Jesse Mendez Named NCAA Wrestler of the Week After Winning Michigan State Open Tournament Championship

By Andy Vance on November 7, 2022 at 4:17 pm
Jesse Mendez
Ohio State University Athletics

Freshman Jesse Mendez was named NCAA Wrestler of the Week on Monday after running through the 133-pound field in the Michigan State Open tournament over the weekend.

As a team, the Buckeyes won eight titles in the first action of the season and had three second-place finishes.

Mendez had no trouble with his first two opponents, winning by tech fall over Wilfried Tanefeu of Michigan in the opening bout and then pinning Cleveland State's Cody Moosman midway through the second period. In the semifinal, Mendez won by decision over Haiden Drury of Utah Valley, 5-0.

In the championship match against All-American Lucas Byrd of Illinois, neither wrestler was able to score in the opening period. Byrd escaped to start the second for a 1-0 advantage heading into the third, but Mendez evened the score with an escape late in the third and then secured the 3-2 victory by decision with a takedown. 

Mendez was the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022 and came to Columbus rather than committing to other blue-chip Big Ten programs, including Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan. 

"They're building something special, and they're building a dynasty," Mendez told FloWrestling when explaining his commitment last November. "It was a close decision, but it was Ohio State for the most part...This might be the best recruiting class ever, and I wanted to be a part of it."

Calling it the best recruiting class ever isn't entirely hyperbole. In addition to Mendez, the class includes Nic Bouzakis, the No. 2 recruit in the class according to FloWrestling, Nick Feldman, the No. 3 recruit in the class and in-state standout Seth Shumate. 

Bouzakis had an excellent tournament in East Lansing, winning the 133-pound title in the freshman division. He pinned Koal Brower of Illinois at 1:18 of the championship match; Bouzakis won by fall in three of four matches on the day and beat the other by a major decision (12-1).

Ohio State opens its dual-meet season at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 15 Virginia Tech at the Covelli Center.

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