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January 6, 1999

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Winners of four of their last six matches, the Ohio State wrestling team (4-3, 0-0 Big Ten) will try to get 1999 started on the right foot when they travel to Brown University to wrestle against Navy and Brown on January 9. The Buckeyes’ last action came three weeks ago when they traveled to Clarion, Pa., for the Clarion Duals.

%^$FULL STEAM AHEAD

%^$Ohio State’s first match of the new year comes at 1 pm on Saturday against Navy. They follow that up with a second match against Brown University at 3 pm.

%^$While Navy has participated in only one dual match so far this season, losing 36-6 to No. 5 Oklahoma, that doesn’t mean they have been resting on their laurels. All told, the Midshipmen have been a part of eleven different meets this year. Their strongest showing was a fifth-place finish at the Sunshine Open, which featured wrestling powerhouses such as No. 11 Michigan and North Carolina.

%^$Navy’s probable starting lineup is as follows:%^$

%^$Wt Wrestler%^$125 Jason Homestead%^$133 Phil McNaughton or Zane Stickel%^$141 Don Waters%^$149 Tom Storer%^$157 Tyrone Neal%^$165 Mark Newman or Karl Haywood%^$174 Grant Whitmer%^$184 No. 10 Greg Gingeleskie%^$197 No. 19 Justin Woodruff%^$HWT James Paxton%^$%^$BROWN OUT

%^$Brown comes into this weekend’s action with a 2-4 record while playing a very difficult schedule. So far this season, the Bears have wrestled then-No. 23 Clarion, then-No. 20 Lock Haven, and current No. 5 Oklahoma. OSU and Brown have one common opponent — Pittsburgh-Johnstown. The Buckeyes were defeated by UPJ, 27-10, in their fourth and final match of the day at the Clarion Duals on December 20. Brown defeated UPJ, 21-16, on November 21.

%^$The lone Brown wrestler in the current rankings is senior Nate Burroughs. Wrestling at 184 pounds, Burroughs is ranked No.14 by Intermat Magazine and No. 16 by the Amateur Wrestling News. He should match up with Buckeye freshman Nick Preston when these two teams face off.

%^$Following is Brown’s probable starting lineup:%^$

%^$Wt Wrestler%^$125 Pete Poretta%^$133 James Castaneda%^$141 Ernest LeLeon or Jason Mercado%^$149 Ernest DeLeon or Jason Mercado%^$157 Chris Ayers%^$165 Nick Almeida%^$174 Brad McDonald or Karl Rittger%^$184 No. 13 Nate Burroughs%^$197 Kirk Grant%^$HWT Bronson Lingamfelter%^$%^$LAST MATCH OF LAST YEAR

%^$The Buckeyes went into their last meet at the Clarion Duals a bruised bunch with Jeff Bucher, Bo James and Keaton Anderson all expected to miss some action due to injuries. In order to be successful, Ohio State needed some wrestlers to step up, and that’s exactly what happened. When the dust settled, OSU had captured three of their four matches on the day.

%^$The day started for the Buckeyes at 1 pm when they matched up against American University. A strong effort by Ohio State combined with three forfeits from American led to an easy 31-11 victory.

%^$OSU had no time to celebrate that victory, as at 3 pm they faced a much tougher Clarion team. The lead see-sawed back and forth until the meet’s seventh match at heavyweight. It was at that point Eric Wood (HWT), Matt Fratta (125) and Robert Sessley (133) put together three wins in a row for the Buckeyes to help them squeak out an 18-16 win over a solid Golden Eagles squad.

%^$Ohio State quickly found themselves in a hole in their next match against Bucknell. Trailing 9-5 after four matches, the Buckeyes reeled off six consecutive victories to come away with a 33-9 win.

%^$The day’s final contest came against Pittsburgh-Johnstown, currently ranked No. 1 at the Division II level. OSU stayed close early in the match only to have the Mountain Cats win seven straight matches to win going away, 27-10.

%^$GOOD WOOD

%^$The wrestler making the biggest impact at Clarion was Eric Wood. The fifth-year senior was the only Buckeye to finish the day with a perfect 4-0 record. After a forfeit win in his first match, he won a tense 2-1 decision over Clarion’s Ben Boldin. Wood made the margin of victory a little larger in his match with Dave Irizarry of Bucknell, prevailing 12-4. But in his final match against Pittsburgh-Johnstown’s Brad Bughes, Wood returned to his Pepto Bismol inducing style. But like his other matches on this day, the Ashland native came away victorious, this time with a 3-2 decision. Wood’s record improved to 13-8 on the year with the margin of victory in ten of those matches being two points or less.%^$

%^$HE MUST BE BUTTER

%^$Robert Sessley has been on a serious roll as of late. Aside from his 19-7 record, the sophomore is either first or tied for first in several statistical categories — wins (19), dual match wins (5), takedowns (59), team points (32.5) and majority decisions (5). He has also amassed 28 back points and two technical falls.

%^$”It’s been great to see how Robert has stepped up this season,” Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson said. “He has been a very solid performer for us at 133. And the exciting part is that he is only a sophomore.”

%^$RANK AND FILE

%^$Several Ohio State wrestlers dot the rankings in the current editions of the Amateur Wrestling News and Intermat Magazine. Matt Fratta is carrying the flag for OSU in Intermat’s rankings, coming in at No. 15 at 125. Also ranked by that publication are Robert Sessley (133 lbs, No. 20), Keaton Anderson (141, No. 16) and Peter Rogers (165 lbs, No. 20).

%^$The Amateur Wrestling News poll has three Buckeyes ranked at the moment. Peter Rogers (165) and Matt Fratta (125) come in at No. 17 and Robert Sessley (133) drops in at No. 18.

%^$STATISTICAL FESTIVAL

%^$After recording an impressive 3-0 record at the Clarion Duals, Brian Roskovich’s numbers have become downright fabulous. Wrestling at 157 pounds, the junior is tied for second on the team in victories with 15, four of which have come in dual matches. His 48 back points is also good for second on the squad. Roskovich has also compiled 22 takedowns, 13 team points, three majority decisions, two technical falls and one fall.

%^$”To see Brian’s improvement over the past year has really been rewarding,” Hellickson said. “He has really provided us some solidity at 157.”

%^$Despite an injury that hampered him throughout December, Keaton Anderson has put up strong numbers so far in his freshman season. The Pickerington native leads the team in back points with 53, and has an 11-2 record (2-0 dual). Add to that his 28 takedowns, 15 team points and four majority decisions, and it’s easy to see why the coaching staff is so excited about Anderson.

%^$”He has really been a surprise for us this year,” said Hellickson. “His pace is very fast and furious. Keaton has the opportunity to be a great wrestler here at Ohio State.”