No. 2 Ohio State rode multiple late victories to a 31-12 win over No. 11 Arizona State in its first home dual meet of the season Sunday.
In what many considered the day’s main event, fourth-ranked 174-pounder Ohio State redshirt senior Bo Jordan took on top-ranked redshirt sophomore Zahid Valencia.
Valencia defeated Jordan by a 9-4 decision. Two takedowns in the first period gave Valencia an early lead that he did not relinquish. Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan was impressed with the performance of Arizona State’s top wrestler.
“Valencia, at Bo’s weight, wrestled a fantastic match today,” Ryan said. “Credit to Valencia, he did a nice job. We had a couple chances to score and didn’t, he had some chances and did.”
The last two matches of the day did not transpire as expected. At 197 pounds, Arizona State elected not to send a wrestler out and forfeited the match to top-ranked Ohio State redshirt sophomore Kollin Moore. Zeke Jones, head coach of the Sun Devils, then sent out redshirt junior Austyn Harris, who was listed at 197 pounds, to face Ohio State senior heavyweight Kyle Snyder. Snyder was expected to wrestle fourth-ranked heavyweight Tanner Hall.
Snyder racked up takedowns against the lighter Harris and led 22-9 at the end of the second period with 3:15 of riding time. Snyder ended the match with a pin at the 6:17 mark to finish the day for Ohio State. It is not the first time that opposing teams have made interesting decisions with Snyder coming up in the lineup.
“I remember my senior year of high school it was like a similar deal where people would switch up their lineup because of where I was on the team,” Snyder said. “I want to continue to be so dominant that teams have to do that.”
Ohio State junior Te’Shan Campbell impressed in his first home dual meet match as a Buckeye. Coming into the match ranked No. 7 at 165 pounds, the transfer from Pittsburgh won a 14-0 decision against sixth-ranked redshirt sophomore Anthony Valencia. Ten of Campbell’s points came from near falls while he registered 1:41 of riding time.
“I watched a lot of film on him wrestling and the match that we had last year and just knew that there was an opportunity for me to break away and score on top,” Campbell said.
Ohio State redshirt junior Micah Jordan suffered what was a bit of a surprising loss to 13th-ranked redshirt sophomore Josh Maruca. Fifth-ranked Jordan registered two very early takedowns before surrendering two to Shields. A late takedown using Jordan’s wrapped leg and knee gave Shields the insurance points for victory.
In the 149-pound class, 11th-ranked redshirt sophomore Ke-Shawn Hayes defeated Arizona State’s Josh Maruca by a 6-3 decision. Sunday was the first time that Hayes had a chance to compete in front of a Columbus crowd after suffering an injury last season.
“It’s nice to wrestle in front of the home fans,” Hayes said. “I’ve only been on the sidelines watching that before. The atmosphere was electric. It was great to be out there.”
The first match of the day at 125 pounds ended in a fall in the third period. Ohio State freshman Brakan Mead fell 6-0 to seventh-ranked redshirt junior Ryan Millhof. The match was Mead’s first in dual-meet competition with the Buckeyes since replacing All-American Nate Tomasello, who is out with a knee injury.
Second-ranked junior Myles Martin earned the first pin of the day at 184 pounds and put the Buckeyes back into the scoring column after Bo Jordan’s loss. Martin pinned Arizona State freshman Kordell Norfleet at the 4:31 mark after a pair of early takedowns.
Two early takedowns powered sixth-ranked junior Joey McKenna past Arizona State freshman Cory Crooks in a 6-1 decision at 141 pounds. The match was McKenna’s first as a Buckeye after transferring from Stanford in the offseason.
Sophomore Luke Pletcher, who is ranked No. 10, brought the crowd to its feet early in the meet when his 133-pound match with senior Sun Devil Ali Naser went to extra time. Pletcher’s 7-5 sudden victory decision win came thanks to a takedown with only four seconds remaining.
Prior to the Buckeyes’ dual meet with Arizona State, two banners were dropped at St. John Arena in honor of a pair of accomplishments during the 2016-2017 season. Snyder’s national championship from last season was recognized along with the team’s Big Ten championship.
The Buckeye wrestlers will continue their season Nov. 21 when they welcome Cleveland State and Kent State to Columbus for the 2017 Thanksgiving Throwdown.