Ohio State (2-11; 1-7 Big Ten)
at 2011 NCAA Championships
Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19
Wells Fargo Center
Ohio State Qualifiers
133 – Ian Paddock/So./Warsaw, N.Y./Warsaw (17-8)
165 – Colt Sponseller/Sr./Glenmont, Ohio/West Holmes (21-5)
174 – Nick Heflin/R-Fr./Massillon, Ohio/Massillon (20-7)
184 – C.J. Magrum/R-So./Oak Harbor, Ohio/Oak Harbor (12-11)
197 – Peter Capone/R-Fr./Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City Senior (19-15)
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Five members of the Ohio State wrestling team will participate in the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship Thursday-Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Ian Paddock (133), Colt Sponseller (165), Nick Heflin (174), C.J. Magrum (184) and Peter Capone (197) will represent the Buckeyes.
Senior captain Colt Sponseller earned the No. 5 seed at 165 pounds. Nick Heflin, a redshirt-freshman at 174 pounds, is the 10th seed.
With their respective finishes at the 2011 Big Ten Championships at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., Ian Paddock, Colt Sponseller, Nick Heflin and C.J. Magrum automatically qualified for the NCAA championships.
The Big Ten Conference was allocated eight automatic qualifiers at 133 pounds. In the 165-pound class, the Top 5 wrestlers advanced to the NCAA championships, while at 174 pounds, the Top 8 qualified. Finally, the league was awarded 6 qualifiers at 184 pounds.
Paddock finished sixth at the conference championships. He dropped his first-round match to the No. 1 seed, Andrew Long of Penn State, but rebounded with back-to-back wins vs. Akif Eren of Purdue, 3-2, and Levi Mele of Northwestern, 4-3. However, Paddock was forced to forfeit his remaining two matches because of injury and now owns a 17-8 record.
Sponseller was the Big Ten championship runner-up for the second-consecutive year at 165 pounds. Facing No. 1 Andrew Howe of Wisconsin in a rematch from the conference final from a year ago, Sponseller dropped a 3-1 sudden victory decision to Howe. With a 21-5 record, Sponseller entered his bout vs. Howe on a 10-match win streak. Sponseller is seeking his first All-America honor in his final season as the No. 5 seed.
Heflin advanced to the 174-pound final at the conference championships in his first attempt, securing his place as the 10th seed in the 2011 edition of nationals. Beating the Nos. 7 and 6 seeds, Justin Zeerip of Michigan and Ben Jordan of Wisconsin by a pair of 2-1 scores, the Buckeye from Massillon, Ohio, faced No. 1 seed Ed Ruth of Penn State in the final where he lost, 8-5. Heflin has compiled a 20-7 record in his first full season as a Buckeye.
Slated the No. 7 seed at the Big Ten championships, Magrum finished fourth at 184 pounds. The Oak Harbor, Ohio, native owns a 12-11 overall record following a 4-2 performance. Magrum won three consecutive matches to earn a chance to finish third, but he dropped his third-place bout to Wisconsin’s and No. 1seed Travis Rutt, 6-0.
Redshirt-freshman 197-pounder Peter Capone earned an at-large selection into the NCAA championships. The Big Ten Conference was allotted just six automatic qualifiers at that weight class and Capone finished seventh at the conference championships. However, the Johnson City, N.Y., native was one of 50 at-large selections and one of five 197 pounders invited to compete at nationals.
With his 8-1 decision over Ryan Leblanc of Indiana, senior Colt Sponseller earned his 100th win of his collegiate career. Sponseller now has a 101-22 career record at Ohio State, which includes a 60-9 dual ledger and 27-5 Big Ten ledger.
A Brief History
Ohio State’s best finishes as a team at the NCAA championships were back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009. Backed by three finalists and two national champions in J Jaggers (141) and Mike Pucillo (184), the Buckeyes earned their highest placing at nationals in program history in 2008. J.D. Bergman was the heavyweight runner-up.
In 2009, the Scarlet and Gray were 4.5 points short of the title, as Iowa edged the Buckeyes 96.5-92. Jaggers became Ohio State’s first two-time titlist since Tommy Rowlands in 2002 and 2004 and third overall (Kevin Randleman in 1992 and 1993). Reece Humphrey and Mike Pucillo were the 133 and 184-pound runners-up, respectively.
Last season, Ohio State finished eighth with 62 points. Lance Palmer, the No. 1 seed and 2010 Big Ten Champion at 149 pounds, lost a close 3-2 win to Iowa’s Brent Metcalf. One minute and 29 seconds of riding time separated the Columbia Station, Ohio, native from the national title in Omaha, Neb. An early takedown by Metcalf in the first period gave him a 2-0 lead, but back-to-back escapes by Palmer in the first and second periods evened the score, 2-2. However, Metcalf already had accrued enough riding time and it proved to be enough for the 3-2 win.
Palmer became just one of two Buckeyes (Rowlands), to become a four-time All-American.
The 2010 Big Ten Champion and Most Outstanding Wrestler at the conference championships, Palmer finished his career with a 121-33 overall record, including a 57-9 mark in dual matches and a 25-4 ledger in the Big Ten.
In all, Ohio State has crowned 14 individual national champions and has 72 All-America selections.