After winning nine straight dual meets, the Ohio State wrestling team is set to take on No. 11 Lehigh in the quarterfinals of the National Duals.
The Buckeyes are favored in the majority of the matches, set to be held in Iowa City, Iowa, but coach Tom Ryan said he isn’t going to discount any opponent, especially as the postseason approaches.
“We definitely aren’t overlooking Lehigh. Those guys are Pennsylvania boys, they have been through a lot of battles. Wrestling in that state, you have to be ready each and every week,” Ryan said. “If we are off in any matches, they can make this tough for us.”
As to how confident Ryan feels, it’s about 50-50, he said.
“I feel good about five or six matches, but anything can happen,” Ryan said.
One of those matches will include OSU freshman Kyle Snyder, who ranks third nationally, going up against sophomore Elliot Riddick, ranked No. 10.
“Riddick is not a pushover, he’s really good. He jumped up two weight classes from 174 to 197 and he looks like a natural 197 pounder,” Ryan said. “The good thing is our guy (Snyder) is always ready for every opponent.”
Snyder is aware of his opponent’s skillset and says it’s a good matchup for him.
“I’ve seen that he’s fast and has some good leg attacks, but I should be ready for all of that,” Snyder said. “The guys in our practice room have given me the same look and have me prepared.”
Beyond Snyder’s top-10 matchup, the Buckeyes and the Mountain Hawks will send a total of five weight classes in which both wrestlers are ranked in the top 20.
The winner of the quarterfinal will advance to face the winner of No. 2 Missouri and No. 12 Illinois in the seminfinals. The Buckeyes lost to the Tigers on Dec. 14 in Columbus, 20-19. The match was decided by the fourth tiebreaker in which Missouri achieved the first takedown in the opening match of the dual. OSU has yet to face Illinois this year.
The match between OSU and Lehigh is slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday with the semifinals beginning at 4 p.m. the same day.
The semifinal winners are set to compete for the championship at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.