After pulling out a huge win against Nebraska, the Ohio State wrestling team will travel to Walsh Jesuit High School near Cleveland to face the Michigan State Spartans.
Michigan State (0-10, 0-5) is having a tough season near the midway point of conference bouts, and they will be looking to bounce back in a big way against No. 9 OSU (6-2, 3-1).
The matchup will be the fifth Big Ten meet for OSU and the sixth for the Spartans this season.
The Buckeyes have won each of the last seven times against Michigan State.
Although Michigan State is facing a down year, the Scarlet and Gray are not expecting to lose focus on the task at hand.
“It’s time to start dominating,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “It’s time to start really scoring points and looking like a team that just can’t wait to wrestle every time they’re out there.”
OSU has only reached a total of 30 or more team points once so far, something the unit did four times last year at this part of the season.
Ryan is hoping to see more from his team in terms of intensity and fighting through whatever comes at his athletes.
“There’s going to be a discomfort that’s going to happen during a wrestling match, and you better get used to it,” Ryan said. “We need to see more guys functioning at a high level when they feel that way.”
The return of sophomore Kyle Snyder last week sparked the team last week against Nebraska and ultimately gave the Buckeyes a win.
Snyder will not be in the lineup for Sunday’s matchup, but he is confident in the capability of the team.
“I expect Ohio State to compete hard and win a lot of matches,” Snyder said.
After winning the national championship last year but seeming a bit sluggish to start this season, the OSU team will look for a dominant performance against the Spartans.
Multiple members of the Buckeyes hail from the northern region of Ohio near Walsh Jesuit High School.
One member of the team, redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius, graduated from the school in 2011.
“It’s a great honor for Johnni,” Ryan said. “When he signed here, we said we would find a way to get back to his high school.”
Ryan and the rest of the Buckeyes see the travel as the fulfillment of a promise made to DiJulius when he was a freshman.
Snyder said he feels his teammate will be wrestling with a little more intensity due to the homecoming.
“It’s at his high school, so I expect him to be on fire,” Snyder said.
In all, there are eight wrestlers who come from the Cleveland area, including redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello from Parma, Ohio, and senior Mark Martin from Strongsville, Ohio.
Ryan noted how much he enjoys being able to venture to different parts of the state for home meets.
“This has been a good event for the program each year,” Ryan said.
Returns of Jordan and Stieber
Last week, there were surprise scratches from the projected lineup.
Both redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan and redshirt senior Hunter Stieber did not compete in their regularly scheduled matches.
Jordan sustained a pulled muscle and missed valuable training time, while Stieber came down with the flu just days before facing off with Nebraska.
Both wrestlers are fully expected to be good to go on Sunday.
Jordan and Stieber are both ranked in the top 25 in the nation in their respective weight classes, with Jordan at No. 2 and Stieber at No. 12 in InterMat’s Division I rankings..
After the Spartans
The OSU wrestling team is scheduled to head to Bloomington, Indiana, to face the Hoosiers next week.
Indiana currently is ranked No. 21 in the nation, and it was victorious against Maryland in its previous match.
The meet is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the University Gym.