Ohio State took a road trip to the Finger Lakes region of New York for its final dual meet of the regular season and won in a rout of No. 7 Cornell, 25-9. Seven Buckeyes won their matches, including redshirt freshmen Ethan Smith and Chase Singletary in battles with ranked opponents.
Although Ohio State raced out to a 25-0 lead after the first seven bouts of the night, the dual ended on a flat note for the Buckeyes as the home team won the final trio of matches, including the night's marquee battle between No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis and No. 3 Joey McKenna at 141 pounds. The defending NCAA champion stayed perfect on the season, outlasting McKenna in a 7-5 decision.
Diakomihalis scored first and would hold the lead throughout the match despite McKenna's best efforts. At one point, McKenna appeared to be in on a single, but Diakomihalis defended well and ended up landing a trip of his own for two more points. The Buckeye kept it close, but couldn't finish a takedown to tie the score before time expired.
Ohio State won every match it was favored to win save one: No. 6 Luke Pletcher dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 11 Chas Tucker in a match in which neither man recorded a takedown, a theme Buckeye fans have grown uncomfortably familiar with in the latter half of this season. Pletcher told reporters Thursday that he had been in what felt like the longest "slump" of his career through a string of low-scoring decisions, but thought he had broken through with a major decision versus Nebraska last week.
Friday's match in Ithaca looked nothing like that offensive explosion, however, with the score tied at an escape apiece at the end of regulation. Neither man scored in sudden victory, sending the match to rideouts. Both sides threw their challenge bricks in the first 30-second tiebreaker period, and both challenges went in favor of Cornell; Tucker was able to ride Pletcher for the entire :30 period, and was able to escape for the go-ahead point midway through TB-2.
It wasn't until the eighth match of the night that the home team got on the scoreboard at all, as Ohio State steamrolled its hosts from the opening bout. Micah Jordan added another tech fall to his record, Ke-Shawn Hayes got a major decision and Te'Shan Campbell won his 10th match of the season, putting the Buckeyes up by a dozen after the first three matches.
Next up was Ethan Smith, the redshirt freshman who wrested the 174-pound spot away from Campbell midway through the year. Smith faced his eighth ranked opponent of the year, and came away with his fourth victory; he continues to get better week after week.
Myles Martin did what Myles Martin does: make top-10 opponents look like mere mortals. No. 6 Max Dean is a solid wrestler, and showed no fear in the face of the clear No. 1 in the 184-pound class, but Martin simply outpaced and overpowered him. Martin took Dean to the mat seemingly at will, and tacked on a gorgeous reversal in the second period for good measure.
Martin finished the regular season undefeated. He was one of just 13 Division I wrestlers who remained perfect going into the final weekend of the regular season.
Kollin Moore had no trouble with No. 8 Ben Honis, reinforcing the idea that 197 pounds is Bo Nickal, Kollin Moore and then everyone else. Moore said last week that his biggest challenge last season was maintaining mental toughness, and if he can maintain the pace he's set throughout the dual-meet schedule, he should have an outstanding postseason.
In the final Buckeye victory of the night, Chase Singletary showed that he is shaping up to be a closer. For the second week in a row the heavyweight sealed the win in the final minute of the final period, in both cases over ranked opponents.
His gritty determination to win the third last week vaulted him to the No. 11 spot, and he now has four victories over top-20 opponents, including a two-match winning streak over ranked foes.
|149||No. 3 Micah Jordan, victory by TECH FALL over Will Koll (23-8)||5||0|
|157||No. 8 Ke-Shawn Hayes, major decision over Adam Santoro (14-5)||9||0|
|165||Te'Shan Campbell, decision over Andrew Berreyesa (8-2)||12||0|
|174||No. 17 Ethan Smith, decision over No. 14 Brandon Womack (5-4)||15||0|
|184||No. 1 Myles Martin, decision over No. 6 Max Dean (13-6)||18||0|
|197||No. 2 Kollin Moore, major decision over No. 8 Ben Honis (14-4)||22||0|
|HWT||No. 11 Chase Singletary, decision over No. 18 Jeramy Sweany (6-5)||25||0|
|125||No. 8 Vito Arujau, decision over Malik Heinselman (6-0)||25||3|
|133||No. 11 Chas Tucker, decision over No. 6 Luke Pletcher (2-1, TB-2)||25||6|
|141||No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis, decision over No. 3 Joey McKenna (7-5)||25||9|
Cornell's first win of the night came at 125 pounds, as No. 8 Vito Arujau made the case that he is one of the more underrated wrestlers in Division I this season. He picked up a 6-0 victory over Malik Heinselman in a bout in which both lightweights scrambled and scrabbled for a full seven minutes.
Heinselman has had a tough go of things after burning his redshirt, but it's clear he's going to be a good one for the Buckeyes. As Tom Ryan told the press Thursday, the true freshman is in essence a 113-pounder wrestling up a class, and he believes that as the young Buck grows into his frame and adds some more strength, he'll be a formidable competitor.
With the win, Ohio State finished the dual-meet season with a 12-2 record. The team comes back to Columbus with two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships, which will be held in Minneapolis on March 9-10.