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Feb. 18, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (8-9, 4-3 Big Ten) ended the weekend with a decided victory against Michigan State (30-8), and two tough losses to Illinois (19-14) and Central Michigan (21-14).

The Buckeyes, who wrestled their last home meet of the 2003-04 campaign Sunday against MSU and CMU, now look to end the regular season on the road with wins against No. 10 Iowa on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and No. 16 Northern Iowa Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the UNI’s West Gym.

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) or James King (Rockwall, Texas)
165 – John Clark (Sr./ Canton, N.Y.)
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)
ROWLANDS BECOMES No. 1 ALL-TIME IN CAREER WINS AND TAKEDOWNS
Senior Tommy Rowlands climbed to the top of the Ohio State record charts in both career wins and career takedowns in the three-dual weekend vs. Illinois, Michigan State and Central Michigan.

Friday at Illinois, Rowlands recorded his 152nd career victory, surpassing Ed Potokar (1980-83) for No. 1 on the OSU wins list with a technical fall over No. 9 Mike Benhke.

Sunday, the three-time All-American recorded career takedown No. 647 to claim the top spot in all-time takedowns at OSU in another technical fall win vs. MSU. In the second bout Sunday, Rowlands added a third technical fall over No. 17 Bill Stouffer of CMU. With the takedowns recorded in the wins Sunday, Rowlands surpassed former Buckeye Adam DiSabato (1989-1993) for tops on the list. Rowlands now stands at 663 takedowns for his career.

Rowlands has won his last five matches – three against ranked opponents – either by fall of technical fall.

HELLICKSON COACHED 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, coached his 500th career dual match Friday when the Buckeyes wrestled at Illinois.

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 DOWN SPARTANS, FALL AT ILLINOIS AND AGAINST CMU
The Buckeyes competed in three duals over the weekend as they traveled to No. 3 Illinois and dropped a tight 19-14 decision, while returning home Sunday for a pair of bouts against Big Ten foe Michigan State and No. 15 Central Michigan.

The Buckeyes downed the Spartans by a 30-8 count, but suffered another tough loss to CMU in the finale Sunday, falling 21-14.

Seniors Jeff Ratliff, Blake Kaplan and Tommy Rowlands each completed the three duals with a 3-0 record as Kaplan knocked off third-ranked Ryan Glynn of Illinois Friday and Rowlands defeated a trio of wrestlers via technical fall en route to setting Ohio State all-time records in both career wins and career takedowns.

The match Friday at Illinois served as the 500th dual of OSU head coach Russ Hellickson’s career.

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 takedowns 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 the 2004 season.

CLARK UNBEATEN IN BIG TEN ACTION
senior 165-pounder John Clark has recorded an unblemished 7-0 in Big Ten dual action this season. He has scored four major decisions in in the seven matches and also claimed an 8-5 decision over then-No. 4 ranked Pat Owen of Michigan Feb. 6.

TOP BOUTS ON THE HORIZON AT 149, 165, 184 AND 197 THIS WEEKEND
This week the ranked wrestlers on the Ohio State side will face tough tests from fellow ranked wrestlers at Iowa and Northern Iowa. No. 10 Jeff Ratliff will grapple with two ranked opponents in No. 8 Ty Eustice of Iowa and No. 14 Jon Garvin of Northern Iowa. Freshman 197 J.D. Bergman also will be faced with a pair of ranked combatants this weekend as he will lock up with No. 11 Ryan Fulsaas of the Hawkeyes Friday night and sixth-ranked Sean Stender of UNI Saturday evening.

Seniors Blake Kaplan and John Clark have bouts with ranked wrestlers this weekend as well. No. 9 Kaplan will step on the mat at 184 Friday against No. 18 Paul Bradley, while fellow No. 9 Clark will encounter Top 15 wrestler Hesston Johnson Saturday in Cedar Falls.

AN EYE ON IOWA
Iowa will host Ohio State in what will be the 150th dual meet wrestled in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The 10th-ranked Hawkeyes are 10-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten. Iowa most recently has defeated Big Ten squads Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, but has dropped tight dual decisions to Michigan and Minnesota.

The Hawkeye’s boast three Top Ten wrestlers in No. 2 Luke Eustice at 125, No. 5 Cliff Moore at 141 and No. 3 Tyler Nixt at 174. The trio were undefeated in their bouts against Minnesota and Wisconsin last weekend.

Jim Zalesky is in his seventh season as head coach of the Iowa University wrestling program. Zalesky has an overall record of 104-23 and has led the Hawkeyes to three NCAA and two Big Ten titles.

