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Dec. 1, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team heads west for its third tournament of the season. After a week off during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Buckeyes are set to compete in the 2004 Las Vegas Open Friday and Saturday at the Cashman Center.

Ohio State seeks its fourth straight Top 6 finish at the invite after a sixth-place score in 2003, which followed consecutive third-place finishes in 2001 and 2002. Last season, departed senior Tommy Rowlands highlighted the Ohio State effort with his first career Las Vegas Invite championship at heavyweight.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
The 2004 version of the Las Vegas Invitational features 45 teams from across the nation to compete in the double-elimination, team scoring tournament.

This season, the venue has changed from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Cashman Center.

2004 Las Vegas Invitational:
Friday, Dec. 3
9 a.m. (PST) – Preliminary Rounds
7 p.m. (PST) – Quarterfinals and Consolations
Saturday, Dec. 4
9 a.m. (PST) – Semifinals and Consolations
12:30 p.m. (PST) – Consolation Finals
5 p.m. (PST) – Finals
Tournament information can be accessed at www.cklvwrestle.com.

**LIVE RESULTS at www.thewrestlingmall.com.

LAST TIME OUT: BERGMAN AND ENRIGHT CAPTURE MSU OPEN TITLES
J.D. Bergman, the top seed at 197 pounds at the Michigan State Open, claimed the tournament title, while T.J. Enright scored his second straight tournament crown at 133 en route being named outstanding wrestler for the open. Overall, eight Buckeyes placed, including six freshmen.

Bergman, who rolled through his three matches Saturday shutting out each of his opponents, scored an 8-3 decision in the semifinals to earn a bid to the title match, where he edged Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan, 3-1. The win, gave Bergman his first MSU Open championship after placing second in the event last season. Enright claimed his second straight tournament title Sunday. The winner last week at the Oklahoma Gold Classic recorded falls in each of his matches Saturday before he knocked off No. 1 seed Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois in the semis, 3-1, Sunday. In the final, Enright posted his fourth fall of the tournament, pinning Kyle Stoffer of Central Michigan 4:27 into the match.

ENRIGHT RECORDS BUCKEYE FIRST
T.J. Enright’s consecutive tournament titles at 133 pounds account for an Ohio State first. The Galloway, Ohio native has become the first freshman to win his initial two tournaments in the Russ Hellickson era, which dates back to 1986.

BUCKEYES PLACE SIX AT MSU OPEN
In addition to the tourney titles won by Bergman and Enright, Keegan Mueller, a true freshman, made his first appearance as a Buckeye and took fourth place at 157 pounds. Fellow freshmen Jason Johnstone and Andrew Lowther also made their OSU debuts. Johnstone placed eighth at 149, while Lowther gained a sixth-place standing at 174 after a tight 7-6 loss in his last match. Another freshman, J Jaggers, defaulted to sixth place because of injury. At 165, Zach Craiglow took fifth place.

BERGMAN WINS AT 2004 NWCA ALL-STAR CLASSIC
J.D. Bergman competed in the 2004 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Edwardsville, Ill. Monday, Nov. 22. The returning All-American, who is ranked No. 3 in all individual polls, defeated Scott Barker of Oregon, the No. 7-ranked wrestler in the nation, via an 8-3 decision in the 197-pound bout.

Bergman was slated to face John Trenge of Lehigh, who is rated No. 1 at 197, but Trenge was forced to pull out of the event because of injury.

Early in the match, Bergman trailed Barker, 2-1, after the Duck scored his second escape. Later, Bergman jumped ahead with a takedown on a lateral throw and then took advantage of a missed shot by Barker and scored another takedown to extend his lead to 8-3. After a scoreless third period, Bergman claimed the win via decision.

Bergman is the ninth Buckeye to wrestle in the All-Star event. In the last four seasons, Tommy Rowlands wrestled in the event three times, sitting out once with an injury, while John Clark and Keaton Anderson competed in the 2003 event.

