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Feb. 5, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (6-6, 2-1 Big Ten) upended No. 19 Purdue (15-4, 1-2 Big Ten) by a 22-18 count Friday night in West Lafayette, Ind. The win is the first for Ohio State in its last six matches as the Buckeyes avenged a tight 21-17 loss to the Boilermakers in St. John Arena during the 2003 season.

Fresh off of its win against Purdue, No. 19 Ohio State now faces a two-match Big Ten weekend series with home meets against No. 2 Michigan and Northwestern. The Buckeyes and Wolverines step into the circle Friday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena, while the Wildcats visit Sunday at 2 p.m.

OHIO STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
125 – Jermaine Jones (Fr./ W. Chester, Pa.)
133 – Jesse Leng (Sr./ Hinckley, Ohio)
141 – Theo Dotson (Fr./ Columbus, Ohio)
149 – Jeff Ratliff (Sr./ Marion, Ohio)
157 – Ryan Rhodes (Fr.,/Toledo, Ohio)
165 – John Clark (Sr./ Canton, N.Y.)
174 – Alex Picazo (Fr./ Columbus, Ohio)
Or
174 – Anthony Magistrelli (So./ Maple Hts.)
184 – Blake Kaplan (Sr./ Cincinnati, Ohio)
197 – J.D. Bergman (Fr./ Oak Harbor, Ohio)
285 – Tommy Rowlands (Sr./ Hilliard, Ohio)

LAST WEEK: BUCKEYES SNAP LOSING STREAK AT NO. 19 PURDUE, 22-18
Ohio State gained a decisive early advantage with wins in the first three bouts. Freshman 197 J.D. Bergman ignited the string of victories with his eighth fall of the season, timed at the 4:27 mark. Tommy Rowlands followed Bergman’s fall with a 10-8 decision to up the Buckeye advantage to 9-0. Rowlands used a reversal and two takedowns in the final two periods to gain the win at HWT.

Following a forfeit win by Jermaine Jones at 125, the Boilermakers, down 15-0, tallied their first win of the dual as No. 16 Rene Hernandez edged Ohio State senior Jesse Leng with a late takedown for a 3-2 triumph at 133. Purdue sliced the Buckeye lead to 15-9 after Doug Withstandley pinned Theo Dotson at the 6:13 mark.

Jeff Ratliff helped OSU rebound with a decision to up Ohio State’s lead to 18-9. Following a loss at 157, John Clark scored Ohio State’s final victory of the match with a major decision. Clark recorded two takedowns in the third period and added a one-minute advantage in riding time to put Ohio State up 10 points at 22-12.

Purdue won the final two bouts at 174 and 184 as No. 4 Ryan Lange of Purdue bested Anthony Magistrelli, while No. 11 Ben Wissel edged No. 7 Blake Kaplan with a decisive reversal in the third period and a riding time advantage to set the final score at 22-18 in favor of the Buckeyes.

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 at Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls, Iowa Monday evening. Rowlands, who was selected 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 of his own 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 Jan. 25, reclaimed the top spot after defeated Cummins 3-1 in overtime at the NWCA All-Star meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa Monday. Although the win does not count toward Rowlands’ regular season record, it elevated him past Cummins in both the thewrestlingmall.com and W.I.N. magazine polls. Rowlands remained at No. 2 in the amateur wrestling news rankings.

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. 11 in both the TWM and AWN polls and is as high at 10th in WIN.

Two other seniors fall into the Top 15 in 149 Jeff Ratliff and 2003 All-American 165 John Clark are ranked No. 12 and 13 by TWM. Ratliff also is ranked at No. 13 by W.I.N. and No. 14 by A.W.N. Clark sits at 12th in W.I.N. and 17th in A.W.N.

J.D. Bergman, at 197, recently made an improvement from No. 17 to No. 20 in TWM. The freshman, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season by TWM, is not ranked by A.W.N., but does appear at W.I.N.’s No. 16 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 24 wins, upping his career record to 121-37. His 121 career triumphs is tied for seventh all-time with former Buckeye wrestler and current assistant coach Ken Ramsey.

OSU – MICHIGAN: THE SERIES
Ohio State has compiled an overall record of 14-60-4 since the Buckeyes began wrestling the Wolverines in 1924. The Buckeyes scout their first victory over Michigan in the last 10 meetings Friday night. Last year’s bout concluded with a 26-17 victory for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

OHIO STATE – MICHIGAN MATCH 2003
The Wolverines shot to an early 11-0 advantage, after scoring a 5-point technical fall and a fall before Jeff Ratliff recorded a decision. With two first-period takedowns and an escape early in the second, Ratliff held a four-point advantage heading into the final frame. Ratliff was able to counter a shot his aggressor to add another takedown midway through the frame.

At 149 pounds, Ryan Churella added another six points to Michigan’s lead after earning a win by injury default over Josh Daugherty. Ohio State closed the gap with a win at 157 pounds Keaton Anderson earned a decision over Ryan Bertin. Anderson struck early with a takedown in the first period and added another takedown and a reversal in the second while holding Bertin to just three escapes and closing the Buckeyes to within 17-6.

Michigan extended its lead again after scoring a pin in the 165-pound bout against John Clark. The Buckeyes cut the Michigan lead again with back-to-back wins at 174 and 184 pounds. Blake Kaplan took the early lead in 174 pound bout, escaping late in the period to take the one-point victory. At 184 pounds, Casey Kapustka scored 5 takedowns for an 11-7 decision victory.

