COLUMBUS, Ohio – The third-ranked Ohio State wrestling team (8-0) will participate in the 2010 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Saturday and Sunday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. University of Northern Iowa is serving as the tournament’s host. The Buckeyes will look to improve upon its fifth-place finish at the National Duals from a season ago.
FOLLOW ON TWITTER
In addition to the latest news and updates on the official website of Ohio State Athletics, OhioStateBuckeyes.com, Buckeye wrestling fans can now follow the Scarlet and Gray on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wrestlingbucks.
Also, for general Ohio State athletics news and notes, visit http://twitter.com/Brutus_Buckeye.
IF YOU GO
Fans can purchase tickets to the 2010 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals by visiting the McLeod Center ticket office, by calling the box office at 319-273-4TIX or by ordering online at www.unipanthers.com.NWCA members will receive complimentary admission.
2010 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Ticket Prices
All Tournament Pass $45
All Tournament Senior/Student $35*
All Sessions Group (10+) $30
One Day Session Pass $25
One Day Session Senior/Student $20*
*Must be under 18 or have a valid University or College ID
Saturday, Jan. 9
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Division I, II, III, NAIA, Women
Sunday, Jan. 10
9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Division I, II, III, NAIA, NJCAA, Women
3 p.m.- 5 p.m. All Division Championships
For additional information on the 2010 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, visit nationalduals.com or unipanthers.com.
IF YOU CAN’T GO
Livesportsvideo.com will provide live coverage of the 2010 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals for free at http://www.livesportsvideo.com/golive/goliveevents.asp?q=NWCA. In addition to live coverage of the Buckeyes, Livesportsvideo.com also will broadcast Division II, III, NAIA, NJCAA and women’s competitions.
THIS IS WHERE WE STAND
The Buckeyes remain third in the latest InterMat rankings released Jan. 5. Five Buckeye wrestlers earned Top 20 rankings in the individual standings.
InterMat Rankings – Jan. 5
141: Reece Humphrey – 1
149: Lance Palmer – 3
165: Colt Sponseller – 7
174: Dave Rella – 19
184: Mike Pucillo – 8
With his 3-2 upset over 10th-ranked Ryan Patrovich of Hofstra Jan. 3, senior Dave Rella re-entered the InterMat individual Top 20 rankings. Rella, who wrestles at 174 pounds, is currently ranked No. 19.
With their 8-0 start, the Buckeyes are off to their third-best start in program history. In 2001-02, Ohio State began the season with 15-consecutive wins and in 1989-90, the Scarlet and Gray began the season on a nine-match win streak.
Junior 125-pounder Nikko Triggas leads the team with seven pins. Senior tri-captain Mike Pucillo (184) is second with six falls. Rounding out the Top 3 is Reece Humphrey with five pins at 141 pounds.
Humphrey, also a senior tri-captain, paces the squad with three technical falls. Triggas collected two technical falls during this past weekend for second place on the team.
Triggas and freshman Ian Paddock (133) are at the top of the team standings with five major decisions. Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer (149), Colt Sponseller (165) and sophomore Sean Nemec (157) have recorded four so far.
In eight dual matches, Ohio State has amassed 82 bonus points. On eight pins against Cleveland State Nov. 22 in the Buckeye Duals, the Buckeyes collected 24 bonus points.
Ohio State is outscoring its opponents, 301-39, in dual matches this season. The Buckeyes’ largest margin of victory in 2009-10 was a 48-point win (51-3) over Cleveland State Nov. 22 in the Buckeye Duals at St. John Arena.
NOTING JAN. 3
Third-ranked Ohio State began its preparation for the NWCA National Duals by wrestling three times Jan. 3 and its groundwork had positive results. The Buckeyes (8-0) posted a 3-0 record on the day, first beating Hofstra, 32-6, in Hempstead, N.Y., before shutting out George Mason, 46-0, and Columbia, 37-0, in New York, N.Y.
In all, Ohio State recorded six major decisions, four technical falls and three pins to earn 23 bonus points. So far this season, the Buckeyes have amassed 82 bonus points in dual action. Additionally, Ohio State has outscored its opponents, 301-39.
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer, a Columbia Station, Ohio, native had an exceptional afternoon, recording a pair of major decisions and a fall at 149 pounds. Fellow team captain and No. 1-ranked Reece Humphrey (Indianapolis, Ind.) stayed perfect on the season as he collected wins No. 16, 17 and 18.
After falling short of the Oklahoma Gold Classic team title by just .5 points in November, the Buckeyes had a reversal of fortune when they won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Collegiate Invitational by one point over Cornell Dec. 4-5 in Primm, Nev.
Ohio State won the tournament with 122.5 points courtesy of a championship run by No. 1 Reece Humphrey (141) and runner-up finishes by No. 4 Lance Palmer (149) and No. 7 Colt Sponseller (165).
