No. 4 Ohio State (16-1; 5-0 Big Ten)
at No. 18 Illinois (8-6; 3-3 Big Ten)
8 p.m. ET Friday
Huff Hall, Champaign, Ill.
Web Streaming: fightingillini.com
vs. Michigan State (8-5-1; 2-3 Big Ten)
2 p.m. Sunday
St. John Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Web Streaming: BuckeyeVision
Ohio State Probable Lineup
|125||Nikko Triggas||Jr.||Moraga, Calif./Campolindo||21-15|
|133||Ian Paddock||Fr.||Warsaw, N.Y./Warsaw||18-8|
|141||Reece Humphrey||Sr.||Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North||25-2|
|149||Lance Palmer||Sr.||Columbia Station, Ohio/St. Edward||22-1|
|157||Tony Jameson||Fr.||Youngstown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch||6-3|
|157||Sean Nemec||So.||Garfield Heights, Ohio/St. Edward||12-5|
|165||Colt Sponseller||Jr.||Glenmont, Ohio/West Holmes||22-3|
|174||Dave Rella||Sr.||Akron, Ohio/Penn State||20-6|
|184||Mike Pucillo||Sr.||Strongsville, Ohio/Hofstra||16-4|
|184||TC Pendleton||So.||Hoover, Ala./Hoover||2-4|
|197||C.J. Magrum||Fr.||Oak Harbor, Ohio/Oak Harbor||14-11|
|285||Corey Morrison||Sr.||Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights||16-10|
Illinois Probable Lineup
|Wt.||Name (Overall Record; Big Ten Record)||Year|
|125||John Deneen (9-9, 3-3)||Jr.|
|133||Daryl Thomas (13-14, 1-5)||r-Fr.|
|141||Ryan Prater (12-6, 3-2)||Jr.|
|149||Eric Terrazas (12-5, 1-5)||So.|
|157||Clint Arlis (11-3, 2-1)||Sr.|
|165||Conrad Polz (14-13, 2-4)||r-Fr.|
|174||Jordan Blanton (17-4, 5-1)||So.|
|184||John Dergo (26-2, 6-0)||Sr.|
|197||Patrick Bond (18-10, 4-2)||Sr.|
|285||Pat Walker (10-13, 0-2)||r-Fr.|
Michigan State Probable Lineup
|125||Brenan Lyon||Fr./Fr.||Ithaca, Mich./Ithaca||3-13|
|133||No. 4 Franklin Gomez||5th/Sr||Brandon, Fla./Brandon||17-1|
|141||Dan Osterman||Fr./Fr.||Carson City, Mich./St. Johns||18-10|
|149||No. 12 David Cheza||Jr./So.||Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc||20-8|
|157||Anthony Jones Jr.||Jr./Jr.||Highland Park, Mich./Highland Park||8-13|
|165||Kyle Bounds||Sr./Sr.||Vancouver, Wash./Oregon||25-12|
|174||Ian Hinton||Jr./So.||Nappanee, Ind./Mishawaka||14-13|
|184||Curran Jacobs||Jr./So.||Owosso, Mich./Owosso OR||11-7|
|184||Nick Palmieri||5th/Sr.||Highland Heights, Ohio/Mayfield||13-1|
|197||Tyler Dickenson||Jr./So.||Pewamo, Mich./St. Johns||15-14|
|285||Alan O’Donnell||5th/Sr.||Clarksville, Mich./Lakewood||10-10|
COLUMBUS, Ohio – It is another full weekend of Big Ten wrestling as the No. 4 Buckeyes split action between Champaign, Ill., and Columbus Friday and Sunday.
Ohio State (16-1; 5-0 Big Ten) will travel to Illinois for an 8 p.m. ET match against the Illini (8-6; 3-3 Big Ten) Friday in Huff Hall. The Scarlet and Gray then return to St. John Arena in Columbus where it will host Michigan State (8-5-1; 2-3 Big Ten) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
IT’S A RACE
Ohio State is one of three Big Ten programs undefeated in the conference with two weeks of regular-season competition to go. With a 5-0 record in the league (16-1 overall), the Buckeyes are in second place behind Minnesota (6-0 Big Ten; 11-4 overall). Ohio State will continue Big Ten action Feb. 19 when it travels to Iowa City for a battle against No. 1 Iowa, who sits in third place in the conference with a 4-0 record, (19-0 overall) in Carver Hawkeye Arena.
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.
A FINAL SENDOFF
The Buckeyes will recognize five seniors in their final home match in St. John Arena vs. Michigan State Sunday.
Reece Humphrey has been a cornerstone to the Buckeye lineup since his arrival to campus in 2005-06. A three-time NCAA championships qualifier, Humphrey began his Buckeye career at 133 pounds, a weight class in which he earned his first All-America honor. A 2009 NCAA and Big Ten Championships finalist, Humphrey moved to 141 pounds this season. He appears to be primed not only for his second All-America honor, but his first NCAA title as he currently owns a 25-2 record as the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the nation.
