Ohio State and Penn State is a duel, a clash of the titans pitting 17 ranked wrestlers against each other.
The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) will take on No. 1 Penn State at home on Friday. The Nittany Lions (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) won their last match against then No. 4 Michigan 25-11, which kept them undefeated on the season.
Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said both teams are “loaded,” and that it will be a must-watch duel.
“This is kind of what you would dream of as a wrestler to be in an event like this,” Ryan said.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 27-15 victory against Northwestern on Sunday while winning six of 10 bouts.
Ohio State redshirt junior Kollin Moore, the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 197 pounds, will try and remain undefeated, but will enter as an underdog for the first time all season, taking on Penn State undefeated first-ranked redshirt senior Bo Nickal.
Nickal has won two straight NCAA titles and has a 90-3 career record.
But Moore said being an underdog does not faze him.
“I have been in a lot of big matches and I can wrestle really well,” Moore said. “I think I have proven that I’m one of the top wrestlers in the country.”
Ohio State senior Myles Martin, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 184 pounds and undefeated on the season, will be tested against Penn State sixth-ranked redshirt senior Shakur Rasheed, who has not lost in 15 bouts.
Ohio State senior Joey McKenna, the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 141 pounds, will return after missing the past two duels due to an undisclosed injury. He will square off against Penn State sixth-ranked sophomore Nick Lee, who has only lost once this season.
“Joey is at another level, there is a handful of college wrestlers that are really elite and [McKenna] is one of them,” Ryan said. “We need to hold our ground and get bonus points when we can.”
Ohio State redshirt freshman Ethan Smith, the No. 17 wrestler in the country at 174 pounds, will face Penn State first-ranked junior Mark Hall, who is undefeated in 19 matches.
Hall won the NCAA title at 174 pounds in 2017, and has lost only four of his 67 career matches.
Despite being in his second year at Ohio State, Smith said he is confident heading into his match against such a prominent opponent.
“I can’t put [the match] on a pedestal too much, and let it get inside my head so I’m just going to go out there like it is any other match,” Smith said. “I don’t think I’m afraid to shoot or get in on anyone in the country.”
No. 6 Ohio State will take on No. 1 Penn State at St. John Arena at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.