After winning just three bouts last weekend versus Penn State, Ohio State's wrestling team may have looked to the casual fan as something other than one of the top teams in the country. Friday night's dual at Purdue served as a reminder that the Buckeyes are winners of three of the past four Big Ten championships.
Bonus points piled up for the visitors from the opening bout. Five of Ohio State's nine wins came with bonus attached, highlighted by Micah Jordan's first-period pin of Parker Filius at 149 pounds. Four Buckeyes recorded major decisions in the rout.
The night was nearly a shutout. Malik Heinselman opened the meet with a 16-5 major decision and his teammates kept the momentum going through the first six matches. At 174 pounds, Ethan Smith wrestled a strong match against No. 12 Dylan Lydy and came up short in a 5-3 decision.
Smith is shaping up to be a strong addition to the Buckeye roster, showing quickness on his feet and a drive to score. Lydy was up to the occasion however, and his second-period takedown was the difference in the match.
From there on out, it was all chalk.
Myles Martin steamrolled an unranked Max Lyon as expected, Kollin Moore was a point shy of a bonus-point victory over No. 9 Christian Brunner, and Chase Singletary was the dominant heavyweight in Holloway Gymnasium.
Almost everything went as expected, and Ohio State returns to Columbus with another notch in its belt. The Buckeyes host No. 6 Nebraska in the final home dual of the season Sunday afternoon.
|125||Malik Heinselman, major decision over Marshall Craig V (16-5)||4||0|
|133||No. 6 Luke Pletcher, decision over No. 16 Ben Thornton (2-1)||7||0|
|141||No. 3 Joey McKenna, major decision over Nate Limmex (12-1)||11||0|
|149||No. 3 Micah Jordan, victory by FALL over Parker Filius (1:51)||17||0|
|157||No. 8 Ke-Shawn Hayes, decision over No. 11 Griffin Parriott (5-1)||20||0|
|165||Kaleb Romero, major decision over Cole Wysocki (12-4)||24||0|
|174||No. 12 Dylan Lydy, decision over No. 18 Ethan Smith (5-3)||24||3|
|184||No. 1 Myles Martin, major decision over Max Lyon (20-7)||28||3|
|197||No. 2 Kollin Moore, decision over No. 9 Christian Brunner (12-5)||31||3|
|HWT||No. 18 Chase Singletary, decision over Jacob Aven (10-5)||34||3|
Of the six Buckeyes on the wrong side of the ledger last Sunday versus Penn State, all but one got back in the win column in West Lafayette. (Te'Shan Campbell lost the 165-pound bout vs. Penn State, but Kaleb Romero got the nod at Purdue.)
Joey McKenna had an impressive outing at 141 pounds. The senior captain gave up a single escape in the match after racing out to a 7-0 lead with more than four minutes of riding time. He would finish the major having controlled his opponent for more than five minutes in total.
Ke-Shawn Hayes was one of three Buckeyes to record wins over ranked opponents at Purdue. His 5-1 decision over No. 11 Griffin Parriott marked his fifth win over a Top-20 opponent this season.
Hayes is 0-4 against guys in the Top 5, but it is clear that he has wrestled the toughest schedule of anyone on the team:
10 of his last 12 matches have pitted him against top-20 foes.— Ohio State Wrestling (@wrestlingbucks) February 16, 2019
Two stretches of five straight bookmarked around two unranked opponents. https://t.co/374dtHxvfI
It's been quite the gauntlet for the redshirt junior after moving up to 157, and it's far from over: he faces No. 2 Tyler Berger Sunday afternoon in St. John Arena.
The biggest win of the night came at 197 pounds, as Kollin Moore looked to wash off last week's loss to Hodge-Trophy favorite Bo Nickal. Moore upended No. 9 Christian Brunner for the second time this season in a 12-5 romp; he is now 4-1 over ranked opponents this season.
Micah Jordan, who hasn't lost a match since the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational way back in November, had the best win of the night in terms of team points. He pinned Parker Filius at the 1:51 mark and now has five wins by fall this season, along with four tech falls and five major decisions. With 26 career falls to his credit, he is a pair of pins shy of cracking the Top 10 in school history.
At the other end of the spectrum, Luke Pletcher ground out another low-scoring decision without scoring a takedown. He defeated No. 16 Ben Thornton 2-1 when the latter was penalized for a hands to the face infraction in the final period.
The season has been a tale of two halves for Pletcher, who opened the year with a spate of bonus point victories in stark contrast to his MO from the previous season. He hasn't garnered anything beyond a decision since November, however, and has scored 5 points or less in six of eight Big Ten bouts.
The Young Bucks
Heinselman paced the first-year starters with his major decision, and Smith could easily have ended up with the win in a hard-fought match at 174.
Joining Heinselman in the win column were Kaleb Romero at 165 and Singletary at heavyweight.
It's clear that the coaching staff is still searching for answers at 165, alternating between Romero and Te'Shan Campbell. Campbell drew the short straw last week vs. Vincenzo Joseph, while Romero got the nod in West Lafayette.
Given his inclusion in the program's social media messages celebrating the team's seniors this week, it seems likely Campbell will take the mat Sunday at home vs. Nebraska. If so, he'll take another swing at No. 6 Isaiah White, an opponent he's faced thrice before and defeated just once.
The senior and former ACC Champ started the year competing for the 174-pound spot, but was unseated by Smith. Campbell appears to be handling the cut back to 165 well enough, but continues to fall short of expectations with regard to his attack rate.
His willingness to shoot more frequently may give Romero the edge down the stretch. He was ranked No. 32 in the NCAA Coaches Panel rankings this week, one of the criteria used in determining qualifications and seeding for the NCAA Championships.
Singletary was the aggressor in the final match of the night Friday, shooting early and often and more importantly finishing his takedowns against a game opponent. The redshirt freshman would ideally be a little heavier heading into the postseason, but he showed strength and drive in a good win on the road. He'll have a good test Sunday afternoon in David Jensen, the No. 7 heavyweight in the class.
The Road Ahead
Ohio State hosts its final home dual of the season Sunday at 2 p.m. as the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers invade St. John Arena. Seven Cornhuskers are ranked among the Top 20 in the country, and they'll serve as a strong opponent in the penultimate dual of the year.
The Buckeyes travel to Ithaca the following week to face Cornell, with the Big Ten Tournament now just 20 days away and the NCAA Championships barely a month out.