Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan took a lengthy pause before describing how he felt about the sixth-ranked Buckeyes’ opening round exit against No. 5 Missouri at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals over the weekend.
“It was embarrassing,” he said. “That’s how I’d put it. It was an embarrassment across the board, at every weight class.”
OSU, which suffered a 28-6 beating from the Tigers, was only able to collect two wins from redshirt sophomore Logan Stieber and his brother, sophomore Hunter Stieber, at 133 and 141 pounds respectively.
“They matched up with us pretty well,” Hunter Stieber said. “Most of the matches we lost were in a couple points of each other and one wrong move kind of changed the match and kind of out-gritted us in a lot of those positions.”
The Buckeyes started the match off in a hole, quickly going down 6-0 after 125-pound senior Nikko Triggas was pinned by No. 1-ranked junior Alan Waters in 3:52. Consecutive wins by the undefeated Stieber brothers evened the score at six, but everything fell apart after that.
Missouri would go on to win the final seven bouts.
Despite the Tigers’ landslide victory, many of the matches were won by a narrow margin. Sophomore Cam Tessari lost a close 4-2 decision to No. 11-ranked sophomore Drake Houdashelt at 149 pounds.
In the next match, redshirt sophomore Josh Demas at 157 pounds had a 2-1 lead with 27 seconds left before No. 15 junior Kyle Bradley was able to tie the score with an escape in the final seconds of regulation and force overtime. He would go on to best Demas in sudden victory with a 4-2 win.
The next two matches were decided by a single point each as OSU freshman Mark Martin fell to No. 15 junior Zach Toal 1-0 in the 165-pound weight class, and redshirt junior Nick Heflin suffered a 4-3 defeat to No. 8-ranked senior Todd Porter at 174 pounds.
Redshirt senior C.J. Magrum and sophomore Andrew Campolattano followed with back-to-back 5-0 losses at 184 and 197 pounds. Missouri senior and No. 3-ranked Dom Bradley dominated the final match en route to a 12-4 victory against redshirt sophomore Kosta Karageorge, who was filling in for injured redshirt junior Peter Capone.
“We just never got rolling off the beginning,” said 141-pound redshirt junior Ian Paddock. “When it rain it pours. No one really stepped up and we lost all the close positions in every match. All of that adds up. That’s why we lost.”
Ryan said a major concern for his team going forward is its discipline on and off the mats, yet he feels that they can correct it in time for the Big Ten Championships.
“We’re much better than we showed,” he said. “A week ago, we wrestled the No. 1 team in the country into six wins to four. We’re still optimistic. Hopefully the sting is bad enough of doing things the wrong way that we start doing things the right way. But it’s inexcusable to wrestle that way this time of the year.”
But in order to become the Big Ten champions, Ryan said his team has to start thinking of themselves as a unit, not as individuals.
“We have to be a team, care about each other,” he said. “When you want to shove something in your face, think about somebody other than yourself. When you want to stay up late, think about somebody other than yourself. When you want to be lazy in practice and not push yourself, think about somebody other than yourself. We have to be a team. We need that ‘Why?’ factor. Why are we doing this? That has to come into play, and right now the ‘Why?’ factor is in question for me with some people.”
OSU will have a chance to bounce back when it travels to Champaign, Ill., for the 2013 Big Ten Championships March 9-10.