Ohio State needed junior Myles Martin to come up big in Cleveland at the NCAA Wrestling Championship, and he failed to deliver the goods.
Under the lights Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena before a capacity crowd, Martin went toe-to-toe with his arch nemesis Bo Nickal, the defending national champion from Penn State. Martin and Nickal have an unbelivably lopsided rivalry, with Nickal now holding the 9-2 advantage over the past three years.
Martin's two wins, however, came when the matches counted most, including in the 2016 finals match that earned Martin – a true freshman – his first NCAA Championship. When Zahid Valencia upending Mark Hall in the 174-pound championship match, the Buckeyes saw renewed hope that they could control their destiny with a repeat of that battle.
History was not to repeat itself.
Martin appeared to be pushing the pace early in the match, sizing up his opponent and taking a shot that hit home, getting the two-point takedown. Nickal immediately flipped Martin, pinning him just 2:21 into the match, and killing Ohio State's quest for a national title.
Martin takedown to go ahead 2-0 but then is flipped over and pinned.— Ohio State Wrestling (@wrestlingbucks) March 18, 2018
Penn State clinches the 2018 NCAA title.
The match clinched the team race for Penn State, giving Cael Sanderson's program its seventh national championship in eight years. Ohio State, despite winning three of the past four Big Ten titles, has only been able to overcome Penn State's bonus-point machine once in the NCAA tournament, in 2015.
Kyle Snyder will wrestle in the final match of his college career in the last match of the NCAA Championship. A win will mark his third heavyweight title in three years.