Humphrey, a senior tri-captain, scored six victories en route to the title. The native of Indianapolis, Ind., scored bonus points in three of his six wins, which included a pin, technical fall and major decision. His final three bouts came against seeded wrestlers in No. 8 Kenny Hashimoto of Northern Colorado, No. 4 Kyle Dake of Cornell and No. 6 Fil Novachkov of Cal Poly. Despite the tough competition, Humphrey was able to outscore his final three opponents, 24-11. Humphrey’s win over Dake proved pivotal in the team standings as well. The Big Red stood just 10 points behind the Buckeyes entering the second and final day of competition.
Palmer, another senior team captain, was second for the second consecutive year at 149 pounds, a weight class considered one of the toughest in the nation. The No. 2-seed from Columbia Station, Ohio, Palmer faced No. 1 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in the final and dropped a close 3-1 decision. Palmer had won nine-straight matches before his setback in the final.
Sponseller also was a runner-up for the second straight year at 165 pounds. Sponseller faced a Badger in the final in No. 1 seed Andrew Howe. The junior from Glenmont, Ohio, lost, 6-3, in the championship bout.
With Top 8 finishes, Nikko Triggas (125), Dave Rella (174) and Mike Pucillo (184) also were instrumental in guiding Ohio State to the team title. Triggas was eighth, Rella was seventh and Pucillo earned a fourth-place finish.
MORE FOR THE MANTEL
Senior tri-captain Reece Humphrey was named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week Nov. 24.
The native of Indianapolis, Ind., won his 100th career collegiate match Nov. 22 at the Buckeye Duals in St. John Arena. He hit the century mark with his 5-3 decision over Notre Dame College’s Adam Koballa in session two.
Humphrey, the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 141 pounds, went 3-0 at the Buckeye Duals, winning his other two matches on pins. He opened the event with a 4:58 fall against Josh Falk of Findlay. Humphrey then closed the day by pinning Cleveland State’s Ronald Butler in 4:06.
Humphrey began the weekend Nov. 20 with a 7-1 decision over No. 15 Seth Ciasulli of Lehigh in St. John Arena.
Humphrey shared the honor with Brad Pataky of Penn State and it was his second-career Big Ten weekly award. He also won Nov. 4, 2008.
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer competed in the 44th NWCA All-Star Classic Nov. 22 in Titan Gym on the campus of California State Fullerton. Palmer, No. 3 at 149 pounds in the latest InterMat rankings, dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 5 Kyle Borshoff of American.
The native of Columbia Station, Ohio, is in the running to become Ohio State’s second four-time All-American. He would join Tommy Rowlands (2001-04). So far, Palmer has garnered a pair of fourth-place finishes at the NCAA championships during his freshman and junior seasons. He finished eighth his sophomore year. Palmer also has two third-place Big Ten championships finishes to his credit (2007 and 2009).
IN CASE YOU WERE COUNTING
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer became the 14th Buckeye to participate in the All-Star Classic. In all, Ohio State has had a representative 17 times thanks to four-time All-American Tommy Rowlands’ four appearances from 2001-04.
As hosts of the 43rd NWCA All-Star Classic last year in St. John Arena, Ohio State also had two feature bouts with Reece Humphrey at 133 pounds and Colt Sponseller at 165 pounds. Humphrey dropped a 5-1 decision to Joe Baker of Navy and Sponseller suffered a 13-9 setback to Moza Fay of Northern Iowa.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE
With the National Letter of Intent early signing period having come and gone, InterMatwrestle.com released its early period recruiting class rankings for 2010. The Buckeyes are No. 9 out of 25 teams.
Signing NLIs for Ohio State this past November were Josh Demas, Derek Garcia, Maxwell Gladstone, Logan Stieber and Drew Stone.
Leading the standings were Iowa, Northwestern and Iowa State.
YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT!
In 2009-10, fans who attend Ohio State home matches can expect to be a part of an exciting atmosphere in St. John Arena as they cheer on the Buckeyes.
When Ohio State welcomes Penn State and first-year head coach Cael Sanderson to St. John Arena Jan. 24, the wrestling team hopes fans will assist them in breaking the wrestling attendance record. Tom Ryan and the Buckeyes are encouraging all fans to wear Scarlet in an attempt to surpass their previous best of 5,341 set two seasons ago vs. Michigan.
A week later, Feb. 5 vs. Michigan, is Military Appreciation Night. Ohio State will take time to recognize those who are currently or were involved in the Armed Services. Also, the evening will feature a tribute to former Buckeye wrestler Ray Mendoza, who died of wounds sustained during Operation Steel Curtain Nov. 14, 2005 in New Ubaydi, Iraq. Mendoza is believed to be the first and only former or current Ohio State student-athlete to die in the war in Iraq.
Past Buckeye wrestlers will be recognized as the evening also is alumni night.
