Ohio State improved to a perfect 7-0 Sunday afternoon, conquering the visiting Michigan State Spartans in 9 out of 10 matches, including six bonus-point victories. The Buckeyes performed largely as expected, with Joey McKenna, Myles Martin and Kollin Moore each scoring a tech fall or pin in the 37-4 rout.
True freshman Malik Heinselman, who burned his redshirt Friday night at Indiana, was the only Ohio State wrestler to drop a match versus the Spartans. The 125-pounder faced No. 8 Rayvon Foley, a sophomore who looked every bit a Top-10 competitor in a 19-6 major decision that represented the only points of the night for Michigan State.
"Tonight got away from him a little bit," said Ohio State associate head coach J Jaggers after the match. "Do I think he's 13 points behind that kid right now? Absolutely not. He wrestled him this summer in freestyle, a 13-12 barn burner."
Heinselman won that match, at the freestyle Junior World Team Trials. But as Jaggers noted, folkstyle is a different discipline and Foley clearly had the upper hand on top Sunday.
"[Foley] clearly overwhelmed him a little bit on the mat, and there are some mechanical things, technical things Malik can clean up from the bottom position, like leaving his hands back there a lot," Jaggers said. "He wrestled most of that three or four minutes he was on bottom with his arm behind his back."
Jaggers said regardless of the loss, the staff has every confidence in their new starter: "He got a rude welcome today, but we believe in him and he needs to believe in himself."
Bonus, Bonus, Bonus
Six out of the Buckeyes' nine victories came with bonus points attached. No. 2 Kollin Moore paced the team with the night's only pin, a first-period beauty that marked his second win by fall of the weekend at 197 pounds.
"I've been working with J a lot on top...that's the next part of my wrestling I want to get really good at is on top," Moore said. "A lot of the best guys in the history of the sport were killers on top, like Logan [Stieber] and Jaggers."
Moore got the first takedown of his match in the early seconds of the first period, and went to work right away trying to get Nick May on his back. It took him until the 2:22 mark to get the job done, but it was a solid performance and another step in Moore's evolution as a national title contender.
Martin had the only match of the night featuring ranked vs. ranked combatants. No. 1 Myles Martin faced No. 20 Cam Caffey, who took No. 2 Emery Parker of Illinois to sudden victory Friday night in East Lansing.
Caffey went toe-to-toe early in the match, scoring the first takedown of the season any wrestler has managed against the undefeated Martin. From there on out, the match was all Martin, as he scored five takedowns in the match, and got Caffey turned twice for a pair of four-point near-falls en route to a 22-7 tech fall.
No. 2 Joey McKenna, at 141 pounds, took a much different path to his tech fall, needing the full seven minutes of the match for the 24-9 victory. McKenna couldn't quite manage to turn his opponent, and played catch-and-release for most of the match.
"Joey needed 11 or 12 takedowns to get the tech, while Myles only needed five," Jaggers said. "Joey looked great on his feet, but he's got to iron out his arm bar and get some back points. His goals are lofty this year, and he keeps punching the clock and getting better."
First-year starters Kaleb Romero, Ethan Smith and Chase Singletary each picked up victories against Michigan State, and all three need to work toward wrestling as strong in the final period of the match as they did in the first two.
For Romero, at 165, he had a 6-2 lead and the riding time bonus locked up early in the third, but he got out of position and Austin Hiles scored a takedown and looked like he might manage some back points. Romero held him off, but won't have that type of leeway against stiffer competition.
At 174, Smith continues to battle Te'Shan Campbell for the starting position. Smith looked like a hammer in the opening period, with a takedown and 2-point nearfall giving him a 4-0 lead and a truckload of riding time. He increased his lead to 8-1 with two more takedowns in the second; but in the third, the match almost got away from him as Drew Hughes got him tilted from a power-half for a 2-point near-fall.
Singletary got into bonus with a major decision in the heavyweight bout, hitting a nice six-point move in the final period to get the extra points. Jaggers said Singletary has what it takes to be a "special" wrestler, if he can manage the type of consistency seen from wrestlers like Martin, Moore and McKenna.
"His thing is chasing that complete, seven-minute, intense, focused match from start to finish," Jaggers said. "He's a great athlete. He's won everything his whole life, but now it's a consistency thing."
Micah Jordan and Ke-Shawn Hayes each turned in major decisions over their unranked opponents. Hayes looked as sharp Sunday as he's looked all season, turning in a solid performance on his feet, on top and from the bottom position.
Jordan traded takedowns for escapes in a 15-6 romp, and as Jaggers noted, needs to work on getting back points if he's going to continue to advance toward his postseason goals.
The night's strangest bout came at 133 pound, when No. 5 Luke Pletcher needed extra innings to dispatch Anthony Tutolo. Pletcher has made no secret of his mission to open up his offense more this season, and through the first half of the year it seemed as though he was making steady progress on that goal.
Tutolo, however, took Pletcher down a different path.
The Spartan managed the only takedowns of the match, one in the first period and one in the third. But Pletcher scored two subsequent escapes, plus an escape to open the third period; add the riding time bonus point earned for a second-period rideout and the score at the end of regulation was 4-4.
Neither man scored in the sudden victory period. Pletcher's fourth escape in the first tie-breaker period was enough to seal the win after he rode out Tutolo in TB-2 for the 5-4 decision.
"Luke manufactured a win without getting a takedown," Jaggers said. "He's got to get to his offense a little more, but that was a gritty win and we're proud of him."
Jaggers said Tutolo presented a bit of a stylistic matchup challenge for Pletcher. Last season they wrestled to a 2-0 decision, so in 15 minutes of wrestling the Buckeye won both matches, but without scoring a single takedown.
|125||No. 8 Rayvon Foley, major decision over Malik Heinselman (19-6)||0||4|
|133||No. 5 Luke Pletcher, decision over Anthony Tutolo (5-4, TB-2)||3||4|
|141||No.2 Joey McKenna, victory by TECH FALL over Matt Santos (24-9)||8||4|
|149||No. 3 Micah Jordan, major decision over Jaden Enriquez (15-6)||12||4|
|157||No. 8 Ke-Shawn Hayes, major decision over Jake Tucker (11-3)||16||4|
|165||Kaleb Romero, decision over Austin Hiles (7-4)||19||4|
|174||Ethan Smith, decision over Drew Hughes (9-3)||22||4|
|184||No. 1 Myles Martin, victory by TECH FALL over No. 20 Cam Caffey (22-7)||27||4|
|197||No. 2 Kollin Moore, victory by FALL over Nick May (2:22)||33||4|
|HWT||No. 17 Chase Singletary, major decision over Christian Rebottaro (12-4)||37||4|
Ohio State has a two-week training period before welcoming the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines to the Schottenstein Center for a primetime bout Friday, Jan. 25.