Humphrey is a sports and leisure studies major and is on track to earn his degree this spring. A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Humphrey is the son of Jim and Adrienne Humphrey.
Corey Morrison has definitely made the most of his time as a Buckeye. A four-year starter at 197 pounds and most recently at heavyweight, Morrison made his NCAA Championships debut in 2009. Not one to shy away from pressure, Morrison’s greatest sports thrill was his match-winning pin over Cornell’s Zach Hammond in 2006 to help lift the Buckeyes to an 18-17 win and for that he was recognized as the Big Ten’s Wrestler of the Week.
Academically, Morrison has simply excelled. He is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics last spring, Morrison is currently pursuing his master’s degree in education. A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Morrison is the son of Glenn and Jen Morrison.
Lance Palmer has the opportunity to make his mark in Ohio State wrestling history. Stepping on to campus as a freshman as the No. 1 ranked recruit in the nation, Palmer could join Tommy Rowlands as the only four-time Buckeye All-American this coming spring. He also was the first true freshman since 2004 to garner All-America honors. Palmer has spent exactly four seasons with the Buckeyes, having never redshirted and in each of those seasons he has been instrumental in propelling the Scarlet and Gray to the national spotlight.
Palmer, a communication major, also has made a statement in the classroom and it has not gone unnoticed. Out of more than 1,000 student-athletes, Palmer was awarded the Academic Achievement Award as voted on by Ohio State faculty and staff last season. A native of Columbia Station, Ohio, Palmer is the son of Dwayne and Rita Palmer.
Although an Ohio native, Mike Pucillo wasn’t always a Buckeye. After spending a redshirt season at Hofstra alongside then-Pride head coach Tom Ryan, Pucillo returned to his Buckeye roots and joined Ryan at The Ohio State University in 2006. And even if it is tempting to say, “The rest is history,” that’s not quite true. Pucillo himself will be the first to say there is still work to be done as he envisions capping his Buckeye career not just an individual champion, but a 2010 NCAA team champion as well. The 2008 Big Ten and NCAA titlist, Pucillo also has the chance to become one of only a handful of Buckeyes to earn four All-America honors.
A communication major, Pucillo also strives for excellence in the classroom. He is a two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic selection, as well as a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. A native of Strongsville, Ohio, Pucillo is the son of Al and Debbie Pucillo.
Dave Rella too returned to his Buckeye roots in 2008 to finish out his collegiate wrestling career and in his first season with the Scarlet and Gray he qualified for the NCAA championships in the 174-pound bracket. For the past two years, Rella has been a mainstay at that weight class and as he prepares for a second stint at nationals, he will be an unsuspecting contender as proven when he upset Top 10 wrestler Ryan Patrovich earlier this season in New York. A consistent Top 10 wrestler himself, Rella aspires to instill the passion he possesses in others as a future collegiate head coach.
Rella is an Academic All-Big Ten recipient as a consumer and family financial services major. A native of Akron, Ohio, Rella is the son of Jean and Gary Corotto.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The University of Michigan will serve as hosts of the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships March 6-7 in Crisler Arena. Log on to www.mgoblue.com/tickets for more information.
The 2010 NCAA Championships will take place March 18-20 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. Co-hosted by the University of Nebraska and the Omaha Sports Commission, tickets to the championships officially went on sale Feb. 1. Log on to www.ncaasports.com for more information.
THIS IS WHERE WE STAND
The Buckeyes remain fourth in the latest InterMat rankings released Feb. 9. Six Buckeye wrestlers earned Top 20 rankings in the individual standings.
InterMat Rankings – Feb. 9
125: Nikko Triggas – 20
141: Reece Humphrey – 2
149: Lance Palmer – 2
165: Colt Sponseller – 6
174: Dave Rella – 11
184: Mike Pucillo – 7
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Junior Nikko Triggas recorded back-to-back pins in the Buckeyes’ victories over Michigan and Northwestern Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, respectively. His 2-0 weekend gave him 10 pins on the season and 32 for his career, which is good for sixth place (tie) in the Ohio State career record books. His 14 pins last season moved him to sixth in the program’s single-season records.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ohio State compiled a program-best 29 points against Michigan in its win Feb. 5 in St. John Arena. After dropping 14-straight matches to the Wolverines, the Buckeyes have now won three-consecutive.
Also, the 37 points recorded in the win over Northwestern two days later served as the third most points the Buckeyes have scored against the Wildcats. In 2004, Ohio State put up 40 points and in 1991, scored 39.
BY THE WAY
In the wins over Michigan and Northwestern, Ohio State outscored both teams, 66-15. The Buckeyes beat Michigan, 29-9, Feb. 5, before handing the Wildcats a 37-6 loss.
