Greetings and once again welcome to the Thursday Morning Hive. With football news slowing to a snail’s pace, and basketball already being extremely well-covered on this site, I’m going to use this week’s column to spotlight my favorite non-revenue sport – wrestling. If you haven’t been following this year’s Buckeye squad, you’re missing out. The dual-meet schedule is done, but the Big 10 tournament is just around the corner. It will be broadcast on the BTN, so be sure to check it out.
Buckeyes Make Strong Showing at National Duals
Last weekend the #6-ranked Ohio State Wrestling team ended its 2012 dual meet season with a 2-1 showing in the regional round of the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater Oklahoma. The Buckeyes opened the tournament against the Boise State Broncos. A pair of wins by Logan Stieber (4-0 over Boise’s Brian Owen) and Hunter Stieber (13-4 over Shawn Jones) helped propel the wrestling Bucks to a 26-9 opening round. The victory advanced the Buckeyes to the regional finals where the #2-seed Nebraska Cornhuskers were waiting.
The Huskers, ranked eighth in the nation, already held one victory over Ohio State—an 18-16 squeaker in early January—and they were eager to pull off the clean sweep. Ohio State jumped out to an early lead, earning bonus-point wins in three of its first four matches (in wrestling bonus points are awarded for pins, technical falls, and major decisions). At one point the Buckeyes held a seemingly insurmountable 18-0 lead. However, the Huskers weren’t willing to yield just yet. Nebraska battled back, earning four consecutive decisions in the 157-, 165-, 174-, and 184-pound weight classes. In fact, the Huskers closed with wins in five of the final six matches. 197-pounder Andrew Campolattano’s 4-3 decision over Nebraska’s Spencer Johnson was the only upper-weight victory for the Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Nebraska, its surge proved to be too little, too late. Each team finished with five victories, but the Buckeyes earned more bonus points, resulting in a 21-18 final and a trip to the Regional finals.
Individual match results were as follows:
No. 6 Ohio State 21, No. 8 Nebraska 18
125 – No. 16 Johnni Dijulius (Ohio State) TECH FALL Shawn Nagel (Nebraska), 20-5
133 – No. 3 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) MAJ DEC No. 18 Ridge Kiley (Nebraska), 16-3
141 – No. 5 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) DEC No. 9 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska), 8-7
149 – No. 15 Cam Tessari (Ohio State) PINNED Brandon Wilbourn (Nebraska), 4:33
157 – No. 7 James Green (Nebraska) DEC No. 20 Josh Demas (Ohio State), 5-3
165 – No. 6 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) DEC Derek Garcia (Ohio State), 7-2
174 – No. 20 Tyler Koehn (Nebraska) DEC No. 7 Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 3-1
184 – No. 8 Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) DEC No. 11 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State), 5-0
197 – No. 20 Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State) DEC Spencer Johnson (Nebraska), 4-3
HWT – No. 9 Tucker Lane (Nebraska) PINNED Peter Capone (Ohio State), 2:02
Waiting for the Buckeyes in the final was the home team—the Oklahoma State Cowboys. For the uninitiated, aside from Iowa, no team in the country has a more storied wrestling program than Oklahoma State. This year, Coach John Smith has the Cowboys ranked #1 in the nation, and they certainly looked the part against the Buckeyes. OkSt’s John Morrison scored a dramatic last-second victory over Ohio State’s Johnni DiJulius and the Cowboys just built on the momentum from there. By the time the last whistle was blown, the score was 25-6 and the Buckeyes dual-meet season was over. Winning matches for the Buckeyes were Hunter Stieber and Nick Heflin.
Individual Results were as follows:
Finals Results — Oklahoma State 25, Ohio State 6
125: Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State) dec. Johnni Dijulius (Ohio State), 3-1
133: Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) dec. Logan Stieber (Ohio State), 7-3
141: Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State), 7-6
149: Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) dec. Cam Tessari (Ohio State), 3-2
157: Josh Demas (Ohio State) dec. Albert White (Oklahoma State), 3-2
165: Dallas Bailey (Oklahoma State) dec. Derek Garcia (Ohio State), 7-4
174: Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Joe Grandomico (Ohio State), 11-1
184: Chris McNeil (Oklahoma State) dec. Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 3-2
197: Cayle Byers (Oklahoma State) dec. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), 3-1
Hwt: Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State) dec. Peter Capone (Ohio State), 6-2
While the loss to Oklahoma State was certainly disappointing, the wrestling Buckeyes accomplished plenty during the 2012 regular season. Despite being loaded with youth, the team won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and posted a 13-4 record in dual meets, with its only losses coming to teams ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 13-4 record includes a 10-1 mark in matches held either at home or at a neutral site (the loss to #1 OkSt. Is the only blemish).
Also, as of Feb 13, the Buckeyes had eight wrestlers ranked in the top 25 nationally. They include:
125 – No. 16 Johnni Dijulius
133 – No. 3 Logan Stieber
141 – No. 5 Hunter Stieber
149 – No. 15 Cam Tessari
157 – No. 20 Josh Demas
174 – No. 7 Nick Heflin
184 – No. 11 C.J. Magrum
197 – No. 20 Andrew Campolattano
While all of these accomplishments and accolades are nice, as any wrestler on the team would no-doubt tell you, the real season starts on March 3rd. That’s when the Big 10 tournament kicks off in West Lafeyette, Ind. The tournament will be one of the toughest in the country—The Big 10 has six teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, and 8 in the top 25. While it certainly can’t be labeled any kind of favorite, this Buckeye squad is a good tournament team and will have a legitimate shot at grabbing the Big 10 crown. Win, lose, or draw, the Big 10 tournament will give us a good idea of exactly where this team stands heading into the NCAA tournament.
A Few for the Road
Since I uncharacteristically spent almost the entirety of this post babbling on about one thing, I’m going to give you a few quick links here at the end. TCUh-oh – guys, just because you join a big-time conference, doesn’t mean that you need a big-time scandal. Brandon Casteel over at the Ozone had a chance to sit down with OSU strength coach Mickey Marotti and talk motivation. Finally, a kudos to Tennessee’s Derek Dooley for taking the controversial stand that cutting players is what’s best for them.