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Dec. 14, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 5th-ranked Ohio State wrestling squad looks to conclude an impressive tournament season at the 40th annual Midlands Wrestling Championships Tournament held at Northwestern University. The Buckeyes, who have tallied second and third place finishes at the Oklahoma Gold Classic and Las Vegas Invitational, will compete in the two-day Midlands on Dec. 28 and 29.

THE MIDLANDS TOURNAMENT
The Midlands Tournament will take on place on Saturday, Dec. 28 and Sunday, Dec. 29.

The tournament schedule is as follows:
Saturday
Session I 9:30 a.m. (CST)
Session II 7 p.m. (CST)

Sunday
Semifinals Noon (CST)
Championships 7:30p.m. (CST)

RECAPPING THE LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL
The Buckeyes concluded their third straight stellar tournament performance as the Buckeyes claimed a third place finish Saturday at the Las Vegas Invitational.

OSU senior 197 Anton Talamantes (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) grabbed his second tournament title of 2002, while fellow senior Keaton Anderson (Hilliard, Ohio) claimed second place losing to 2002 NCAA champion Luke Becker of Minnesota in the finals of the 157-pound class. Ohio State juniors Tommy Rowlands (HWT, Hilliard, Ohio) and Blake Kaplan (174, Cincinnati, Ohio) placed third in the event with each of them dropping heart-breaking overtime decision in the semifinals.

Juniors Jeff Ratliff (141, Marion, Ohio) and John Clark (165, Canton, N.Y.) scored fifth place finishes for the Buckeyes in the two-day event.

BUCKEYES SHINE IN FIRST THREE MEETS
OSU has kicked off the 2002-03 season in impressive fashion as the squad boasts nine tournament titles and four runners-up performances contributing to a combined total of 18 placers coming in the Michigan State Open, Oklahoma Gold Classic and Las Vegas Invitational.

A quartet of Buckeyes have claimed multiple titles as Keaton Anderson (157), John Clark (165) and Tommy Rowlands (HWT) took titles at both the Michigan State Open and the Oklahoma Gold Classic, while Anton Talamantes (197) has recorded championships in the Michigan State Open as well and combined that with a title-winning performance at the Las Vegas Invitational.

The foursome, along with fellow Michigan State Open champ Blake Kaplan (174), have amassed an impressive 63-7 combined mark to start the year with 227 takedowns, which bests the OSU opponent takedown total of 144 by a whopping 83 takedowns.

Ohio State is dominating in other statistical departments as the Buckeyes currently hold 305-58 advantage over their opponents in back points and a decisive 17-1 edge in technical falls.

NATIONALLY-RANKED BUCKEYES
Ohio State jumped up a spot to No. 5 in the InterMat.com, Wrestling Mall and W.I.N. Magazine national wrestling polls , while holding strong as the No. 6 squad in the nation in the NWCA Division I rankings.

Keaton Anderson heads the 157 weight class for the Buckeyes. He is ranked in the Top 10 in all three polls, listed respectively at No. 6 in each of the Wrestling Mall, Amateur Wres-tling News and Intermat.com poll.

Tommy Rowlands dropped a notch to No. 2 in the A.W.N. and TWM polls and No. 3 in the Intermat rankings following his third place finish at the Las Vegas Invite.

John Clark is also ranked in all three polls in the 165 weight class. He is ranked seventh among his competitors in the WrestlingMall poll, but finds himself in the Top 10 in The Intermat.com and W.I.N. Magazine polls at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.

Anton Talamantes, who competes in the 197-pound weight class, has a grasp on the sixth and eighth spots in each of the TWM and AWN polls, while standing in the 12th position in the Intermat ranks following his title at the Las Vegas Open.

Josh Daugherty (149), Jeff Ratliff (141), Blake Kaplan (174) and Casey Kapustka (184) have also received rankings in each of their weight class this season.

ANDERSON NAMED BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK & WRESTLER OF OKLAHOMA CLASSIC
Senior wrestler Keaton Anderson was selected as the Big Ten’s first wrestler of the week for the 2002-03 season (Nov. 12) as he dominated the field on his way to claiming the 2002 Michigan State Open Championship at the 157-pound weight class.

Anderson was also recognized as the wrestler of the tournament for his efforts in the Oklahoma Gold Classic as he captured the 157-class with a 12-4 victory in the finals over George Carter of Bloomsburg.

Anderson, who is ranked among the Top 10 in all the major individual rankings, captured the title at the MSU Open in an unchallenged fashion as he won the six round event by a combined score of 68-5. Anderson defeated No. 17 Mike Tolar of Kent State in the finals of the open by a 9-1 count. The 157-pounder also recorded consecutive technical falls in each of the first two rounds.

