Since 2011, Ohio State and Penn State have captured every NCAA Division I Team Wrestling Championship.
The powerhouse programs clash again Saturday, as the No. 6 Buckeyes (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten) attempt to close out the regular season with a road win against conference rival No. 2 Penn State (10-2, 7-1) on the road.
“It’s a dual meet we look forward to every year. They’re considered our natural rival from the Big Ten scheduling standpoint and we just gotta be tough,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said.
Penn State is currently defending their ninth national championship, having won consecutive titles from 2011 to ‘14 and 2016 to ‘19. The Buckeyes won their first title in 2015 and have been runner-up to the Nittany Lions for the past three seasons.
“[Ohio] is a gritty, tough state with gritty, tough people that produce gritty, tough people, and the same with Pennsylvania,” Ryan said.
Ohio State redshirt freshman Rocky Jordan, No. 12 in the nation at 184 pounds, will be wrestling in Happy Valley for the first time but has been there before as a spectator to watch his older brothers while they were at Ohio State.
“Watching Bo and Mic wrestle there, them telling me about it, it’s a pretty crazy environment there,” Jordan said. “It gets a little loud, gets a little crazy there for sure. So I’m really looking forward to it.”
The meet’s marquee will take place in the 141-pound weight class.
Ohio State senior Luke Pletcher –– the No. 1 141 pounder –– will wrestle Penn State junior Nick Lee, who is No. 2. Both wrestlers are coming into the matchup undefeated, Pletcher at 23-0 and Lee at 16-0. Pletcher, though, is battle-tested with 12 wins against top 25 opponents.
“The match of the night is , Pletcher and Lee. Lee is a tremendous, tremendous wrestler. Pletcher, we’ve seen the dominance, he’s a tremendous wrestler,” Ryan said.
There will be a few familiar foes for the Buckeyes Saturday.
Ohio State redshirt senior Kollin Moore, the No. 1 wrestler at 197 pounds, will potentially go head-to-head with Penn State redshirt senior Shakur Rasheed, No. 18 in the class. It would be the third all-time meeting between Moore and Rasheed, and Moore has a chance to go 3-0.
Decatur will be looking to jump back into the rankings with a win over Penn State sophomore Roman Bravo-Young, ranked at No. 4 in the 133-pound weight class. Decatur and Bravo-Young competed against each other in the 2016 United World Wrestling Cadet World Championships.
“I’m feeling great. I’m ready to go. For the rest of the season, I’m stuck here at ,” Decatur said.
The Buckeye lineup is still uncertain though, with potential changes coming at 125 and 157 pounds.
“Both teams have guys there but, they haven’t been wrestling the way that they can,” Ryan said. “At  and , those aren’t maybe for us. You’ve got to have those [wins].”
Ohio State redshirt sophomore Dylan Koontz wrestled in Sunday’s Northwestern dual at 125 pounds. Koontz lost while searching for a takedown in a 3-2 decision against redshirt freshman Michael DeAugustino, then-No. 11 in the weight class.
While Koontz was wrestling at the Covelli Center, Ohio State sophomore Malik Heinselman was competing in the Greyhound Open at the same weight. He finished in first place.
Ohio State redshirt junior Elijah Cleary started at 157 pounds on Sunday while redshirt freshman Quinn Kinner wrestled alongside Heinselman at the Greyhound Open. Cleary lost to Northwestern redshirt junior Ryan Deakin, No. 1 in the division, in an 11-2 major decision. Like Heinselman, Kinner finished in first place.
“This week’s something special, it’s going to be real,” Decatur said. “This whole week with practice we’ve just honed in on dominating every position, every single match. We can do this, we can beat them in the tournament or the dual. It’s just a matter of mind –– belief.”
The Buckeyes will wrestle against the Nittany Lions at 7:30 p.m.