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EVANSTON, Ill. – With a pair of runner-up finishes, as well as one Top 5 finish, the Ohio State wrestling team finished eighth with 57 points at the 2011 Big Ten Championships in Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. Senior Colt Sponseller and redshirt-freshman Nick Heflin were runners-up at 165 and 174 pounds, respectively, while redshirt-sophomore C.J. Magrum finished fourth at 184 pounds.

In the team race, Penn State edged Iowa by one point, 139.0-138.0. Minnesota rounded out the Top 3 with 109.5 points. 

In all, Ohio State qualified four wrestlers to the NCAA championships in Ian Paddock, Sponseller, Heflin and Magrum.

In the 165-pound final, Sponseller dropped a 3-1 sudden victory decision to No. 1 seed Andrew Howe of Wisconsin. In a rematch from the Big Ten championships final from a year ago, Sponseller and Howe were knotted up at 1 each at the end of regulation. Howe was able to score a takedown in extra time for the win.

Up next at 174 pounds, redshirt-freshman Heflin lost, 8-5, to Penn State’s Ed Ruth. Ruth, the No. 1 seed, was able to score a takedown and 3-point nearfall in succession to take a 5-0 lead about 15 seconds into the second period. At one point, Heflin, who hails from Massillon, Ohio, was able to cut the deficit to two (5-3), but Ruth answered with a takedown and coupled with riding time, earned the win.

In the third-place match, Magrum faced No. 1 seed Travis Rutt of Wisconsin, who held the Buckeye from Oak Harbor, Ohio, scoreless in his 6-0 win. Prior to his third-place matchup vs. Rutt, Magrum downed fifth-seed Tony Dallago of Illinois, 9-3. Magrum owned a slim 4-3 advantage with less than 25 seconds remaining in the match, but scored crucial back points as time expired to secure the victory.

Peter Capone concluded his first-career Big Ten championships with a seventh-place finish at 197 pounds. The redshirt-freshman from Johnson City, N.Y., held on for a 2-0 win vs. Illinois Joe Barczak. After scoring an escape in the second period, Capone accrued 1:55 of riding time in the win. It was the third meeting this season between Capone and Barczak with Capone earning his first win against the Fighting Illini Sunday.

In his final Big Ten championships match, Sean Nemec finished eighth at 157 pounds. Nemec dropped a 4-0 decision to Jackson Morse of Illinois in the seventh-place matchup. 

At 133 pounds, sophomore Paddock forfeited his final two matches because of injury.

Up next, the Buckeyes will compete at the 2011 NCAA Championships March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Postmatch Quotes
Tom Ryan, head coach
Overall impression of championships
The Big Ten tournament didn’t offer our staff too many surprises. Ian Paddock, C.J. Magrum, Sean Nemec and Pete Capone all wrestled above their seeds which is positive. Nick Heflin was seeded second as a freshman and earned a spot in the finals. That is not easy to do. As always, Colt wrestled his heart out.

The tournament paints a clear picture of the absolute focus a man needs to have to have success at this level. We have to get tougher and better.

Colt Sponseller, senior 165 pounds
On the match vs. Andrew Howe of Wisconsin in the final
When the match went into overtime I just kind of got lazy and he took advantage of it.

On what he learned from the Big Ten championships
I have to score. I didn’t take advantage of what was given to me today. I am going to have to push the pace at nationals. Basically, I have to be focused and wrestle smart and just go out there and win.

C.J. Magrum, redshirt-sophomore 185 pounds
On his performance
Overall, I’m excited on how I did as the seventh seed, taking fourth. My first step was to make nationals, now I’m trying to get on the podium.

On the team’s overall performance
We just left it all out there. The points were hard-earned.

Nick Heflin, redshirt-freshman 174 pounds
On his performance
I was happy with my performance up until the finals. Everyone can agree you want to finish first, so there is some happiness and some disappointment. I got caught in one bad mood and it cost me the match.

On Penn State’s Ed Ruth
He’s a great opponent and works really hard, but I work hard too. Now I just have to work harder and know how to wrestle for nationals.

NCAA Qualifiers
Wt.-Allocation (Buckeye/Big Ten Finish)
133 – 8 (Paddock/6th)
165 – 5 (Sponseller/2nd)
174 – 8 (Heflin/2nd)
184 – 6 (Magrum/4th)

2011 Big Ten Championships
March 6
Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Ill.
Host: Northwestern

Team Standings (Final)
Place Points School
1.  139.0  Penn State
2. 138.0  Iowa
3.  109.5  Minnesota
4.  103.5  Wisconsin
5.  86.5  Michigan
6.  64.0  Illinois 
7. 62.0  Northwestern
8.  57.0  Ohio State
9.  51.0  Purdue
10.  50.0  Indiana
11.  49.5  Michigan State

Individual Results
133 – Sixth
No. 8 Ian Paddock BYE
No. 1 Andrew Long (Penn State) dec. No. 8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State), 6-2
No. 8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State) dec. Akif Eren (Purdue), 3-2
No. 8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State) dec. Levi Mele (Northwestern), 4-3
No. 3 Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. No. 8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State), OSU injury default
No. 8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State) vs. Zach Sanders (Michigan), OSU injury default

157 – Eighth
No. 2 Derek St. John (Iowa) pinned Sean Nemec (Ohio State), 2:05
Sean Nemec (Ohio State) dec. No. 8 Matt Mincey (Minnesota), 9-3
Colton Salazar (Purdue) dec. Sean Nemec (Ohio State), 8-3
Jackson Morse (Illinois) dec. Sean Nemec (Ohio State), 4-0

165 – Runner-Up 
No. 2 Colt Sponseller BYE
No. 2 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Ryan Leblanc (Indiana), 8-1
No. 2 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State) dec. No. 3 Cody Yohn (Minnesota), 2-0
No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) dec. No. 2 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), 3-1sv

174 – Runner-Up
No. 2 Nick Heflin BYE
No. 2 Nick Heflin (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Justin Zeerip (Michigan), 2-1
No. 2 Nick Heflin (Ohio State) dec. No. 6 Ben Jordan (Wisconsin), 2-1
No. 1 Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. No. 2 Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 8-5

184 – Fourth 
No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) dec. Aaron Jones (Northwestern), 3-1
No. 2 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) dec. No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State), 6-0
No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) dec. Hunter Collins (Michigan), 4-2
No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) dec. A.J. Kissel (Purdue), 2-1
No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) dec. No. 5 Tony Dallago (Illinois), 9-3
No. 1 Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) dec. No. 7 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State), 6-0

197 – Seventh
No. 8 Peter Capone BYE
No. 1 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin) dec. No. 8 Peter Capone (Ohio State), 6-2
No. 8 Peter Capone (Ohio State) dec. John Schoen (Northwestern), 9-3
Tyler Dickenson (Michigan State) dec. No. 8 Peter Capone (Ohio State), 6-4
No. 8 Peter Capone (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Joe Barczak (Illinois), 2-0