EAST LANSING, Michigan — Ohio State is back on top.
For the second straight season, the Buckeyes claimed a Big Ten championship with four wrestlers taking home individual titles. This is the third conference championship under head coach Tom Ryan. After the championships, he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
All 10 Ohio State wrestlers qualified for the NCAA championships in Cleveland on March 15-17. Nine of 10 wrestlers for Ohio State advanced to the semi finals, with seven advancing to the final and four winning it all, which was enough to seal the team title over No. 1 Penn State.
“This weekend, we felt like we had a little more margin of error [than last year], and the guys wrestled out of their mind,” Ryan said.
No. 2 seed Kyle Snyder won the heavyweight title 4-2 with a takedown in the second overtime round against No. 1 seed Adam Coon of Michigan, avenging a loss to Coon on Feb. 11. This was Snyder’s third straight Big Ten championship.
“They have clearly done a great job preparing him for someone that’s got great leg attacks, so there were some adjustments Kyle made and tonight, one of those adjustments worked out,” Ryan said.
Snyder gameplanned specifically for Coon, which lead to him shooting less often than usual, leading to the lack of scoring.
“His leg defense has got better, so I gotta be a little more strategic with what I do, but takedown in overtime is cool,” Snyder said.
Ohio State senior Nathan Tomasello defeated Minnesota No. 5 Ethan Lizak 10-7 in the 125-pound final. It was the fourth individual Big Ten championship for the Buckeyes’ No. 3 seed.
No. 1 seed Joey McKenna shutout Illinois’ No. 3 Michael Carr 13-0 in the 141-pound final. This is McKenna’s third straight conference title, after he won two Pac-12 championships during his time with Stanford, before he transferred to Ohio State in 2017.
Sophomore Kollin Moore was the top seed at 197 pounds, but he entered the tournament a loser of two of his last three bouts. However, he put all those struggles behind him and claimed another Big Ten championship.
“Kollin Moore is a workhouse out there, and when you don’t have the volume of training behind someone who’s a workhorse late in matches,” Ryan said. “When you shoot 30, 40, 20 times, you start to feel it more than if you just got that cardio behind you, but he’s had some great practices in the last few weeks and he’s looking strong right now.”
In the 184-pound final, Nittany Lion No. 1 seed Bo Nickal beat Ohio State No. 2 seed Myles Martin in 7-4 decision. Martin scored one takedown against Nickal, but the riding time advantage in favor of Nickal, along with tough defense, found Martin out of time to mount a comeback.
In the second straight meeting between the two, Wolverine No. 1 seed Stevan Micic won against Ohio State No. 2 Luke Pletcher in the 133-pound final.
In Pletcher’s semifinal match Saturday, he rallied against sophomore Mitch McKee, the No. 3 seed for the Golden Gophers. McKee heald a 3-0 lead going into the third period, but Pletcher scored three straight takedowns to win 6-4.
Ohio State No. 4 seed Micah Jordan earned runner-up at 157 pounds, losing to Michigan No. 3 seed Alec Pantaleo in the finals 3-1. A late second-period takedown proved the difference between these two. Pantaleo also beat Jordan 12-7 on Feb. 11.
Ohio State No. 2 174-pound Bo Jordan lost to Michigan then-No. 6 Myles in the dual meet, and hoped to get revenge against the now-three seed in the semifinals in order to have a shot at Penn State No. 1 seed Mark Hall.
However, Bo was pinned by Amine in a surprise result Saturday night. Bo later earned the third-place match.
Ohio State No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes outwrestled Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal 7-5 at 149 pounds. At 165 pounds, Ohio State junior Te’Shan Campbell finished 9th, which earned him a spot at NCAA championships.