The No. 10 Ohio State wrestling team knew they would have to wrestle above their years in order to beat an older and more experienced No. 15 Virginia Tech team.
With three matches decided in the final 10 seconds of play, the team did just that in beating the Hokies, 21-12, in front of 2,474 fans in St. John Arena Sunday.
“I think they grew up a lot,” coach Tom Ryan said of his team. “It is an exciting group.”
The match started in the 174-weight class with No. 4 redshirt sophomore Nick Heflin earning a victory by decision 6-2 to give the Buckeyes an early three point lead.
Redshirt junior C.J. Magrum, the most experienced wrestler for OSU, followed that match up at 184 pounds with a 12-6 decision victory.
One of the most exciting matchups of the meet was No. 14 freshman Andrew Campolattano against redshirt sophomore Nick Vetterlein.
Campolattano held a 3-1 advantage heading into the final period. After a Vetterlein escape, the lead was down to 3-2.
“Andrew … is not used to being in matches like that,” Ryan said. “He made a positioning mistake with 10 seconds to go.”
With just two seconds remaining in the match, Vetterlein earned a takedown on Campolattano for a 4-3 victory to tighten the meet to 6-3 Ohio State.
With the heavyweight matchup, the Buckeyes took a decisive lead in the meet as redshirt sophomore Peter Capone defeated No. 17 redshirt senior David Marone by injury default.
Capone was in a position behind Marone and buckled Marone’s right knee in a takedown attempt. Marone fell to the mat crying out in pain and after two injury timeouts, the match was declared over.
“It is a legal move, but it’s terribly unfortunate,” Ryan said. “This early in the year, he’s a good heavyweight and it certainly impacted the match. Hopefully it’s not bad.”
With a 12-6 lead, the Buckeyes never looked back. Freshmen No. 16 Cam Tessari and No. 15 Hunter Stieber each earned decision victories back-to-back on takedowns with less than 10 seconds left. After both victories, Ryan ran around the bench in excitement pumping his fist.
“It felt great,” Tessari said. “I felt like I was kind of being the aggressor the whole match and it wasn’t going my way. I knew if I kept it up the whole match it would happen for me.”
Stieber said that despite the win, the team’s performance was “average” and did not wrestle as well as they could have.
“We wrestled good period, but we didn’t wrestle good matches,” Stieber said. “And that’s what we got to do to win.”
Stieber’s older brother, No. 4 redshirt freshman Logan Stieber, won his highly anticipated match against No. 5 sophomore Devin Carter 6-1 to improve his record to 8-0.
No matches were won by more than six points and each match except one, Capone’s injury default victory, was won by decision.
“Normally they are up by twelve … they’ve won so much,” Ryan said of his young team. “The matches we won late were because we attacked and the matches that we lost late were because we didn’t attack. You gotta keep attacking.”
The Buckeyes (4-0) will be back in action Dec. 2 and 3 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.