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Feb. 11, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (7-7, 3-2 Big Ten) was upended by No. 2 Michigan last Friday night by a 22-15 score in the opener of a Big Ten weekend home stand at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes rebounded in the weekend finale with a 40-3 victory over Northwestern Sunday.

The Buckeyes seek a second straight victory at third-ranked Illinois at 8 p.m. Friday and complete the weekend with two bouts Sunday against Michigan State and Central Michigan, starting at 2 p.m. in St. John Arena.

ROWLANDS ONE WIN SHY OF OWNING ALL-TIME VICTORY MARK AT OSU
Ohio State senior HWT Tommy Rowlands notched his sixth fall of the season at the 2:37 mark of the first period over No. 5-ranked Greg Wagner last Friday night to claim career win No. 150 in the Buckeyes’ dual loss to Michigan. Two days later, Rowlands opened Ohio State’s 40-3 drubbing of Northwestern with his 10th technical fall of the season to claim his 151st triumph as a Buckeye and tie OSU standout Ed Potakar (1980-83) for tops on the all-time list for career wins at Ohio State.

The win Sunday – Rowlands’ 31st this season – allows the three-time All-American a shot at claiming sole possession of the No. 1 spot in career wins with a Friday victory at Illinois.

With the win vs. Wagner, Rowlands reached the 30-win plateau in a season for the fourth time in his career. ROWLANDS EYES CAREER TAKEDOWN MARK
In the midst of his 23-7 technical fall triumph over Aaron Ferrance of Bloomsburg in the third and final session of the Buckeye Duals Jan. 3, Tommy Rowlands recorded his 600th career takedown. Rowlands has since upped his career mark to 634. He is the second Buckeye in program annals to reach the 600-takedown mark.

With productive efforts in the three duals this weekend, Rowlands has an opportunity to claim the No. 1 slot in career takedowns, surpassing current record-holder Adam DiSabato (1989-1993).

HELLICKSON TO COACH 500th CAREER DUAL AT ILLINOIS FRIDAY
Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson, who is in the midst of his 18th season at the Buckeye helm, will coach his 500th career dual match Friday when the Buckeyes take on the Illini in Champaign.

Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson reached his 250th career dual win at OSU last season and recorded his 325th overall dual win earlier in 2004. The second match at the Chattanooga tri-meet vs. Missouri served as the 400th dual Hellickson has coached in his 18 seasons at Ohio State.

LAST WEEK: BUCKEYES FALL TO No. 2 MICHIGAN, DROP NORTHWESTERN
The Buckeyes fell behind 19-0 before scoring their first victory as they dropped a 22-15 bout to No. 2 Michigan Friday at St. John Arena. The loss dropped OSU to 2-3 at home on the dual season. Ohio State won four of the last five matches of the dual, but could not overcome the 19-point deficit at the outset of the match.

Ohio State senior HWT Tommy Rowlands notched his sixth fall of the season at the 2:37 mark of the first period over No. 5-ranked Greg Wagner to highlight the match for the Buckeyes.

Fellow senior John Clark attempted to start Ohio State’s long climb back with a decision win over No. 4 Pat Owen of Michigan at 165. Clark nearly scored a fall over Owen in the second period before the referee’s whistle stopped the action.

Ohio State also won matches at 184 and 197 as senior Blake Kaplan and freshman J.D. Bergman earned decision wins.

Against Northwestern Sunday, the Buckeyes raced to a 24-0 cushion following wins in each of the first five matches, including a benchmark victory for Rowlands in the opener at HWT as the senior notched career win No. 151 to tie the all-time career mark in Ohio State history.

Following their lone loss at 157, the Buckeyes reeled off four more wins from 165 to 197 as Kaplan tallied his fourth fall of the season just 27 seconds into the match.

Clark scored his sixth straight win, as did Bergman. Jesse Leng recorded his second fall of the season at 133.

SCOUTING THE ILLINI
The third-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team is breezing through its regular season schedule with an 11-1 overall record and 5-1 in the Big Ten. The Illini downed Wisconsin with a 30-9 victory after experiencing their first loss of the season against Minnesota earlier in the weekend.

First-ranked Illini Alex Tirapelle recently pocketed his 26th win of the 2002-03 season, continuing his undefeated winning streak. Illinois grappler Kyle Ott also poses a threat at 125, as he is ranked third in the nation.