ENRIGHT NAMED BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK FOR NOV. 23
T.J. Enright gained his second tournament title in the opening two weeks of the 2004 wrestling season, winning the 133-pound class at the 2004 Michigan State Open in East Lansing, Mich. With the tourney crown, Enright was named Big Ten wrestler of the week for Nov. 23.

Enright was named outstanding wrestler for the 2004 MSU Open after recording falls in three of his four victories en route to the championship. In the event final vs. Kyle Stoffer of Central Michigan, Enright recorded pin No. 3 at the 4:27 mark of the match to seal the 133 crown.

Enright, the No. 5 seed, upended top-seed and 2004 NWCA All-Star Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois in the semifinal, 3-1. The tournament crown is the second for Enright this season after winning the Oklahoma Gold Classic last weekend. He is 8-0 on the season with three falls.

BERGMAN, ENRIGHT RANKED NATIONALLY
With the quick starts to the 2004-05 season, J.D. Bergman and T.J. Enright have found themselves in the national rankings in their respective weight classes. Bergman, who started at No. 3 in preseason polls at 197, is ranked No. 4 by W.I.N. Magazine in its latest rankings. Enright, unranked at the beginning of the season, is 11th in W.I.N.

NEEDLE RALLIES IN WRESTBACKS FOR THIRD-PLACE FINISH
Redshirt freshman Ryan Needle made his first appearance in a Buckeye singlet a memorable one at the Oklahoma Gold Classic. After dropping his first-round match, Needle combined five straight wins in the 149 wrestlebacks to win third place.

Needle scored a 21-9 major decision in his first consolation bout and then added four consecutive wins via decision, including a 3-1 tally in the third-place match against Pat Lloyd of Buffalo. Needle’s first-round loss came at the hands of eventual runner-up Jason Blake of Kent State.

FIVE WRESTLE IN OHIO STATE DEBUT
Five wrestlers made their first appearance as Buckeyes last week at the Oklahoma Gold. True freshman J Jaggers wrestled into the Top 8 at 141. Redshirt freshmen T.J. Enright and Ryan Needle wrestled well as Enright won the 133-pound class, while Needle took third at 149. Fellow redshirt freshman John Vogel competed at 157, while junior Steve Wolery wrestled unattached in the same class as Needle at 149 .

2003 LAS VEGAS OPEN
Tommy Rowlands added the 2003 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational to his resume, leading the 13th-ranked Buckeyes to a sixth-place standing at the two-day event, which featured 43 teams from across the country. Big 12 representative Nebraska claimed the team crown with 139.5 points. Michigan (133.5), Missouri (114), Arizona State (102.5) and Illinois (102) rounded out the Top 5 ahead of the Buckeyes’ total of 82 team points.

Rowlands moved through the first three rounds Friday with a technical fall, a decision and a second technical fall before posting two more decision wins en route to the HWT crown. Rowlands, ranked No. 1 in the recent Amateur Wrestling News poll, topped fifth-seeded Nate McClain of Nebraska in the semifinals by a 12-5 count prior to downing Michigan HWT Greg Wagner, seeded No. 2, in the finals 11-5.

Also contributing an impressive performance was fellow senior Blake Kaplan, who reached the finals at 184 pounds. Kaplan, the No. 4 seed, used four wins Friday to advance to semifinals where he downed top-seeded Brian Glenn of Illinois via a 10-1 decision before falling to Travis Pascoe, seeded third, in the finals by a 13-5 count.

Several other Buckeyes accounted for team points with placing performances at the event. Senior 141 Jeff Ratliff moved to the fifth-place match before accepting a forfeit and falling to sixth. Fellow senior John Clark earned a seventh-place standing at 165 pounds.

J.D. Bergman also had a chance at claiming seventh place, but fell to fifth-seed Jason Potter in a tight 3-2 match to fall to eighth place in the event.