2001-02 IN REVIEW
Ohio State had one of its best campaigns in recent years with a 20-4 record and a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten. What really set the season apart from many others was the 2002 National Duals held in Columbus. As the No. 7 seed in the event, the Buckeyes pulled off consecutive stunning upsets.

The Buckeyes defeated No. 2 Oklahoma State, 19-13 to set up one of the biggest wins in OSU history over No. 3 Oklahoma. The Buckeyes, down four points heading into the heavyweight match, needed a Tommy Rowlands win by major decision over Leonce Crump to tie the dual and hope the criteria would declare OSU the winner. Rowlands pinned the Sooner giving the Buckeyes a 19-17 win and a shot at No. 1 Minnesota in the finals.

In Big Ten action, the Buckeyes lost duals with No.1 Minnesota, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Iowa to finish 5-3 for the second year in a row and captured fourth place at the Big Ten Championships on the strength of Tommy Rowlands’ heavyweight crown. Three Buckeyes claimed runner-up spots. Jeff Ratliff (133), John Clark (165) and Nick Preston (197) each took second in their respective weights.

TWENTY SOMETHING
The Buckeyes tied the all-time school mark for victories in a season during the 2001-02 campaign. OSU’s 20-4 record tied the 1989-90 and 1991-92 teams that also broke the 20-win plateau. The first record was set in 1989-90 when Russ Hellickson guided the team to a 20-5 finish. Two years later, Ohio State concluded its campaign with a 20-4 record.

HELLICKSON REAPS SECOND BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD IN 2002
OSU head coach Russ Hellickson was selected by the Big Ten coaches as the co-coach of the year in the conference for his team’s performance in 2001-02. Hellickson shared the title with Minnesota’s J. Robinson. This is the second time the members of the conference have selected Hellickson as its top coach. He also received the honor in 1991.

HELLICKSON ENTERS 17TH SEASON AT OSU
Hellickson commences his 17th year as head of the Scarlet and Gray and his 21st overall. Hellickson stands 310-150-6 overall and 239-128-6 with the Buckeyes. Under Hellickson’s guidance, OSU has produced at least one All-American in each of the last 13 seasons with five wrestlers capturing a total of six national championships. He began his coaching duties in the 1982-83 season with his alma mater Wisconsin and coached the Badgers to a 71-22-0 record in four seasons prior to arriving in Columbus.

HELLICKSON APPROACHES 250th CAREER WIN AT OHIO STATE
Hellickson needs just 11 dual meet victories in the 2002-03 campaign to achieve 250 career wins at Ohio State. Hellickson has lead the Buckeyes to three 20-win campaigns in his career, including a 20-4 mark last season.

REWRITING THE RECORD BOOK
Several of the Ohio State record charts have been restructured following the 2001-02 season and the early going in 2002-03. Tommy Rowlands, Keaton Anderson and John Clark are three active wrestlers who have etched their names into school annals.

Rowlands moved into the Top 10 with 335 career takedowns following last season and is the only non-senior to ever make the list. Rowlands has accumulated 52 takedowns in the three competitions thus far, which has elevated him to No. 6 all-time. For the 2001-02 season, Rowlands’ 155 were seventh-most in program history. John Clark tallied 132 takedowns in his sophomore campaign which is good for tenth all-time in single season.

Rowlands also has made his way toward the top of the list for career and season team points accumulated with 370.0 good for fifth all-time. His 165.0 team points in 2002 tied former Buckeye grappler and current OSU assistant coach Mitch Clark for second all-time in season points scored. Rowlands 162.0 team points in the 2000-01 campaign place him fourth in that category as well.

Anderson is now No. 7 in career back points with 281.

SEVEN NCAA QUALIFIERS RETURN IN 2002
Nine Buckeyes qualified for the 2002 NCAA tournament last season with seven wrestlers receiving seeds, led by No. 1 Tommy Rowlands, who was joined by No. 4 Nick Preston (197), No. 7 Jeff Ratliff (133), No. 8 John Clark (165), No. 9 Keaton Anderson (149), No. 11 Robert Sessley (141) and No. 12 Josh Janson (157). Jesse Leng (125) and Blake Kaplan (184) were not seeded.

While Rowlands faired the best of the nine qualifying Buckeyes, winning his first NCAA title, Nick Preston advanced into the semifinal rounds before falling to Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson, who ended his career with a flawless and well-renowned 159-0 record.

Senior Anton Talamentes qualified for the national meet during his sophomore season in 2000-01.

UP NEXT
Ohio State returns home after the first of the year to serve as host of the 2003 Buckeye Duals, which are set to be held Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. in St. John Arena. The dual field includes Buffalo, Clarions, Cleveland State, Drexel, Duke, Eastern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Tennessee-Chattanooga.