LAST YEAR: OSU FALLS TO IOWA AT NWCA NATIONAL DUALS
The Ohio State Wrestling team fell to Iowa, 34-10, in the third place match at in the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals as the Buckeyes finished among the Top 5 in the event for the second-consecutive year.

Ohio State spotted the Hawkeyes 24-0 to begin the match as a result of a combination of three pins and a forfeit before Keaton Anderson improved his record to a perfect 5-0 for the event with a decision over Joe Johnston to put the Buckeyes on the board at 24-3. John Clark topped Blake Anderson for a 4-point decision to slice into the Hawkeye lead at 24-7.

Following a major decision loss in the 174 match and a defeat via decision in the 184-pound weight class, Anton Talamantes tallied an overtime sudden victory for the 3-point victory.

The heavyweight finale of the match featured a rematch of the 2002 heavyweight national championship between Steve Mocco and Rowlands. Rowlands took a 3-2 third period lead before Mocco scored a takedown in the waning moments of the match to seal the Hawkeye victory and the third-place standing.

BUCKEYES – HAWKEYES SERIES
Iowa leads the series 29-2 and has one the last 27 matches between the two teams. The Hawkeyes took the 2003 meeting, 34-10, at the 2003 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals at St. John Arena.

NORTHERN IOWA SCOUTING REPORT
The Northern Iowa wrestling squad has compiled a 9-6 overall record in the 2003-04 campaign. The Panthers most recently defeated Central Oklahoma and Arizona State with a close one-point win, but lost to Oklahoma State and Iowa State.

Senior 141 Dylan Long is ranked third nationally, while junior 174 Eric Hauan sits at the No. 4 position. Both wrestlers were victorious in the NWCA All-Star Classic in Cedar Falls on Feb. 2.

Brad Penrith is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Panthers. He has compiled a record of 38-28 over the last three seasons. Last year, Penrith led UNI to a 12-6 dual meet record and an 11th place finish at the NCAA Championships.

OSU AND UNI LAST MEETING IN 2001
The Buckeyes defeated Northern Iowa 30-3 at St. John Arena in the 2001 season. With the win, OSU extended its winning streak to six-consecutive duals following an 0-3 start.

In the marquee match-up of the dual, then-freshman No.1 Tommy Rowlands battled Paul Hynek in the heavyweight division. After falling behind early, Rowlands came back form a 7-3 deficit at the end of the second period to force sudden victory overtime with a score of 11-11. In the extra period, both wrestlers nearly scored points on takedowns with 22 seconds remaining. Rowlands secured the 13-11 victory when he scored a takedown with nine seconds remaining in the overtime period.

PANTHERS AND BUCKEYES ALL-TIME
Ohio State holds a narrow 6-5 lead in the series, which began in 1978. The Buckeyes defeated the Panthers 30-3 in their 2001 meeting.

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 REMAINS AT No. 1 SPOT, 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 and has held on to that billing for the last three weeks.

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. 9 in both the TWM and WIN polls and is ranked 10th in AWN.

Two other seniors fall into the Top 15 in 149 Jeff Ratliff and 165 John Clark, who are ranked No. 11 and No. 9 by TWM. Ratliff is ranked at No. 10 by W.I.N. and No. 13 by A.W.N, while Clark sits at 11th in both W.I.N. and A.W.N.

J.D. Bergman, at 197, is ranked No. 14 by TWM. The freshman, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season by TWM, is ranked No. 20 by A.W.N. and No. 19 by W.I.N.

OHIO STATE RANKED AMONG NATIONAL TOP 25
Ohio State, which has an 8-9 dual record in a schedule that has featured ranked squads such as Penn State, Lehigh, Oklahoma, Illinois and Michigan are recognized among the Top 25 in the nation by three amateur wrestling publications as they enter the weekend series with Iowa and Northern Iowa.

The Buckeyes sit as high at 20th in the latest W.I.N. Magazine poll and 23rd in the last NWCA Coaches rankings. The Buckeyes have remained at the No. 24 position in the The Wrestling Mall for the last two weeks.

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 28 wins, upping his career record to 125-37. His 125 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 32of his 38 matches, including a 14-3 mark in dual bouts, which has upped his career dual record to an outstanding 26-5 ledger.

The 32 wins thus far serves as a career-best for Kaplan as he exceeded his previous high of 22 triumphs from last season. His 14 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 41 takedowns this season, 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. In addition, his 109.5 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
The Buckeyes serve as the host of the 2004 Big Ten Championships. The conference meet will run March 6-7 at St. John Arena.