COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was a stat the wrestling community, especially the Big Ten wrestling community, knew all too well. It was a fact senior Lance Palmer was quite familiar with also – 0-4. That was Palmer’s record against conference and national favorite Brent Metcalf who has dominated wrestling at 149 pounds during the past four seasons.
However, Palmer topped Metcalf, 9-3, in the 149-pound final at the Big Ten Wrestling championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday. The fact the win granted the Buckeye from Columbia Station, Ohio, his first and only Big Ten title, made it all the sweeter and at the conclusion of the championships was named the 2010 Most Outstanding Wrestler.
And consider this, not only was Palmer’s victory huge in boosting his confidence heading to the NCAA championships in two weeks, but his win also served as Metcalf’s first loss of the season as the Hawkeye entered the match 31-0. Also in four meetings, the six-point differential was the largest margin of victory for either wrestler.
As a team, the Buckeyes finished fourth with 102.5 points, not the finish head coach Tom Ryan was hoping for heading to Crisler Arena. But at the conclusion of the championships, Ohio State has locked up at least six wrestlers for nationals, including runners-up Reece Humphrey (141) and Colt Sponseller (165). Nikko Triggas (125), Ian Paddock (133) and Mike Pucillo (184) are the remaining automatic qualifiers. Sean Nemec (157), Dave Rella (174), C.J. Magrum (197) and Corey Morrison (285) will find out Tuesday if they will receive at-large bids to the NCAA championships.
After finishing second last season at 133 pounds, Humphrey was hoping to capture the title in his senior season at the weight class he definitely feels more comfortable with, but came up short, suffering a 3-1 setback to No. 2 Michael Thorn of Minnesota. The score was knotted up at 1-1 as time ticked off the clock in the final period, but a takedown by Thorn with under a minute left would decide the outcome.
Sponseller, the No. 3 seed, earned his way to the title bout against No. 1 seed Andrew Howe of Wisconsin, but also lost a close decision, 4-2. A scoreless first period was followed by a second period that featured only an escape scored by Howe. Sponseller evened the score at 1-all when he escaped Howe at the beginning of the third period, but Howe countered with a takedown. Another escape by Sponseller moved the score to 3-2. However, Howe’s riding time of 1:06 secured the win.
Pucillo finished third in the 184-pound bracket, opening the session with a 4:10 pin against Nick Palmieri of Michigan State. The senior from Strongsville, Ohio, then wrapped up his final conference championships with a 4-1 win over No. 2 and Penn State’s Dave Erwin. It is the second straight year Pucillo has finished third. He was the league champion in 2008.
Top 5 finishes by Triggas and Paddock also helped the Buckeyes score team points. The sixth seed, Triggas began the day with a loss to fourth-seed Brad Pataky of Penn State, 11-2, but rebounded nicely with a 12-4 major decision against No. 5 Cashe Quiroga of Purdue.
Paddock, the seventh seed, followed pretty much the same route as Triggas to his fifth-place finish as he lost to No. 4 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 9-4, to open the third session. However, a 10-2 major decision over Boilermaker Akif Eren would ensue to conclude his first career Big Ten championships.
Seniors Rella and Morrison would go on to finish seventh, while redshirt-freshman C.J. Magrum (197) was eighth.
The Buckeyes will now prepare for the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships March 18-20 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
Ann Arbor, Mich.
125 – Fifth
No. 6 Nikko Triggas dec. Robert Joyce (Northwestern), 3-1sv
No. 3 Zach Sanders (Minnesota) dec. No. 6 Nikko Triggas, 6-1
No. 6 Nikko Triggas pinned No. 7 John Deneen (Illinois), 2:19
No. 4 Brad Pataky (Penn State) mdec. No. 6 Nikko Triggas, 11-2
No. 6 Nikko Triggas mdec. No. 5 Cashe Quiroga (Purdue), 12-4
133 – Fifth
No. 7 Ian Paddock dec. Daryl Thomas (Illinois), 7-3
No. 2 Daniel Dennis (Iowa) dec. No. 7 Ian Paddock, 4-0
No. 7 Ian Paddock dec. No. 6 Zac Stevens (Michigan), 6-0
No. 4 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) dec. No. 7 Ian Paddock, 9-4
No. 7 Ian Paddock mdec. Akif Eren (Purdue), 10-2
141 – Runner-up
No. 1 Reece Humphrey dec. No. 8 Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin), 6-5
No. 1 Reece Humphrey mdec. No. 4 Adam Lynch (Penn State), 14-4
No. 2 Michael Thorn (Minnesota) dec. No. 1 Reece Humphrey, 3-1
149 – Champion
No. 2 Lance Palmer dec. No. 7 Mario Mason (Minnesota), 12-4
No. 2 Lance Palmer dec. No. 3 Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin), 2-1
No. 2 Lance Palmer dec. No. 1 Brent Metcalf (Iowa), 9-3
No. 4 Jake Kerr (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Sean Nemec, 5-3
No. 3 Kurt Kinser (Indiana) dec. No. 5 Sean Nemec, 3-1
165 – Runner-up
No. 3 Colt Sponseller mdec. Aaron Hynes (Michigan), 15-4
No. 3 Colt Sponseller dec. No. 6 Kyle Bounds (Michigan State), 7-2
No. 3 Colt Sponseller dec. No. 2 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa), 3-1
No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) dec. No. 3 Colt Sponseller, 4-2
174 – Seventh
No. 4 Dave Rella dec. Brendan Ard (Wisconsin), 7-2
No. 5 Jordan Blanton (Illinois) dec. No. 4 Dave Rella, 9-7tb
No. 8 Justin Zeerip (Michigan) dec. No. 4 Dave Rella, 2-1tb
No. 4 Dave Rella dec. No. 6 Brian Roddy (Northwestern), 3-2
184 – Third
No. 4 Mike Pucillo dec. No. 5 Travis Rutt (Wisconsin), 6-2
No. 1 John Dergo (Illinois) dec. No. 4 Mike Pucillo, 13-6
No. 4 Mike Pucillo pinned Nick Palmieri (Michigan State), 4:10
No. 4 Mike Pucillo dec. No. 2 Dave Erwin (Penn State), 4-1
197 – Seventh
No. 1 Chad Beatty (Iowa) dec. No. 8 C.J. Magrum, 6-0
No. 8 C.J. Magrum dec. Tyler Dickenson (Michigan State), 6-2
No. 4 Patrick Bond (Illinois) dec. No. 8 C.J. Magrum, 4-0
No. 6 Matt Powless (Indiana) dec. No. 8 C.J. Magrum, 7-0
285 – Seventh
No. 3 Cameron Wade (Penn State) dec. No. 6 Corey Morrison, 1-0
No. 6 Corey Morrison mdec. Marcus Shrewsbury (Northwestern), 12-3
No. 7 Ben Apland (Michigan) dec. No. 6 Corey Morrison, 5-2
No. 6 Corey Morrison dec. Alan O’Donnell (Michigan State), 7-3