HELLICKSON COVERS 2004 OLYMPIC WRESTLING FOR NBC
Ohio State wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson served as play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games Aug. 13-29 in Athens, Greece. Hellickson, who was a part of his sixth Olympic broadcast team, teamed with Jeff Blatnick for both Greco and Freestyle wrestling.

Hellickson previously covered wrestling at the 1984, ’88, ’92, ’96 and 2000 Olympic games in the role of analyst at the 1984 Los Angeles games and as play-by-play from 1988 in Seoul, Korea through 2000 in Sydney, Australia. As a wrestler, he was an Olympic silver medallist at the 1976 games in Montreal and a member of the 1980 U.S. team that boycotted Olympics in Moscow.

ROWLANDS NOT FINISHED WITH BUCKEYES YET
Tommy Rowlands, who’s national crown at the HWT class in 2004 touts him as the only four-time All-American in program history and just the second Buckeye to win two NCAA titles, will remain with Ohio State in 2004 as an assistant coach.

Rowlands will assume the volunteer position and offer the expertise that allowed him to conclude his career as the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history. Rowlands, who narrowly missed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at 211 pounds in May, is the all-time leader at Ohio State in career wins (164), career team points (702.0) and career takedowns (705). His career record of 164-14 (.921) ranks fourth all-time in winning percentage at OSU, while his 44 wins in 2004 and 43 triumphs in 2001 rank fourth and fifth all-time in a single season.

Mitch Clark ADDED TO FULL-TIME COACHING STAFF
Following six seasons as a volunteer coach at Ohio State, Mitch Clark joins the Buckeye staff in a full-time capacity in 2004-05.

In his term as a volunteer assistant, Clark helped the Buckeyes to a pair of Top 6 finishes in the nation, including a tie for third place at the 2004 NCAA championships last March. The former two-time All-American and 1998 national champion at 177 pounds also helped his brother John Clark to his second All-American at the 2004 NCAA’s.

M. Clark capped his wrestling career at Ohio State with a 39-1 record and the national crown his senior season, which followed a national runner-up finish his junior campaign. A two-time Big Ten champion, M. Clark ranks 10th in career wins, being passed by John last season.

CLARK CONNECTION
After sending brothers John (2000-2004) and Mitch Clark (1994-98) to glory at the NCAA championships as each earned multiple All-America honors with Mitch winning the 1998 national championship, Russ Hellickson welcomes a third Clark brother, Charlie Clark.

As a senior last season, C. Clark helped Blair Academy to a New Jersey state championship after earning national high school All-American status. Clark will wrestle at 165 in 2004-05.

2003-04 REVISITED: THIRD-PLACE FINISH HIGHEST IN BUCKEYE HISTORY
The tie with Lehigh for third place at the 2004 NCAA’s served as Ohio State’s best in its history, topping the fourth-place standing in 1991.

The third-place finish is the fourth Top 5 standing for Ohio State in the Russ Hellickson era and the 18th-year head coaches’ sixth finish among the Top 6 teams in the country.

The 77.5 team points accumulated ranks as the most by Ohio State at a national meet, topping the 64.5 team points amassed in 1992 when the Buckeyes placed fifth.

2003-04 REVISITED: FIVE ALL-AMERICANS A BUCKEYE FIRST
The five Buckeyes who wrestled their way into the Parade of All-Americans at the 2004 NCAA Championships marked the most All-America honors won by an Ohio State team at any national meet.

Ohio State previously scored four All-Americans at the national meet in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The Buckeyes had placed three individuals in the parade each of the last two seasons.

HELLICKSON ALL-AMERICA COUNT NOW AT 40
With the record number of five All-America honorees at the 2004 NCAA championships, Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson scored his 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th All-Americans in his 18 years at the OSU wrestling helm.

Since 1990, Hellickson has helped direct 40 individuals to All-American status, which ranks among the Top 10 in the county in that span.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes remain on the road with a trip to the All-Ohio Championships at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.