The Buckeye wrestling squad went 2-0 in its weekend conquest of the state of Illinois, following up a 23-14 victory in Champaign with an even stronger margin of victory at Northwestern Sunday afternoon. Ohio State improved to 9-1 in dual meet action with the pair of road wins.
Bring on the Fireworks
Ohio State's title contenders, minus a knicked-up Joey McKenna, put on a show for the crowd in Evanston, with a pair of pins highlighting the bonus-point bonanza.
At 149 pounds, No. 3 Micah Jordan only need 1:47 to finish his match over Shayne Oster, and four matches later No. 1 Myles Martin need barely more than half the time, pinning Brendan Devine in 42 seconds flat.
No. 2 Kollin Moore didn't stick Zachary Chakonis in the 197-pound bout, but he did the next best thing in adding a 19-4 tech fall to his resume. He, Martin and McKenna are each flawless thus far on the season, while Jordan has just one loss on his record.
Newly-minted starter No. 18 Ethan Smith took care of business at 174 pounds, upending No. 16 Johnny Sebastian with a 11-3 major decision. Smith improved to 14-5 with the victory, and has earned bonus points in half of his victories.
|125||No. 1 Sebastian Rivera, major decision over Hunter Lucas (12-3)||0||4|
|133||No. 6 Luke Pletcher, decision over Colin Va||3||4|
|141||Alexander McKenna, decision over Clay Ragon (8-3)||3||7|
|149||No. 3 Micah Jordan, victory by FALL over Shayne Oster (1:47)||9||7|
|157||No. 3 Ryan Deakin, major decision over No. 7 Ke-Shawn Hayes (8-0)||9||11|
|165||Te'Shan Campbell, decision over Tyler Morland (6-0)||12||11|
|174||No. 18 Ethan Smith, major decision over No. 16 Johnny Sebastian (11-3)||16||11|
|184||No. 1 Myles Martin, victory by FALL over Brendan Devine (0:47)||22||11|
|197||No. 2 Kollin Moore, victory by TECH FALL over Zack Chakonis (19-4)||27||11|
|HWT||No. 15 Conan Jennings, major decision over Gary Traub (11-0)||27||15|
In addition to the four bonus-point wins, No. 6 Luke Pletcher and Te'Shan Campbell each won by decision in their matches. Pletcher was on the cusp of a major at 9-4, as was Campbell at 6-0.
Pletcher raced out to a 6-2 lead in the first period with three takedowns. The pace slowed somewhat in the second, as he added just one more takedown along with an escape and was scoreless in the final frame.
Campbell, in his first match since moving back down to 165 pounds, held Tyler Morland scoreless. After wrestling to a draw in the first period, Campbell managed an escape to open the second and tacked on the first takedown of the match.
He would hit the "Te'Shan Tilt" for a pair of near-fall points in the final period, along with the riding time bonus to round out the score. While the staff will be glad for the win, Campbell still have to increase his attack rate from the neutral position.
Watching from the Sidelines
As was the case Friday night at Illinois, the Buckeyes won handily despite missing the services of McKenna, No. 17 Chase Singletary and freshman lightweight Malik Heinselman. Their backups each came up short in relief, marking three of the team's four losses on the afternoon.
The Buckeyes would have been heavily favored in McKenna's match at 141 pounds, and Singletary already defeated Northwestern heavyweight Conan Jennings once this season. No. 1 Sebastian Rivera would have likely won the 125-pound match versus Heinselman, but the true freshman may have kept the score closer than the 12-3 major decision Rivera recorded over Hunter Lucas.
It was a moot point in any event, and not a loss Ohio State will sweat too much.
The loss that will bother the staff to some extent is Ke-Shawn Hayes' loss to No. 3 Ryan Deakin at 157 pounds. Hayes falls to 15-5 on the season – which is still a strong record – he is now 1 for 4 against ranked opponents in calendar year 2019.
Of biggest concern in Sunday's loss is that Hayes failed to score a single point on Deakin, who took Hayes to the mat three times in the 8-0 major decision. His only takedown of the weekend came in sudden victory Friday night vs. No. 8 Eric Barone.
For the team to have a strong run at the NCAA Championships in March, Hayes needs to score more from his feet. He is clearly capable of doing so, as he is one of the team's statistical leaders in both tech falls and major decisions with four of each to his credit this season.
To his credit, however, Hayes has faced one of the tougher schedules on the team since New Year's, having faced Top-10 opponents in four of his six matches over the past month. He dropped decisions to Hayden Hidlay and Alec Pantaleo, and defeated Barone prior to Sunday's match.
With the Illinois road trip behind them, the Buckeyes return to Columbus to face Cael Sanderson's Penn State juggernaut Friday night in St. John Arena. The No. 1 Nittany Lions handed Michigan their first loss of the season Feb. 1, extending their current dual-meet win streak to 55 straight.
Joey McKenna is hopeful, and Malik Heinselman and Chase Singletary should be back in action, as well. The meet will air live on the Big Ten Network, though Tom Ryan and company certainly hope Buckeye Nation turns out to fill St. John Arena for the biggest meet of the year.