DOING IT OUR WAY
Four Buckeyes remain undefeated in the Big Ten with two weeks of regular-season competition to go. Reece Humphrey (141), Lance Palmer (149), Colt Sponseller (165) and Dave Rella (174) have 5-0 records, while Mike Pucillo (184) is 3-0.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer has won 13-consecutive matches since dropping his championship bout in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Dec. 5, 2009.
WELL, THAT’S OUT THE WAY
Redshirt-freshman Tony Jameson earned his first Big Ten Conference win against Purdue Jan. 29 in West Lafayette. Jameson beat Colton Salazar, 5-2.
IT WON’T BE EASY
In the Buckeyes’ 2-0 weekend with wins over Purdue and No. 14 Indiana Jan. 29 and 31, respectively, senior tri-captains Lance Palmer and Mike Pucillo not only poured on the offense, but they presented a stifling defense as well.
Palmer gave up only one point on the weekend and Pucillo relinquished just three points – all on escapes.
Junior 125-pounder Nikko Triggas leads the team with 10 pins. Senior tri-captain Mike Pucillo (184) is second with seven falls. Rounding out the Top 3 is Reece Humphrey and Lance Palmer with five pins at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.
Humphrey, also a senior tri-captain, paces the squad with four technical falls. Triggas and 165-pound junior Colt Sponseller are tied for second with two.
Sponseller sits a top of the team standings with nine major decisions. Palmer is second with eight, while freshman Ian Paddock is third on the team with seven.
IT’S A FIRST
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer was named Big Ten co-Wrestler of the Week the conference announced Jan. 26. It is Palmer’s first-career conference weekly honor.
Palmer, second in the latest InterMat standings, defeated No. 5 Frank Molinaro of Penn State in the Buckeyes’ 21-14 win over the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions Jan. 24. The win was the 149-pounder’s third over a Top 10 opponent and fourth against a Top 20 wrestler.
The Buckeye from Columbia Station, Ohio, used a takedown and a reversal, as well as 1:28 riding time, to secure the 5-3 victory en route to handing Molinaro just his second loss of the season.
JUST SO YOU KNOW
With their 21-14 win over Penn State Jan. 24, the Buckeyes won their fourth-straight Big Ten opener.
In 2009, Ohio State beat Indiana, 18-16, to start Big Ten action. A 23-13 victory by the Scarlet and Gray began league play during the 2007-08 season and in 2007, the Buckeyes downed Purdue, 28-6.
MOMENTUM IS KEY
With its 10-0 start following its win over then-No. 8 Cornell, 27-14, in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 9-10, Ohio State recorded its second-best start in program history. The Buckeyes would go on to finish third at the event.
Only Ohio State’s 15-match win streak to start the 2001-02 season bettered the 10-0 mark.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS DEFENSE
In Ohio State’s third-place matchup vs. No. 5 Minnesota in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 9-10, the Buckeyes gave up only 12 points, six on a forfeit. Furthermore, the Buckeyes only relinquished seven points in their opening bout at National Duals vs. then-No. 15 Arizona State.
IT’S NOT HOW YOU START
In each of their three wins at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 9-10, the Buckeyes had to rally from early deficits. Ohio State overcame a 7-3 deficit against then-No. 15 Arizona State before rallying for the 32-7 win.
Against then-No. 8 Cornell, the Scarlet and Gray were down 7-6, but won five of its next seven matches for the 27-14 victory.
In the third-place matchup vs. No. 5 Minnesota, Ohio State was down early, 3-0, but won five consecutive matches en route to a 26-12 win.
4 AND OH!
Senior tri-captain Lance Palmer was a perfect 4-0 at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 9-10. Of his four wins, two were a pin and a major decision.
In 17 dual matches, Ohio State has amassed 137 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, 539-143, 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.
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 Reece Humphrey (141) and runner-up finishes by Lance Palmer (149) and 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. 2 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. 2 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).
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 one more time during the regular season. The Buckeyes will air on same-day delay at 11 p.m. ET Feb. 19 at Iowa.
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, has been giving fans an inside perspective on the Buckeyes’ season with his blog, “Weighing In with Zach Stolarsky.” With nine entries, 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.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Illinois enters its match vs. Ohio State with an 8-6 overall record and 3-3 ledger in the Big Ten. The Illini are paced by five Top 20 wrestlers, including No. 2 John Dergo at 184 pounds. Illinois is led by first-year head coach Jim Heffernan.
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series against the Illini, 32-9, and have dropped four of the last five matches.
Michigan State is 8-5-1 and 2-3 in the Big Ten Conference. The Spartans are led by NCAA champion and fourth-ranked Franklin Gomez at 133 pounds. Leading Michigan State is 19th-year head coach Tom Minkel.
Although, the Scarlet and Gray own a 22-40-1 ledger against the Green and White, it has won four of the last five matches.
The Buckeyes will wrap up the regular season in Iowa City as they wrestle No. 1 Iowa at 8 p.m. ET in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Feb. 19.