Things went about as well for the Buckeyes as they could have Thursday in Cleveland. Ohio State won 19 of 20 matches in the first two rounds of the tournament, and advanced nine wrestlers to the tournament's quarterfinal round Friday.
Nathan Tomasello led the scoring with a maximum-possible 6.0 team points, pinning his first opponent and then picking up an injury default over Arizona State's Ryan Milhoff. Tomasello was well on his way to a major decision or a tech fall, but Milhoff couldn't wrestle the final period after coming up with an injured leg.
Joey McKenna introduced himself to the 18,680 fans in attendance (18,660 attended the afternoon session) at Quicken Loans Arena in a big way, cruising to a pair of tech falls while only allowing a single escape in either match - the only point he's yielded throughout the postseason. His dominant performance added 5.0 team points.
Micah Jordan added 5.0 points to the team tally as well, but did so with a major decision in the opening round and the team's lone fall of the Round of 16, a pin that brought the thousands of Buckeye fans in attendance to their feet.
Kyle Snyder put on one of his signature takedown clinics in the Buckeyes' final match of the day, scoring again and again and again in typical catch-and-release fashion. His 23-8 tech fall was a good representation of how things went for the Buckeyes Thursday.
Myles Martin, Kollin Moore and Bo Jordan each earned major decisions in their second matches. In all, seven Buckeyes scored bonus points in the Round of 16, up from just five in the opening round matches.
Luke Pletcher finished the day with a trademark 4-3 decision, and Ke-Shawn Hayes was a hair's breadth from getting a major of his own. Hayes looked as though he was simply out of gas in the third period, and allowed his opponent to score some late takedowns that narrowed the margin of victory to just six points.
Te'Shan Campbell registered the only loss of the day, an 8-0 decision to No. 4 Chad Walsh of Rider. Campbell faced the highest-seeded opponent of any Buckeye Thursday, so it wasn't exactly a surprise that he didn't advance, but Ohio State will count on him to win a match or two in Friday's wrestlebacks.
Meanwhile, in the team race...
Ohio State took a solid lead into the locker room Thursday night, thanks in part to Penn State going 7-2 in the first round, with Corey Keener and No. 8 Nick Lee both getting pinned in their first match of the afternoon.
Keener was never expected to add much to the team race, but Lee was definitely part of the Nittany Lions' gameplan. Both men are still alive in the consolation brackets, and can add points to Penn State's score Friday.
Iowa had an extremely strong first day, and are nipping at Penn State's heels. They may not have the depth to seriously challenge either Ohio State or Penn State, but their top dogs wrestled as well as anyone on the mats Friday, with Kemerer and Marinelli each racking up a pair of pins on the day.
It's still going to be a dogfight, but the Buckeyes more or less did what they needed to do Thursday. They have some very favorable matches in the quarterfinals, so things could get very exciting.
|125||No. 2 Nathan Tomasello, victory by INJURY DEFAILT over No. 15 Ryan Milhoff (Arizona State)||3.0|
|133||No. 3 Luke Pletcher, decision over No. 14 Korbin Myers (Edinboro), 4-3||1.0|
|141||No. 4 Joey McKenna, victory by TECH FALL over No. 13 Luke Karam (Lehigh), 15-0||2.5|
|149||No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes, decision over No. 12 Ryan Blees (Virginia Tech), 12-6||1.0|
|157||No. 7 Micah Jordan, victory by FALL over No. 10 Markus Scheidel (Columbia), 3:10||3.0|
|165||No. 4 Chad Walsh (Rider), major decision over No. 13 Te'Shan Campbell, 8-0||0.0|
|174||No. 6 Bo Jordan, major decision over No. 11 David Kocher (South Dakota State), 11-3||2.0|
|184||No. 2 Myles Martin, major decision over Mitchell Bowman (Iowa), 17-5||2.0|
|197||No. 1 Kollin Moore, major decision over Patrick Brucki (Princeton), 14-4||2.0|
|HWT||No. 1 Kyle Snyder, victory by TECH FALL over Jere Heino (Campbell), 23-8||2.5|
Action gets underway with the quarterfinal matches Friday morning at 11 a.m.
Previewing the Quarterfinals
In the quarterfinal matches, Ke-Shawn Hayes gets a rematch with North Carolina's Troy Heilmann, the No 4 seed, the man who handed Hayes his first loss of the season back at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Hayes will have to win the third to avenge that 10-8 loss and advance to the semifinals.
Micah Jordan will face Rutgers' John Van Brill, a man he defeated in Piscataway in January. Van Brill entered the tournament as the No. 15 seed, and shocked the crowd with his second-round upset of No. 2 Joey Lavallee.
Bo Jordan will face No. 3 Daniel Lewis of Missouri, an opponent he's beaten twice before. A victory in the quarters would almost certainly set the table for a semifinal rematch with Mark Hall of Penn State.
Myles Martin faces unseeded Tarheel Chip Ness, who upset No. 10 Emory Parker of Illinois in the first round, and No. 7 Taylor Venz of Nebraska in the second. Martin will aim to end Ness' string of Big Ten upsets.
Kollin Moore wrestles a fellow hometown boy in Kyle Conel of Kent State. Unseeded, Conel earned his way to the quarters with upsets of No. 8 and No. 9 en route to his date with Moore tomorrow.
Speaking of early upsets: Joey McKenna's quarterfinal opponent, No. 12 Tyler Smith of Bucknell, preempted McKenna's seemingly inevitable rematch with No. 5 Kevin Jack of N.C. State. Smith took his second-round match with Jack to sudden victory, and came up with the win.
Nathan Tomasello faces No. 7 Taylor Lamont of Utah Valley, Luke Pletcher faces No. 6 Scott Parker of Lehigh, and Kyle Snyder faces No. 9 Derek White of Oklahoma State.