair of close losses by backups, making the final score look much, much closer than it was in all reality.
|133||No. 2 Luke Pletcher, victory by FALL over Nathan Ellis (4:35)||6||0|
|141||No. 11 Joey McKenna, victory by FALL over Kole Krauss (1:37)||12||0|
|149||No. 7 Ke-Shawn Hayes, victory by tech fall over Jwan Britton (16-1)||17||0|
|157||No. 5 Micah Jordan, victory by FALL over Jake Tucker (3:36)||23||0|
|165||Austin Hiles, victory by disqualification over No. 13 Te'Shan Campbell||22||6|
|174||Logan Ritchie, decision over Fritz Schierl (9-6)||22||9|
|184||No. 2 Myles Martin, victory by tech fall over Shwan Shadaia (16-1)||27||9|
|197||No. 1 Kollin Moore, victory by tech fall over Nick May (20-2)||32||9|
|HWT||Christian Rebottaro, decision over Kevin Snyder (4-2)||32||12|
|125||No. 4 Nathan Tomasello, decision over Rayvon Foley (7-3)||35||12|
Ohio State is in action again Sunday, hosting Purdue at St. Paris Graham high school in Champaign County, home of the Jordan brothers wrestling dynasty.
The meet will stream live via the Ohio State University Wrestling Facebook page.