The Ohio State wrestling team clinched a share of the Big Ten Tournament Championship for the first time since 1951 on Sunday. The 64-year drought ended when the Buckeyes and Iowa Hawkeyes finished with 120 points apiece.
The Buckeyes found themselves in a battle with Iowa after being ahead 102.5-101 going into Sunday. Things stayed fairly even throughout as the lead changed a total of four times. When OSU needed a win the most, however, it wasn’t a Buckeye earning it.
Mike McMullan, a senior heavyweight from Northwestern, defeated Iowa senior Bobby Telford in the final match of the tournament to secure the tie for the host Buckeyes.
OSU redshirt-senior Logan Stieber won his fourth individual Big Ten Title, becoming the 14th ever to do so. A 16-1 second period technical fall over Iowa senior Josh Dziewa gave the Buckeyes their final win of the tournament and an extra 1.5 points that ultimately gave the team a chance to be co-champions.
“I couldn’t have written it any better than this for the Big Ten’s,” Stieber said. “It felt good. I got on a roll tonight and kept racking up points and that was fun.”
The 141-pounder said he was excited to pick up his fourth Big Ten crown in front of a home crowd.
“The crowd was amazing, to win it all in front of them was a dream come true,” Stieber said.
Stieber was named the Big Ten Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year, as well as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships. He will now look to win his fourth NCAA Title, a feat that has been accomplished just three times before.
OSU coach Tom Ryan, who was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year, had been talking about ending the long streak without a conference title to his team for weeks. He said he’s now ready to change the code to the locker room, which is the year in which the last title was achieved in 1951.
“I can’t wait to change that code,” Ryan said. “It’s been too long and this team deserves this.”
Ryan said the Buckeyes now have something to be excited about as a team after fighting through injuries and the death of teammate Kosta Karageorge.
“This team has been through a lot of adversity, injuries, losing a teammate,” Ryan said. “It was the cohesiveness, an attitude, we said we are going to get it done, we are going to find a way, and that really carried us through the second day of competition.”
Redshirt-freshman Nathan Tomasello, a co-captain for the Buckeyes, won the title at 125 pounds and had to defeat the No. 2 and No. 1 seeds in his weight class.
Tomasello defeated the returning Big Ten and National Champion, senior Jesse Delgado of Illinois, in the semifinals on Saturday night before topping Iowa senior Thomas Gilman in the finals.
“Being here as a freshman and the third-seeded guy, I had a lot of people who doubted me, but I wanted to take it one match at a time,” Tomasello said. “Being confident in my ability and knowing I that I can beat anyone in the country really pushed me through.”
Tomasello said the team can use its momentum from the conference tournament heading into the NCAA Championships.
“As a team, we need to build on this and keep the ball rolling in a week in (and) a half at nationals,” he said.
This is third conference title overall for OSU, and was just the sixth tie in conference history, the first since 1932. The other two championship victories came in 1923 and 1951.
“It’s been a long 64-year drought and I’m glad it’s over,” Ryan said. “It feels good to be a part of it. Now let’s go get a national championship.”