In front of a roaring crowd at St. John Arena, the Ohio State wrestling team dominated the Virginia Cavaliers in its home opener Friday night.
The Buckeyes — fired up as four new banners commemorating their 2014-15 national championship were unveiled — overpowered the Cavaliers 34-6.
Redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello, who was featured in one of the newly unraveled banners, set the tone early with a 14-6 major decision over Nick Herrmann.
Victorious in the first five matches and leading 20-0, OSU’s youth shined.
Contributing six points, redshirt freshman Cody Burcher — who is making the most of his time in the lineup filling in for the injured Hunter Stieber — pinned redshirt sophomore TJ Miller in four minutes and six seconds.
“I was super nervous walking out on the mat (for) the first time,” Burcher said. “I was just trying to get my cradle the whole time, but (Miller) was getting out. But whenever I got that crossface, I felt his back bend and felt it was over.”
Redshirt freshmen Micah Jordan and Jake Ryan impressed, as well.
Jordan dominated the opposition in a 14-5 major decision, and Ryan unseated No. 19 Andrew Atkinson with a buzzer-beating takedown.
“In the third period, I went down and, (Atkinson), maybe had 50 seconds of riding time,” Ryan said. “I heard the crowd going nuts, so I hit a switch and finally got out, and it turned out well.”
The crowd was electric, and the Scarlet and Gray continued to feed off them.
“We like it raucous,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “People need to know that this is a very challenging, physical sport and it helps when you scream and yell. There’s no question it has an impact on the athlete.”
In the most invigorating match of the night, redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius — ranked No. 5 at 133 pounds — edged No. 10 George DiCamillo, 8-7, for his third victory over DiCamillo in the past year.
Trailing most of the match, DiJulius answered late in the third period with six consecutive points and enjoyed his fifth win of the year.
The night was filled with thrilling victories and, consequently, Bo Jordan’s outing against Fox Baldwin nearly went unnoticed.
The top-ranked 174-pound redshirt sophomore defeated the extraordinary freshman handedly, 17-2, in a tech fall.
Like Jordan, OSU has remained in championship form early on in the season.
“It was just great to get back on the mat,” Tom Ryan said. “The preseason was long and grueling. It’s just nice to get back into the competition and learn about our guys and how they compete.”
In front of a crowd of more than 2,000, his team put forth a strong showing.
The Buckeyes are next set to head to East Lansing, Michigan for the Michigan State Open on Sunday, where 31 teams, including eight from the Big Ten, are scheduled to be in attendance.