Halfway through the 133-pound match, the wave broke out in St. John Arena. It was that kind of night for the Ohio State wrestling team against Wisconsin, as the Buckeyes dominated the Badgers on their way to their 10th team victory.
In its final dual meet of the year, OSU left little doubt as to the team it will be presenting in the Big Ten and NCAA championships. The Buckeyes picked up eight individual victories in a fitting send-off to the graduating seniors.
The first half of the dual meet began at 165 pounds with one of the most anticipated matches of the night between redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan and his first cousin, redshirt junior Isaac Jordan.
In a rematch of last year’s 165-pound weight class Big Ten championship match, it was the Jordan from Wisconsin who came out on top. Bo Jordan was unable to find any holes in the defense of Isaac Jordan and scored no takedowns. He ended up dropping the bout 6-4.
The loss was Bo Jordan’s first of the year.
Freshman Myles Martin got OSU back on the right track against redshirt sophomore Ricky Robertson, picking up a 12-1 major decision victory. A four-point near fall was key for the victory for Martin.
Robertson only scored once on an escape, and Martin cruised to his 23rd win of the year.
The 184-pound weight class was up next, and Kenny Courts kept the momentum going for the Scarlet and Gray with a thrilling sudden-victory win. Courts scored a key escape in the third to force the match into the sudden-victory period.
With the score deadlocked at 4-4, Courts shot in and scored a takedown to pick up the 6-4 win over redshirt freshman Ryan Christensen. Courts extended OSU’s lead to 7-3.
Senior Mark Martin returned to the mat after missing the last few dual meets to earn a hard fought 6-3 win over redshirt sophomore Eric Peissig. Martin started the action quickly with a takedown in the first 30 seconds, before both wrestlers retracted to a defensive mindset.
Martin controlled Peissig and dictated the match, not allowing any takedown attempts to sneak through, while also earning his third Big Ten victory of the year.
Heavyweight was next up before the intermission, and sophomore Kyle Snyder rounded out his short season with another major decision. The 25-11 win gave him three major decisions this season.
Snyder used speed to break through the defense of redshirt senior Brock Horwath and power to secure a flurry of takedowns. After his overwhelming victory, the world champion spoke volumes about the seniors who were making their last home appearances.
“It was good being able to wrestle with the seniors one last time,” Snyder said. “It was exciting being able to compete with them one more time here before we split ways.”
After the intermission, redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello capped off a stellar regular season at 125 pounds with a technical fall win over sophomore Johnny Jimenez. The bout started slow, but soon both wrestlers attacked. Tomasello picked up multiple takedowns to stretch out a lead.
Near the end of the third, after Jimenez was whistled twice for caution, Tomasello picked up a 20-5 win with one last takedown. Jimenez was clearly frustrated with the match, and he threw his headgear as he was running back to the locker room.
Johnni DiJulius started off his match at 133 pounds with a thunderous takedown of redshirt freshman Jens Lantz. The expected starter for Wisconsin, redshirt junior Ryan Taylor, did not start in the dual meet.
DiJulius rounded out his OSU career with a 10-2 major decision win. The win extends the redshirt senior’s career mark to 111 wins, which is good enough for 17th all-time at OSU. At this stage, the Buckeyes were ahead 24-3.
After watching his brother sustain a tough loss, redshirt freshman Micah Jordan commanded his bout against redshirt sophomore Gabe Grahek. Micah Jordan started off quick with a takedown, and he found himself up 5-1 at the end of the first.
Micah Jordan prevented any further scoring from Grahek and scored a late reversal to put himself up 10-1, as well as earn a major decision.
Even with the Buckeyes riding on high with seven straight individual victories, the crowd fell silent after redshirt senior Hunter Stieber lost 6-4 in sudden victory. The loss didn’t quiet the crowd, but the reaction by Stieber did.
Stieber was pushed backwards by redshirt sophomore Tyler Crone, and the referee stopped the bout. Stieber clutched his at his leg after the match, and put no weight on his right knee as he was helped form the mat by OSU trainers. He received a standing ovation from the crowd in St. John Arena.
After Stieber left the mat, the night rounded out with one more OSU victory, as redshirt freshman Jake Ryan scored the only fall of the night against redshirt junior T.J. Ruschell. Right before the midway point of the second period, Ryan caught his opponent in a favorable position, and capitalized.
“I kind of smelled blood a little bit,” Ryan said with a smile. “I ran as hard as I could and put all my energy into (the takedown).”
Overall, the Scarlet and Gray picked up a 34-6 team win. The victory gave OSU its 15th Big Ten win in two seasons, which is the most in a two-year period in the history of the wrestling program.
Buckeyes remember one of their own
Before the match began, there was a moment of silence for former OSU wrestler and two-time NCAA champion Kevin Randleman. Randleman died suddenly Thursday night due to complications from pneumonia.
Randleman won the national championship at 177 pounds back-to-back in 1992-1993. OSU coach Tom Ryan spoke on the kind of person Randleman was after Friday’s match.
“He was a gentle soul; a tireless competitor,” Tom Ryan said. “He had tremendous respect for what it took to compete at this level.”