The wrestling Buckeyes closed out their conference schedule by winning eight-straight dual meets, but they’ll have to make it 10 to take home a National Duals title.
No. 3 Ohio State (12-3) is set to take on No. 15 Edinboro (13-4) in the opening round of the National Duals, and with four potential matches pairing ranked opponents, coach Tom Ryan said he knows the favored Buckeyes will have their hands full.
“There will be a lot of good matches,” Ryan said. “You will be looking for gritty, tough performances where you’re building your lead, your shots and finishes are crisp and you’re fighting every position.”
Key matches include (OSU wrestlers first):
- 141 pounds: No. 1 redshirt-senior Logan Stieber (19-0) vs. No. 2 redshirt-senior Mitchell Port (29-0)
- 125 pounds: No. 7 redshirt-freshman Nathan Tomasello (22-4) vs. No. 18 redshirt-senior Kory Mines (27-6)
- 174 pounds: No. 13 junior Mark Martin (14-8) vs. No. 20 redshirt-junior Patrick Jennings (26-8)
- 184 pounds: No. 10 redshirt-junior Kenny Courts (19-4) vs. No. 11 redshirt-junior Vic Avery (24-6)
A key wrestler who won’t be in the lineup for the Fighting Scots is A.J. Schopp (15-1). Ranked second nationally at 133 pounds, the senior was scheduled to face No. 10 Johnni DiJulius (22-3), but is out because of an undisclosed injury. Redshirt-freshman Anthony Rivera (3-13) is set to step in step in.
Stieber said he hopes the team can continue its success and show why it is a top contender.
“We’re wrestling really well and getting back to being fully healthy,” Stieber said. “Edinboro is a good team and they have some guys out too, so hopefully we can wrestle well and get through them and move onto Iowa for the National Duals finals the following weekend.”
Edinboro will look to No. 1 ranked 149-pound redshirt-senior Dave Habat to provide bonus points against OSU redshirt-senior Randy Languis (8-11). Habat’s opponent would normally be redshirt-junior and former Big Ten champ Hunter Stieber, but because of an elbow injury, that match might have to wait.
Ryan said he believes his team has what it takes to succeed during the championship season, but knows that it’s time to prove it.
“It’s that time of the year where you should start to look like someone who is capable of doing huge things,” Ryan said. “This is big for Edinboro, they have a great community in which every person in the area wants to whip up on Ohio State. They have great coaches and a few studs, but we want to be the best dual meet team in the country and this is one we have to win, so we will be ready for it.”
The match is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday at McComb Fieldhouse in Edinboro, Pa.