Ohio State Finishes As NCAA Wrestling Championship Runners-up for the Third Year In a Row

By Andy Vance on March 23, 2019 at 7:14 pm
Hoist the Trophy

Ohio State outhorsed every team in the country save one, opening the year as the preseason No. 2 team and finishing as national runners-up at the NCAA tournament.

The Buckeyes truly clinched the runner-up finish after the 3rd Place matches Saturday afternoon, but it became mathematically impossible for the third-place Oklahoma State Cowboys to catch the Buckeyes in the points race after Penn State's Anthony Cassar defeated Derek White in the first championship match of the night.

TEAM RACE: Final Scores
  Team Points
1 PENN STATE 137.5
4 IOWA 76

Penn State won the program's eighth NCAA Wrestling team title in the past nine years in impressive fashion, advancing five men to the championship round and winning three individual titles. Four of the sport's top five teams hail from the Big Ten Conference.

Tom Ryan's teams have been nothing short of fantastic over the past five years, going 3rd, 2nd, 2nd and 2nd since winning the school's first NCAA Wrestling Championship in 2015. The Penn State Nittany Lions are the class of the sport, but Ryan's Buckeyes are the only team to challenge Cael Sanderson's dynasty over the past decade.

The 2018-2019 season came on the heels of Ohio State coming one match away from a second national title on home soil in Cleveland with a trio of four-time All Americans on the roster, and pundits can be forgiven for thinking it might be a rebuilding year for the Buckeyes. Not so, as the team finished the season with five All Americans and three NCAA finalists, putting a sizeable gap between the 2nd and 3rd place teams on the leaderboard.

Joey McKenna, Micah Jordan and Kollin Moore each earned a spot in the tournament's final round, while Myles Martin became the program's seventh four-time All American and Luke Pletcher finished in 4th place at the tournament for the second year in a row.

The quintet took Ohio State's tally of All America placers to 110 all-time; of those, 53 have come in the Tom Ryan era.

Last season the team race wasn't decided until the 184-pound match in the championship round, when Bo Nickal clinched the win with his victory over Martin. This year Penn State won the crown during the placement matches, having mathematically eliminated the Buckeyes with seven All Americans – including five finalists.

Ohio State actually put more men into the finals this year with McKenna, Jordan and Moore than the team advanced in Cleveland, when Martin and Kyle Snyder wrestled for top billing. A disastrous semifinal round a year ago doomed the team's chances – this year the team needed more points from the four guys who didn't make it to the Blood Round, or to sweep those Blood Round matches for more placement points.

In either case, it is a moot point and Buckeye fans should focus less on the astounding success of Penn State and more on the incredible success Ohio State has enjoyed in its own right, and how it has outpaced traditional powers like Iowa and Oklahoma State over the past decade.

With the program's move this offseason into the Jennings Wrestling Facility and Covelli Arena, and with a batch of Top-50 recruits joining the program, Ohio State's future is as bright as ever.

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