Head coach Mark Johnson is in his 12th season at the helm of Illini wrestling. A former Olympic wrestler and All-American, Johnson has compiled a 127-33-1 career record.

LAST YEAR: THE BUCKEYES VS. THE ILLINI
The Buckeyes celebrated senior day against the Illini in 2003 in a dual that came down to the final match. The Buckeyes wrestled to within a slight 18-15 deficit after senior Keaton Anderson and juniors Tommy Rowlands, Jeff Ratliff and Blake Kaplan all captured wins in the earlier bouts. Ohio State junior John Clark faced top-ranked Matt Lackey at 165 and fell in a tight 7-5 decision.

An even closer bout proved to decide the match as the dual closed at 149 pounds, where Ohio State senior Josh Daugherty dropped a 6-4 overtime decision to give the Illini a 21-15 triumph.

OHIO STATE – ILLINOIS SERIES
The Illini own a 33-28-1 edge in the series with the Buckeyes, which dates back to 1922. Illinois has reclaimed the lead in the all-time series with wins in each of the last seven meetings.

SPARTAN SCOUTING REPORT
With an overall record of 1-10 and 0-5 in the conference, Michigan State looks to obtain its first Big Ten victory of the season against the Buckeyes. The Spartans most recently dropped duals to top-ranked squads Purdue, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan.

Spartan grappler Andy Simmons is ranked seventh in the nation at 141 lbs. The senior All-American and three-time national qualifier is 22-6 for the season and was invited to compete in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Feb. 2.

Head coach Tom Minkel is in his 13th season of leading the Spartan wrestling program. An alma mater and member of Central Michigan’s Hall of Fame, Minkel was the only wrestler in school history to go through his entire career undefeated in dual meets.

LAST YEAR BUCKEYES AND SPARTANS FACE OFF AT NATIONAL DUALS
The Buckeyes wrestled Michigan State for a chance to advance to the semifinal match of the 2003 NWCA National Duals. OSU and MSU grappled a to a 15-15 tie en route to a deciding heavyweight battle between Rowlands and Michigan State’s John Wechler. Rowlands helped advance OSU to a semifinal bout with No. 1 Oklahoma State with a 24-10 major decision over the Spartan heavyweight.

In the earlier bouts, OSU 133 Jesse Leng scored a victory via decision to close the Buckeyes to within three at 6-3. Jeff Ratliff followed with a 12-8 decision to knot the score at 6-6. Following a loss in the 149 class, Ohio State rolled off consecutive wins in the 157 and 165-pound weight classes as Keaton Anderson rallied for an 8-6 victory, while John Clark and Buckeye senior Casey Kaputska recorded decisions to give OSU a shot at advancing as they tied the match at 15-15 heading into the heavyweight bout.

OSU – MSU: THE SERIES
Ohio State has claimed wins in the last three duals with the Spartans, upping its all-time win total against MSU to 27 opposed to 41 losses and a pair of draws in dual action. The first meeting is the series dates back to 1927.

SCOUTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN
The Chippewas carry a 9-4 overall record this season and a 3-0 record in the Mid-American Conference. Central Michigan enters the dual meet against the Buckeyes with three recent conference wins against Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois.

No. 10 Jordan Webster is a senior Chippewa at 133 and is 22-2 for the season. Webster has been named the MAC “Wrestler of the Week” for four of the last five weeks. The Chippewas have another successful lightweight in sophomore 125 Kyle Stoffer, who is ranked No. 17.

This is head coach Tom Borelli’s 12th season at Central Michigan. Borelli has led the Chippewas to four consecutive MAC championships and was named the MAC “Coach of the Year” four times during his career.

MEETING SUNDAY IS SIXTH ALL-TIME BETWEEN BUCKEYES AND CHIPPEWAS
Ohio State has suffered just one loss in the series with Central Michigan. The Buckeyes have claimed wins in three of the five all-time matches with one draw, coming in the last meeting in 1998, 18-18.

CLARK AND RATLIFF AFTER TOP SPOTS IN OHIO STATE ALL-TIME CHARTS
Seniors John Clark and Jeff Ratliff also are in pursuit of high marks in the Ohio State all-time charts in wins, takedowns and team points. Clark has entered the Top 5 mark in team points and takedown as he seeks to improve upon his 163 takedowns in 2003-04, the fourth-highest season total in OSU history.