Following Ohio State’s match vs. Northwestern Feb. 7, fans will have an opportunity to meet their favorite Buckeye wrestler during a postmatch autograph session.
Finally, Feb. 14 is Senior Day. Five Buckeyes will be recognized prior to the match vs. Michigan State.
For continued up-to-date information on Ohio State wrestling promotions, as well as all current news on Ohio State athletics, visit the official website, OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
NAME YOUR PRICE
Tickets to Ohio State home matches in St. John Arena are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Groups of 10 or more can pre-purchase tickets for $4. Ohio State students are admitted free with a valid BuckID.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Schottenstein Center box office, online through ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster’s phone center, (614) 431-3600.
Those interested in group sales also can call Kathleen Razinger in the Ohio State group sales department at (614) 292-4797.
CHECK IT OUT
Ohio State will appear on the Big Ten Network three times during the 2009-10 season, the network announced. The Buckeyes will air on same-day delay at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 vs. Penn State, 11 p.m. Feb. 5 against Michigan and again at 10:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Iowa.
Ohio State and Penn State will wrestle at 2 p.m. Jan. 24 in St. John Arena. The Scarlet and Gray and Michigan will start at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in Columbus. The Top 2 finishers at the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championships, the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes will meet in a conference showdown at 8 p.m. ET in Iowa City.
Zach Stolarsky, a 197-pound junior, will give fans an inside perspective of the Buckeyes’ season with his blog, “Weighing In with Zach Stolarsky.” With seven entries already, Stolarsky offers a unique and humorous side to the up-to-date news and notes that can be found on the official website of Ohio State athletics, OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
J Jaggers, two-time NCAA champion and current volunteer assistant coach, was honored at the team’s second-annual The National Championships Wall Ceremony Sept. 26 at the Steelwood Athletic Training Facility.
“The wall ceremony is about imprinting the vision of greatness on the minds of our team early enough in the season so they can do something about it,” Tom Ryan, head coach, said. “J Jaggers set a high standard on the mat and in the classroom for others in the program to follow. We appreciate all the alumni and friends who came out to honor J.”
Arguably the most eye-catching feature of Ohio State’s training facility, the northeast portion of the room honors the 11 former and current Buckeye national champions with life-size likenesses of each wrestler. The replicas stand approximately 6 feet in stature and display each wrestler in an action or stance shot during one of their championship seasons.
The celebration came in recognition of Jaggers’ second-consecutive national title at 141 pounds. Former Ohio State coach Tommy Rowlands was the guest speaker. It was quite fitting for Rowlands to serve as the presenter. Before Jaggers’ second NCAA title, Rowlands was the last Buckeye to win two NCAA crowns. In all, three Buckeyes have captured two national championships – Jaggers (2008, ’09), Rowlands (2002, ’04) and Kevin Randleman (1992, ’93).
Jaggers also concluded his collegiate career as a three-time All-American and three-time All-Academic team member.
WHAT AN HONOR
Head coach Tom Ryan and the Buckeyes were recognized by Columbus City Council Sept. 21 with a Resolution of Expression. Council member A. Troy Miller introduced Ryan and the 36-member squad with the official document in city council chambers.
Also present were Buckeye assistant coach Joe Heskett, volunteer assistant coach J Jaggers and strength and conditioning coach Alex Picazo.
The Resolution is in acknowledgement of Ryan, the 2009 National Coach of the Year, guiding the Scarlet and Gray to three Top 10 NCAA finishes, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009, since his arrival to campus four seasons ago. Under Ryan’s leadership, Ohio State has three individual national champions, 12 All-Americans, six national finalists and 22 national qualifiers.
Academically, the Buckeyes have boasted seven National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) Academic All-Americans, 21 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and 26 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes.
Ohio State also is active in the Columbus community. The team routinely volunteers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, participates in the Second & Seven Foundation, which strives to eliminate illiteracy, and partners with the Mad River Wrestling Officials Association to help raise awareness and funds for autism.
WHAT A CLASS
Head coach Tom Ryan’s current freshman class was ranked the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation by internet publication InterMatwrestle.com. The 2009-10 freshman class is comprised of 11 Buckeyes, including early National Letter of Intent signees Nick Heflin, Ian Paddock, Collin Palmer and Jacob Vaughan last November. Peter Capone signed an NLI in June.
The class enters its first season as Buckeyes having won nine individual high school state titles.
PATH TO A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
A regular-season finale vs. Big Ten Conference rival Iowa and numerous top-notch matches in St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio, highlight Ohio State’s 2010 schedule.
The Buckeyes have four home matches remaining. The Big Ten season kicks off Jan. 24 when the Buckeyes welcome Penn State and first-year head coach Cael Sanderson.
The home schedule continues when Michigan comes to Columbus Feb. 5. The match against the Wolverines is Alumni Night. Two days later Feb. 7, Ohio State and Northwestern will meet in St. John Arena.
