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Nov. 15, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The No. 10 Ohio State wrestling team (0-0, 0-0) competed at the Oklahoma Gold Classic Saturday in Brockport, N.Y. The Buckeyes claimed second place with 143 team points, falling 35.5 points shy of No. 15 Oklahoma in the overall team standings.

The Buckeyes were led by title-winning performances from seniors Tommy Rowlands (HWT, Hilliard, Ohio), John Clark (165, Canton, N.Y.), Blake Kaplan (184, Cincinnati, Ohio) and Jeff Ratliff (149, Marion, Ohio).

With Rowlands’ pin of Cleveland State’s John Seng at the 1:48 mark in the championship prelims, scoring six team points, he eclipsed the 500-point barrier for his career. Rowlands went on to pin Aaron Ferrance of Bloomsburg in the quarterfinals before obtaining a 9-5 victory by decision over Jake Hager of Oklahoma in the semifinals. Rowlands finished with a close 3-2 win in the final over Oklahoma’s Leonce Crump.

In the 165-pound class Clark began competition in the semifinals after he received a bye through the first two rounds. He continued his domination using major decision and technical wins to advance to the final round and claim the title with a 10-5 victory over Artie Wiedler of Brockport.

In the 184-pound class, Kaplan posted a shut out over Cleveland State’s Sengbe Kemokai in the championship prelims with an 11-0 win. In later rounds, he used a decision in the quarterfinals and a pin in the semifinals to advance to the final, finishing with an impressive 8-1 count over Arizona’s Luke Calvert. Ratliff breezed through the first four rounds in the 149-pound class, winning by a pin in each match. In the first round, he downed Pat Larkin of Wagner at the 1:31 mark with a pin. Ratliff defeated Cleveland State’s Matt DePolo, posting a 9-2 decision, en route to the 149-pound class title. Others who scored points for the Buckeyes as placers were freshmen Jermaine Jones with a fourth place standing at 125, 174 Alex Picazo with another fourth place tally and James King who finished sixth at the 157 class.

Complete results from the Oklahoma Gold Classic can be found online at http://www.brockport.edu/%7Eathletics/wrestling/releases0304/classic.html.

Next up, the Buckeyes travel to the Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 5-6 in Las Vegas, Nev.