Clark also has elevated his career totals to third behind teammate Tommy Rowlands in all-time takedowns. Ratliff, who is in the career Top 10 in takedowns, also has a chance to join Rowlands and Clark in the Top 5 of the team point standings by the end of teh 2004 season.

No. 2 ROWLANDS AVENGES LOSS TO NO. 1 CUMMINS AT ALL-STAR MEET
Three-time All-American HWT Tommy Rowlands represented Ohio State at the 2004 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic on Monday evening at Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Rowlands, who was invited to the event last year at the University of Delaware but was forced to withdraw because of injury, met top-ranked HWT Pat Cummins of Penn State in the final bout of the evening. Rowlands, who fell to Cummins via a 3-2 decision Jan. 25 in a dual bout between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes, avenged the earlier loss with a last-second 3-1 decision win in overtime over Cummins Monday night.

The pair wrestled through a scoreless first period with Rowlands missing on several scoring opportunities. In the second stanza, Rowlands put the first point on the board with an escape to gain a slight 1-0 edge. He once again missed on a scoring chance and carried the one-point advantage into the third period. Cummins answered with an escape of his own to knot the bout at 1-1 early in the third session and narrowly missed on a takedown attempt on the brink of the circle as the match extended to overtime in a 1-1 stalemate.

In the overtime period, Rowlands fought off a Cummins scoring attempt and notched the first takedown of the match on the edge of the mat moments before the final buzzer to claim the 3-1 win.

With the win, Rowlands sent Cummins to his first defeat of the 2004 season and upped his all-time record against Cummins to 5-2.

ROWLANDS REGAINS No. 1 SPOT WITH EXHIBITION WIN OVER CUMMINS, LEADS FIVE RANKED BUCKEYES
Ohio State senior HWT Tommy Rowlands, who fell from the top position in all national HWT rankings after dropping a tight 3-2 decision to No. 2 Pat Cummins of Penn State on Jan. 25, reclaimed the top spot after defeating Cummins 3-1 in overtime on Monday at the NWCA All-Star meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Although the win does not count toward Rowlands’ regular season record, it returned him to the No. 1 position in all recognized polls.

Four other Buckeyes rank within the Top 20 of their weight class in all of the major polls. Senior Blake Kaplan, who wrestled at 174 in 2002-03, has jumped a weight class and sits at No. 10 in both the TWM and AWN polls and is ranked as high as 9th in WIN.

Two other seniors fall into the Top 15 in 149 Jeff Ratliff and 165 John Clark who are ranked No. 12 and No. 9 by TWM. Ratliff also is ranked at No. 13 by W.I.N. and A.W.N, while Clark sits at 12th in both W.I.N. and A.W.N.

J.D. Bergman, at 197, recently made an improvement from No. 16 to No. 13 by W.I.N. The freshman, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season by TWM, is ranked No. 13 by A.W.N. and No. 20 by A.W.N.

OHIO STATE RANKED AMONG NATIONAL TOP 25
Ohio State, which has an even 7-7 dual record in a schedule that has featured squads Penn State, Purdue and Michigan are recognized among the Top 25 in the nation by three amateur wrestling publications as they enter the weekend series with MSU and CM.

The Buckeyes sit as high at 18th in the latest W.I.N. Magazine poll and 21st in the last NWCA Coaches rankings. After an unranked week in The Wrestling Mall, the Buickeyes now sit at the No. 24 position.

CLARK SURPASSES CLARK
With his major decision win against Penn State Jan. 25, Ohio State senior John Clark registered his 120th career win as a Buckeye, which surpassed the 119 career wins his older brother Mitch Clark accumulated during his national championship career at Ohio State from 1994-98.

On the season, J. Clark has 25 wins, upping his career record to 122-37. His 122 career triumphs passed former Buckeye All-American and current assistant coach Ken Ramsey for seventh all-time wins.

ROWLANDS REACHES 600 PLATEAU IN TEAM POINTS
With his first-round victory via fall in the Oklahoma Gold Classic, Tommy Rowlands became the first Buckeye to eclipse the 500-team point plateau in program history. Rowlands, who entered the season as the all-time leader at OSU with 498.5 team points, now stands at 630.5 for his career.