The Buckeyes’ home schedule concludes against Michigan State. After a one-year hiatus, the Buckeyes and Spartans will wrestle Feb. 14.
The Buckeyes began their slate with open-tournament action at the Oklahoma Gold Classic Nov. 14 in New York. Following a busy weekend hosting Top 20 team Lehigh Nov. 20 and the Buckeye Duals Nov. 22 in St. John Arena, the Scarlet and Gray returned to the road Dec. 4-5 for its annual trip to Nevada for the Las Vegas Invitational. The Buckeyes won the tournament by one point over Cornell (122.5-121.5) thanks to a championship performance by No. 1 Reece Humphrey (141) and runner-up finishes by No. 4 Lance Palmer and No. 7 Colt Sponseller at 149 and 165 pounds, respectively.
Ohio State wrapped up 2009 with a decisive 34-12 victory over then-No. 19 Edinboro at Perrysburg High School in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The Buckeyes then opened the New Year Jan. 3 at Hofstra, winning, 32-6, before shutting out George Mason (46-0) and Columbia (37-0) in New York City. Ohio State will look to improve upon its fifth-place finish from a year ago at the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa, this weekend.
Ohio State concludes January in the state of Indiana, where it will wrestle Purdue Jan. 29 in West Lafayette before traveling to Bloomington to take on Indiana Jan. 31.
The following month the Buckeyes and Illinois will meet Feb. 12. The Illini also will introduce first-year head coach Jim Heffernan.
Ohio State’s regular-season finale will showcase itself in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season will battle for bragging rights Feb. 19.
The postseason gets underway March 6-7 with the Big Ten championships in Ann Arbor. Michigan will serve as the event’s host. Two weeks later March 18-20, the Buckeyes will travel to Omaha, Neb., for the NCAA championships at the Qwest Center.
OPENING WEEKEND AT ST. JOHN ARENA
The Buckeyes began their home schedule Nov. 20 and Nov. 22 at St. John Arena on a high note, going 4-0 with weekend wins over No. 16 Lehigh (W, 22-12), Findlay (W, 42-3), Notre Dame College (W, 37-3) and Cleveland State (W, 51-3).
Four duals in four days mattered little as Ohio State outscored its opponents, 152-21.
Against Lehigh, the Buckeyes were able to get out to a fast start thanks to junior Nikko Triggas’ pin at 125 pounds. In all, Ohio State won six of 10 bouts, including a crucial major decision by No. 8 Colt Sponseller at 165 pounds and back-to-back 4-3 decisions by No. 3 Mike Pucillo and Cody Magrum at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively. Also registering in the “win” column was No. 1 Reece Humphrey with a 7-1 victory, as well as No. 3 Lance Palmer, who also was a 7-1 winner.
Two days later, Ohio State hosted 11 teams in a four-session event that featured programs from both Ohio and Pennsylvania in the Buckeye Duals. Ohio State starters and nonstarters were able to see action on the day.
Also of note, with his 5-3 decision over the Falcons’ Adam Koballa in the second session, Humphrey won his 100th career collegiate match.
In all, the Buckeyes recorded 14 falls. In fact, eight of Ohio State’s wins against Cleveland State in the final session were pins, including three consecutive falls from 125-141 pounds and 184-285 pounds, respectively.
Pat Harrington, Johnny Hiles, Jared Kusar, TC Pendleton and Jeremy Sanders, key workout partners in the Steelwood Athletic Training Facility, took advantage of an opportunity to compete in dual action. Harrington, a 125-pound native from Sandusky, Ohio, pinned Nick Weisjahn of Findlay in 1:32. Hiles, a Central Ohio product from Westerville, who has been vying for a starting position at heavyweight, also won his lone match of the day, a 6-0 decision against the Roughneck’s Cody Ruffer.
With Palmer at Cal State Fullerton competing in the 44th Annual NWCA All-Star Classic, Kusar was a nonstarter who saw the most time at 149 pounds. The Akron, Ohio, native went 3-0, all decisions.
HALF A POINT AWAY
Just .5 points kept the Buckeyes from the Oklahoma Gold Classic title Nov. 14 in Brockport, N.Y. Despite two champions and three runner-up finishers, Ohio State’s 144 team points were not enough to overcome Oklahoma’s 144.5. Pacing the Scarlet and Gray were tri-captains Reece Humphrey and Lance Palmer with titles at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.
Coming in second were Colt Sponseller (165), Dave Rella (174) and Mike Pucillo (184), while Ian Paddock (133) and Sean Nemec (157) rounded out the Top 3 in their weight classes.
Following a one-week break, the Buckeyes get back in action at 2 p.m. Jan. 24 against Penn State in St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Buckeyes’ match vs. the Nittany Lions will air on a tape-delay basis on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m.