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Feb. 18, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 21st-ranked Ohio State wrestling team lost a heartbreaker to No. 7 Illinois, 19-18, Sunday in Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. After four lead changes, the Buckeyes (8-6; 4-4 Big Ten) held the 18-15 advantage going into the final match at 174 pounds, but were unable to hold on, as Illinois’ Matt Winterhalter recorded a 9-0 major decision.

Up next for Ohio State is the 2007 Big Ten Wrestling Championships March 3-4. Hosted by Michigan State University, the event will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, Mich.

No. 3 Mike Pucillo (Fr., Cuyahoga, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) helped the Buckeyes jump out to an early 4-0 lead when he scored a 17-5 major decision over No. 16 John Dergo. Pucillo never trailed, ending the first period with a 4-1 lead on a pair of takedowns. He added five more points in the second session on two takedowns and an escape and concluded the period with a 9-2 lead. In the final period, Pucillo continued to dominate, putting up six points on three takedowns, plus a riding time advantage of 3:06. Pucillo also was awarded a point after Dergo was called for his second stall.

With the Buckeyes trailing 6-4, after losses at 197 and 285 pounds, Illinois forfeited the 125-pound match, giving Ohio State six points and a 10-6 lead. At 133 pounds, eighth-ranked Jimmy Kennedy pulled the Fighting Illini within one (10-9) after decisioning T.J. Enright (Jr., Galloway, Ohio/Westland), 4-3. Enright was down 3-1 with 1:50 left in the third period, but tied the score at 3-all after recording a takedown with 45 seconds left. However, Kennedy notched an escaped with 39 seconds on the clock for the 4-3 win.

At 141 pounds, No. 12 Cassio Pero defeated J Jaggers (So., Northfield, Ohio/St. Peter Chanel), 11-4, giving the Fighting Illini a 12-10 lead. However, No. 17 Lance Palmer (Fr., Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) pushed the Buckeyes ahead, 14-12, after beating Dan Zeman, 14-5. Palmer finished the first period with a 2-0 lead on a takedown and increased his margin to 5-0 at the end of the second after recording a takedown and receiving an additional point on Zeman’s second called stall. It was in the third session, Palmer took control of the match, notching three takedowns, an escape and 5:22 of riding time. Palmer also was awarded a point on Zeman’s third warning.

Jason Johnstone (So., Massillon, Ohio/Perry) followed that performance with 8-0 win over Clint Arlis to give the Scarlet and Gray an 18-12 lead. Johnstone took a 2-0 lead on a takedown after the second period and increased his advantage to the final tally on two takedowns, an escape and a riding time of 1:52.

At 165 pounds, No. 10 Chris Vondruska (Sr., Lakewood, Ohio/Hofstra) dropped a close 3-1 decision to 14th-ranked Roger Smith-Bergsrud in overtime. Even at 1-all in the extra period, Smith-Bergsrud scored a takedown as the final second ticked off the clock for the win.

No. 21 Ohio State 18, No. 7 Illinois 19 OSU Illinois 184 – No. 3 Mike Pucillo mdec. No. 16 John Dergo, 17-5 4 0 197 – No. 12 Patrick Bond dec. No. 6 J.D. Bergman, 6-5 4 3 285 – John Wise dec. Corey Morrison, 2-1 4 6 125 – Will Livingston wins by forfeit 10 6 133 – No. 8 Jimmy Kennedy dec. No. 18 T.J. Enright, 4-3 10 9 141 – No. 12 Cassio Pero dec. J Jaggers, 11-4 10 12 149 – No. 17 Lance Palmer mdec. Dan Zeman, 14-5 14 12 157 – Jason Johnstone mdec. Clint Arlis, 8-0 18 12 165 – No. 14 Roger Smith-Bergsrud dec. No. 14 Chris Vondruska, 3-1 18 15 174 – Matt Winterhalter mdec. Tommy Priestley, 9-0 18 19