The Ohio State wrestling team rallied from an early deficit, but ultimately lost a 21-12 decision to Michigan Friday in Columbus.
In a tightly contested matchup the No. 11 Wolverines (9-2, 5-0) jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the No.12 Buckeyes (7-4, 2-4) after the night’s first bouts.
The Buckeyes fought their way back into the match after sophomore Mark Martin (174 pounds) and redshirt-senior Nick Heflin (197 pounds) posted victories to close the gap to 9-7.
The Wolverines were able to extend their lead after three consecutive overtime victories before OSU redshirt-junior Logan Stieber – ranked No. 3 in the nation at 141 pounds – took the mat for the Scarlet and Gray against Michigan redshirt-senior Steve Dutton.
Stieber scored eight points in the first period on his way to a 16-1 technical fall victory over Dutton.
Coach Tom Ryan was pleased with his team’s efforts to come back from the early deficit. “Overall, our fight was a lot better than it has been in the previous matches,” Ryan said.
Ryan cited the team’s tenacity as a building block as the team prepares for the 2014 NCAA Championships tournament, set for March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.
“I think we made some steps forward,” Ryan said. “We have about 50 days to get ready for the NCAA (Championships) and we will be ready.”
OSU hopes to be represented at the NCAA Championships by seven wrestlers. Redshirt-freshman Nick Roberts (125 pounds), redshirt-sophomore Johnni DiJulius (133 pounds), Stieber, senior Ian Paddock (149 pounds), Martin, redshirt-sophomore Kenny Courts (184 pounds) and Heflin made the initial NCAA Wrestling Division I Coaches’ Panel Rankings Jan. 23. The final rankings will be used to determine the 330 wrestlers selected to compete in the tournament.
The Buckeyes are slated to return to the mat Monday night for a matchup in West Lafayette, Ind. against Purdue at 7 p.m.