Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team fell victim to No. 1 Penn State, 29-18, Sunday in front of an electric crowd of more than 6,000 fans for Senior Day.
With the loss, the Buckeyes dropped to 11-3 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions, the defending national champions, improved their record to 11-1 and 7-1 in the conference.
OSU got off to a fast start, leading Penn State, 15-4, after the first four matches. Senior 125-pounder Nikko Triggas suffered a 9-1 loss in the opening match, but his team would soon catch fire, winning the next three matches in grand fashion.
Redshirt sophomore and No. 1-ranked Logan Stieber started the rally by pinning redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway in 2:41 in the 133-pound bout. The crowd erupted in thunderous cheer as sophomore and No. 2-ranked Hunter Stieber matched his older brother by pinning senior Derek Reber in 1:20 at 141 pounds. Sophomore Cam Tessari then followed with a 3-1 victory against No. 7-ranked sophomore Andrew Alton in the 149-pound bout.
“I had a game plan going in. His conditioning was suspect, so I wanted to keep the score low in the first period and take advantage in the second and third and that’s what I did,” Tessari said.
Penn State remained resilient, however, going on to win five of the next six matches.
The Buckeyes suffered setbacks in the next two matches as redshirt sophomore Josh Demas fell to No. 5-ranked sophomore Dylan Altman in a tight 4-3 decision at 157 pounds before freshman Mark Martin was pinned by No. 2-ranked junior David Taylor in 2:55 in the 165-pound weight class.
Redshirt junior Nick Heflin at 174 pounds came away with the Buckeyes’ last win, narrowly beating No. 5 sophomore Matt Brown, 3-2.
The Nittany Lions took the final three matches, as redshirt senior C.J. Magrum was pinned in 1:51 by No. 1-ranked junior Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and redshirt freshman Kenny Courts lost the 197-pound bout to No. 3-ranked senior Quentin Wright, 9-1. In the last match, heavyweight redshirt junior Peter Capone lost to sophomore Jimmy Lawson by injury default.
Logan Stieber said he was disappointed with the loss.
“We started off real hot,” he said. “We had things going our way, but we knew they had their big guns, and for us to win the dual meet, we had to limit their bonus points and we didn’t. We knew we’d have a shot but we came up a little bit short.”
OSU coach Tom Ryan seemed pleased with the team’s effort but said his team needs to continue to improve.
“I saw some great things,” he said. “I saw Cam Tessari wrestle the way he’s capable of. We saw the Stiebers do their job. We needed pins and they got pins. In dual meets you can’t give up too many points and in the upper weight classes we gave up too many points. I think overall the fight was good but we need to do more.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to action Feb. 22-23 when they travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen “Mat Mayhem” National Duals. The first match is set to begin at 6 p.m. in Williams Arena at University of Minnesota.