Kyle Smith, of Michigan, sealed the Wolverine dual victory with an 11-6 decision over Anton Talamantes at 197 pounds. Ohio State added another win at heavyweight where Tommy Rowlands scored nine takedowns and collected five near fall points to earn a 23-8 technical fall, ending the bout at 4:52. The win was not enough to notch a victory, as the Buckeyes were defeated, 26-17.

SCOUTING THE TEAM UP NORTH
Michigan enters this weekend’s dual meet with a 13-2 overall record and 3-0 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are on a current five-game winning streak, with wins against Big Ten foes Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and Penn State.

Michigan boasts a No. 2 ranking in the latest W.I.N. Magazine and TWM polls and is tied for third in the NWCA coaches ranks.

Fifth-year senior captain Foley Dowd was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 21.Dowd was awarded Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament honors after notching a perfect 5-0 mark and helping the Wolverines gain the early lead in every one of their duals at the NWCA National Duals.

Joe McFarland is in his fifth season as head coach for the University of Michigan wrestling program. McFarland led the Wolverines to an 11-6 record last season, a sixth-place finish at the Big Ten Conference Championships and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

OHIO STATE AND NORTHWESTERN: THE SERIES
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Northwestern by a 37-27-0 margin, dating back to 1924. The Buckeyes have won their last two battles against the Wildcats, including a 25-14 victory last year.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN
The Wildcats have compiled a 9-4 record overall, but have yet to score a victory in the Big Ten season in four bouts.

Northwestern most recently dropped a 32-7 loss to Top 5 ranked Illinois last week.

Freshman Nick Hayes and sophomore Matt Delugurd were the only two Wildcats to claim a win against the Illini. The win is the fourth in four Big Ten bouts for Hayes.

LAST YEAR: THE BUCKEYES VERSUS THE WILDCATS
Northwestern captured wins in three of the first four weight classes to start the evening as the Wildcats scored major decisions at both the 125 and 133 classes and combined a fall for an early 14-4 advantage. Jeff Ratliff posted a major decision in the 141 match to post the lone Buckeye score.

The momentum began to shift in favor of Ohio State at 157 pounds, where Keaton Anderson claimed his 31st win of 2003 and extended his current win streak to 19 consecutive matches. John Clark followed with a narrow win at 165, as OSU moved to within four at 14-10.

The Buckeyes climbed back to knot the dual score at 14-14 after a convincing 13-0 major decision at 174 Blake Kaplan. The surge continued as the Buckeyes swept the remaining matches at 184, 197 and HWT. Casey Kapustka and Anton Talamantes combined decision wins at 184 and 197 as OSU took the 20-14 edge before HWT Tommy Rowlands notched his third-consecutive win via technical fall, ending the meet at 25-14 in favor of the Buckeyes.

ROWLANDS EDGES CLOSER TO 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 620. He is the second Buckeye in program annals to reach the 600-takedown mark in his career.

Rowlands will seek to claim the No. 1 slot in career takedowns in 2003-04. He currently stands 26 shy of Adam DiSabato (1989-1993) after recording four in his win over Isreal Blevins of Purdue Jan. 30.

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 624.5 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 27 of his 32 matches, including a 9-3 mark in dual bouts, which has upped his career dual record to an outstanding 20-5 ledger.

The 27 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 35 takedowns this season, just five 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.

HELLICKSON COACHES 400th DUAL MATCH AT OSU, CLOSES UPON 5OOth CAREER DUAL
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.

Heading into Friday, Hellickson is just three dual meets shy of coaching match No. 500 in his career.

OHIO STATE RANKED AMONG NATIONAL TOP 25
The Buckeyes, who recorded wins in five of their first six duals before snapping a five-match losing streak with the win over Purdue last Friday, are recognized among the Top 25 in the nation by two amateur wrestling publications as the enters the weekend series with UM and NU.

The Buckeyes sit as high at 19th in the latest W.I.N. Magazine poll and 21st in the last NWCA Coaches rankings. Ohio State fell from the Top 25 in thewrestlingmall.com poll for the first time this season in the Feb. 4 poll.

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.

CLARK AND RATLIFF AFTER TOP SPOTS IN OHIO STATE ALL-TIME CHARTS
2002-03 saw numerous milestones set by Ohio State coaches and athletes as Hellickson claimed his 250th win as Buckeye head coach, while Rowlands eclipsed the 100-victory plateau and also assumed the top spot in OSU career team points. Rowlands already set a standard at Ohio State in 2003 as he recorded his 500th career team point at the Oklahoma Gold Classic.

Clark and Ratliff also will be in pursuit of high marks in the Ohio State all-time charts in takedowns and team points, while Clark will seek to improve upon his 163 takedowns in 2003-04, the fourth-highest season total in OSU history. In fact, each member of the trio of Clark, Ratliff and Rowlands could possibly reach a Top 5 spot in season takedowns by the end of the 2003-04 campaign.

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.

TOP NOTCH SCHEDULE
The Buckeyes boast a schedule that includes competition with ranked squads on a weekly basis this season, including early meets and tournaments featuring the third and fourth place teams from the 2003 NCAA Championships – Oklahoma and Lehigh – before heading into the Big Ten slate, where the Buckeyes will face six opponents who placed in the Top 18 at the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The season climaxes as the Buckeyes play host to the 2004 Big Ten Championships in St. John Arena.

The Buckeyes will compete as one of the top teams in the nation in the NWCA National Duals before starting the Big Ten season with three consecutive ranked opponents in Penn State, at Purdue and Michigan.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes head to Illinois for a bout with the Top 5 ranked Illini Friday, Feb. 13 before returning back to St. John Arena to play host to Michigan State at 2 p.m. and Central Michigan at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15.