The No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (13-1, 8-1 Big Ten) concludes its regular season Sunday when it travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on No. 6 North Carolina State (14-1, ACC 4-0) at 4:30 p.m.
The Buckeyes are coming off of an 18-15 victory against No. 4 Michigan on Feb. 11 despite senior No. 2 heavyweight Kyle Snyder suffering his first collegiate loss since March 2015. Each team won five matches, with the Buckeyes gaining bonus points from senior Nathan Tomasello and sophomore Kollin Moore.
“Other than [Tomasello and Moore], I think we were a little flat,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said. “We’re more excited about postseason, facing off with Penn State in the Big Tens and nationals than we were in the moment in that dual meet.”
North Carolina State wrestles against No. 8 Virginia Tech at home Friday night, before getting a shot versus the Buckeyes two days later. The Wolfpack are undefeated in ACC matches and have just one loss overall, which came against fellow perennial championship contender No. 3 Oklahoma State at a naval base in Naples, Italy. It was the first overseas meet in NCAA history.
North Carolina State’s success this season has put the Wolfpack at No. 6 in the nation, but Ryan said he thinks it might be better than that ranking.
“Up and down the line this is a really good team,” Ryan said.
Moore bounced back in his bout against Michigan’s No. 12 Kevin Beazley at 197 pounds after losing to unranked Anthony Cassar of Penn State in the previous meet. Now Moore faces No. 7 Michael Macchiavello of the Wolfpack.
“There’s no undefeated season on the line or anything like that, so I can just focus on my wrestling again, you know not protecting anything,” Moore said. “There’s nothing to protect now.”
In the aftermath of Snyder’s first collegiate loss since 2015, he will match up against No. 10 Michael Boykin.
As rare as it is for Snyder to lose, it would be unexpected to see one loss affect him going forward other than providing him with motivation. He and No. 1 Adam Coon of Michigan are likely to meet again at the Big Ten championships in March.
“I was just surprised by the way he acted after the match. He wasn’t super down on himself,” Ohio State junior Myles Martin said.
Martin’s match in the North Carolina State meet against No. 3 Peter Renda is one of the showcase matchups of this dual. Martin is still ranked second and is 23-1, while Renda is 18-0 this season.
The two last met at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29, 2016. Renda beat Martin, 9-2. Martin said he freestyle wrestled against Renda this past summer.
There are plenty ranked matches within the meet, including No. 4 Tomasello versus No. 5 junior Sean Fausz. No. 7 Joey McKenna of the Buckeyes and No. 2 senior Kevin Jack will face off in a key match at 141 pounds.
No. 7 Micah Jordan will wrestle at 157 pounds against No. 3 Hayden Hidlay, a freshman who is 18-0 this season for North Carolina State.
Other matchups between ranked wrestlers include No. 3 Luke Pletcher against No. 12 Tariq Wilson of the Wolfpack, and Ohio State’s No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes taking on No. 13 Beau Donahue.