Wrestling: No. 4 Ohio State Grinds Out 18-13 Win Versus No. 14 Virginia Tech in Season Opener

By Andy Vance on November 11, 2022 at 10:34 pm
Paddy Gallagher

The last time Virginia Tech came to Columbus to wrestle in Covelli Center, they upset the home team. That didn't happen this time.

Despite fielding a set of ranked combatants who came to Columbus ready to upend the No. 4 Buckeyes, the No. 14 Hokies couldn't get the job done. Ohio State won 6 of 10 bouts on the card, earning the 18-13 win via a series of close, hard-fought decisions.

The night got off to a rocky start at 149 pounds as No. 27 Caleb Henson pulled off a massive upset of No. 2 Sammy Sasso. The veteran Sasso scored early in the match and held a 3-0 lead after two periods, but Henson was able to force overtime with a late takedown and a rideout, ultimately winning the bout with another takedown in Sudden Victory.

Henson's victory sparked a strong performance from unranked Clayton Ulrey in the next bout against No. 22 Paddy Gallagher at 157. Ulrey had all the offense early, scoring a pair of takedowns in quick succession and adding a third early in the second; escapes and a reversal kept Gallagher in the match midway through the battle. 

Gallagher landed the move of the night when he scored a takedown and a 4-point near fall that was the nearest thing to a fall anyone managed all night. The back points broke the match open, and Gallagher would cruise to victory, providing a glimpse of the greatness Ohio State fans home to see from the young hammer.

No. 6 Carson Kharchla was in control most of his match but let No. 29 Connor Brady hang around, ultimately earning a 3-1 decision at 165. The same could be said of No. 4 Kaleb Romero's bout at 184 in which he was the clear aggressor over No. 9 Hunter Bolen, but couldn't put the match away until the final whistle. Romero scored very early in the match, but couldn't finish another takedown, holding Bolen off with a 4-2 decision.

Between Kharchla's and Romero’s matches, No. 6 Ethan Smith came a hair's breadth from upsetting No. 2 Mekhi Lewis. Smith wrestled an excellent match, but a single Lewis takedown in the first period made the difference in the final score.

Gavin Hoffman, Tate Orndorff and Malik Heinselman each won low-scoring decisions to effectively seal the victory for Ohio State heading into the final two matches of the night.

At 133, reigning NCAA and Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Jesse Mendez squared up against No. 19 Sam Latona, the 2021 ACC Champion and an NCAA All American. Mendez wrestled an aggressive match early with lots of action, but gave up a takedown to Latona in the second that decided the match. It was Mendez' first collegiate loss, but one from which he can learn and improve in the weeks ahead.

The night's final match featured another true freshman, Nic Bouzakis. Unlike Mendez, Bouzakis is expected to take a redshirt season, but used one of his NCAA-allowed five matches to fill in for Dylan D'Emilo/Jordan Decatur, both of whom were banged up at the Michigan State Open last weekend.

Bouzakis looked game early, despite having moved up a weight class from 133 to 141. He drew first blood in the match with an early takedown, and added on a reversal later in the period. From there, though, it was all Virginia Tech's Tom Crook. Crook would ultimately score 14 points in the match, with enough fo a cushion to earn the only bonus points of the night. It made no difference in the outcome of the dual, but was undoubtedly a disappointing result for the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022.

No. 4 Ohio State is back at the Covelli Center Nov. 18 vs. Columbia. Match time is 7 p.m. with B1G+ providing the live stream.

Ohio State 18, Virginia Tech 13
Wt Result OSU VT
149 No. 27 Caleb Henson, decision over No. 2 Sammy Sasso (5-3, SV1) 0 3
157 No. 22 Paddy Gallagher, decision over Clayton Ulrey (14-8) 3 3
165 No. 6 Carson Kharchla, decision over No. 29 Connor Brady (3-1) 6 3
174 No. 2 Mekhi Lewis, decision over No. 6 Ethan Smith (3-2) 6 6
184 No. 4 Kaleb Romero, decision over No. 9 Hunter Bolen (4-2) 9 6
197 No. 14 Gavin Hoffman, decision over Andy Smith (4-1) 12 6
285 No. 7 Tate Orndorff, decision over No. 18 Hunter Catka (3-1) 15 6
125 No. 11 Malik Heinselman, decision over No. 25 Eddie Ventresca (3-2) 18 6
133 No. 19 Sam Latona, decision over No. 11 Jesse Mendez (3-2) 18 9
141 No. 16 Tom Crook, major decision over Nic Bouzakis (14-6) 18 13


View 18 Comments