KAPLAN IN MIDST OF CAREER SEASON
This season has proved to be a personal best for senior Blake Kaplan, who has posted wins in 28 of his 33 matches, including a 10-3 mark in dual bouts, which has upped his career dual record to an outstanding 21-5 ledger.

The 28 wins thus far serves as a career-best for Kaplan as he exceeded his previous high of 22 triumphs from last season. His nine dual wins also stand as a career high.

Kaplan’s senior campaign also boasts new personal standards in all major categories except takedowns, which the Cincinnati native could set this weekend as he enters the bout with 37 takedowns this season, just three shy of topping the 39 he recorded in 2002-03.

Kaplan, a business finance major and three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, also has set personal-bests in major decisions, technical falls and falls. The 184-pounder has defeated six opponents via major decision this season, surmounting his previous record of five. Kaplan’s three falls also top his two posted in 2001-02, while his three technical falls are just one shy of the four career technical falls he carried into his final season. In addition, his 91.5 team points pocketed this season has exceeded the 67.0 obtained in 2002-03 and equals his career total coming into this season.

RATLIFF SCORES 100th CAREER WIN
Ohio State senior Jeff Ratliff, who has seen action at both 141 and 149 this season, entered the 2003-04 season with 77 career wins. The Marion, Ohio native emerged from the Buckeye Duals on Jan. 3 with a 3-0 mark, upping career record at the time to 100-56.

Ratliff is the second Buckeye this season to reach the 100-win plateau as fellow senior John Clark reached the milestone early this season at the Michigan State Open.

Ratliff and Clark are the fifth and sixth Buckeyes to win match No. 100 in the last three seasons, joining Rowlands and departed senior Keaton Anderson, who reached 100 last season and Robert Sessley and Nick Preston in 2001-02.

FOUR TOURNAMENTS = FOUR TITLES
With his titles at Midlands and the Las Vegas Invite, senior Tommy Rowlands earned his third and fourth tournament crown in as many events. The Midlands and Las Vegas titles are added to the Michigan State Open and the Oklahoma Gold Classic first-place performances. Rowlands also won the Michigan State Open and Oklahoma Gold Classic in 2002.

The Midlands crown served as the first of Rowlands’ career.

HELLICKSON POCKETS WIN No. 325
Head coach Russ Hellickson eclipsed the 325-career win plateau as a Division I wrestling head coach after Ohio State’s three-victory finish at last week’s Clarion Duals. Hellickson entered the 2003-04 season with 322 career victories in 21 years of coaching at Ohio State and at his alma mater Wisconsin.

ROWLANDS NAMED BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK NOV. 19
Ohio State senior HWT Tommy Rowlands, a three-time All-American and 2002 NCAA champion, was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Wednesday, Nov. 19 after claiming first place and Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Oklahoma Gold Classic. The tournament title was Rowlands’ second this season and second at the Oklahoma Gold Classic in the last two seasons.

John Clark RECORDS WIN No. 100 AT MICHIGAN STATE OPEN

Ohio State senior 165 John Clark became the fifth Buckeye wrestler to record his 100th win in the last three season under head coach Russ Hellickson.

Clark scored a 5-2 decision in his third match of the day to reach the 100-win plateau.

BUCKEYES EXCEL IN EARLY SEASON TOURNAMENTS
With the championships won by Tommy Rowlands at all four early season tourneys and Blake Kaplan’s titles at the Michigan State Open and Oklahoma Gold Classic along with the tournaments won by John Clark and Jeff Ratliff at the Oklahoma Gold, the Buckeyes now have earned 18 individual tournament titles spanning the last nine tournament competitions during the last two seasons.

In addition, J.D. Bergman’s runner-up and John Clark’s third place at the MSU Open and the fourth-place finishes by Jermaine Jones and Alex Picazo at the Oklahoma Gold boost Ohio State’s place total to 32 during the same stretch. Among the 29 placers is a runner-up by Kaplan at the Las Vegas Invite.

Last season, a quartet of Buckeyes claimed multiple titles as Keaton Anderson (157), Clark (165) and Rowlands (HWT) took titles at both the Michigan State Open and the Oklahoma Gold Classic, while Anton Talamantes (197) recorded championships at the Michigan State Open as well and combined that with a title-winning performance at the Las Vegas Invitational. Anderson added a third title as he claimed the 157-pound championship at the Midlands.

UP NEXT
Ohio State closes the regular season with a trip to Iowa Friday and Northern Iowa Saturday.