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Zach Stolarsky, a 197-pound junior from Solon, Ohio, wrapped up his season-long blog “Weighing in with Zach Stolarsky” today. 

April 2
The season is over now and it’s taken a while for me to write this blog. We finished 8th in the country with three All-Americans – Nikko Triggas (8th) at 125 pounds, Reece Humphrey (3rd) at 141 pounds and Lance Palmer 2nd at 149 pounds. This is the good and bad thing about wrestling for the Buckeyes. For most teams an 8th-place finish and 3 All-Americans would be a dream come true. But not for us. But what’s done is done. Sometimes, things don’t go the way you want them to. I think the guys on the team all know we worked hard and that’s not the reason we didn’t accomplish our goals. But we did have a lot of good things happen this year. I had a good time watching the NCAA championships this year. It really is incredible to watch the tournament, like I said in the last blog. It was great to see how many Ohio State fans made the trip out there. It really shows people support our team. I also didn’t mind when I got recognized because of this blog, which is a bit weird because I always think I’m only writing to my mom on this thing. Also the picture of me on OhioStateBuckeyes.com is really old and I don’t think it looks like me now. I mean, of course it looks like me, but I don’t think it looks THAT MUCH like me.

Anyway, thanks to the people who said something positive to me about the blog and for those who said negative things, well, I think you feel bad enough so I won’t say anything else. I really enjoyed writing this blog this season. I don’t know if someone else will write a blog next year or if I will again, but whatever the case, keep following Buckeye Wrestling. NCAA CHAMPS 2011!!!!

March 17
Time for NCAAs. The only tournament of the year that really matters; it is the one people will always remember. We do have 9 guys going to nationals and I still believe that those 9 are going to bring home a national title. It’s crazy to think our season is almost done. It seems like yesterday we were getting our gear and going for a run up C-deck at the football stadium. It’s weird to think that five months of competition and seven months of practice can just fly by like that. Well it doesn’t really fly by when you’re going through two practices a day and your coaches can find a way to make each day harder than the last when you didn’t think it was humanly possible. You know what I mean right? I am excited to go to NCAAs and watch though; it really does just make you want to grab a pair of wrestling shoes and start getting ready for next year so you can be a part of it.

I didn’t attend NCAAs as a freshman and then my next year I decided I wasn’t going to go again, but then J Jaggers convinced me to go. J was preparing to win his second national title and while we were talking, he suggested I go. Now a little background on J. He was the defending national champion, but his season had not been going so well. He had I think 7 losses going into the tournament and it was looking like he might come up short on his goal to repeat. So anyway, he’s explaining the atmosphere of the tournament – the fans cheering, the top athletes wrestling in the country, the thrill of it all and how there is nothing else like it. He told me he wanted to know all his teammates, who had worked so hard also, were there, screaming as loudly as possible when his hand was raised after the championship match. Sold. That really meant a lot to me for him to say all that; that he cared if I was there and wanted me to experience all of that with him. And you know what, he didn’t disappoint. He won the title and I might have been the second loudest person in that arena, after his dad of course. I’m sure this year will be even better because not only are we going to bring home some individual champions, but there is going to be a new team champion in your Ohio State University Buckeyes. Ok, well, until next time…

March 5
Last week, not going to lie, wasn’t pretty. If you look at the final score, we did not look like the best team in the country. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see a lot of close matches and a lot we can improve on. The good thing is the national title isn’t determined through a dual meet.

This week we’ll be in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship title and then in two weeks we will compete for what it’s all about – a NCAA Title.

So last weekend is over and we are past it. This weekend we are focused on getting all 10 wrestlers to nationals and doing that means staying healthy and feeling good. We had hard practices all last week to really get us ready for the Big Ten Championships. No one can accuse us of just kicking back until nationals.

The NCAA changed how you qualify for nationals two years ago, so let me try and explain how it works. Every wrestler who competes in the conference tournament has the ability to qualify a spot for their weight class at nationals. They can do that by becoming a gold standard or a silver standard. You become a gold standard by being ranking in the Top 28 in the coaches poll, ranked in the Top 28 in the RPI poll, and have over a .750 winning percentage over Division I opponents. If you meet at least two of the three, you only qualify a spot from your conference for your weight class, it doesn’t guarantee you a spot.  Before each conference tournament, each conference knows how many people qualify for each weight class. This accounts for 284 of the 330 wrestlers who will automatically compete in the tournament.  After each of the tournaments, a committee selects the remaining wrestlers based on which standard they are and common opponents with all weight classes having exactly 33 wrestlers.  OK, wow, that’s A LOT. But I think it’s a good process. It seemed to work last year, but it was only the first year.

Next time I hope to be talking to you about how all 10 wrestlers qualified and we are looking to follow up our Big Ten Championships title with a NCAA Tournament title. Ok, well, until next time…

Feb. 18
It seems like every week I get to talk about another dominating performance by the Buckeye wrestling team. We won 17 out of 20 matches this weekend, beating both Illinois and Michigan State. When I told you how hard our Big Ten season would be, I swear I wasn’t lying. Michigan State was our last home match of the season and it was Senior Night, so that was great to get a win for the five seniors. We are losing 5 very key starters after this year – Reece Humphrey, Lance Palmer, Dave Rella, Mike Pucillo, and Corey Morrison. I could go on and on telling you all what they have done, but the blog would be too long and besides, you all are here for my AMAZING insight into Buckeye Wrestling. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take a lot to replace all of them, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Why deal with a problem now when you can just put it off, that’s what I always say.

Anyway, with those two wins we have an undefeated Big Ten dual meet record. We are not the only team that is undefeated in the conference; there is one more team left – Iowa. And you know what, I can’t wait. They’re good, I’m not going to lie, but our team believes we can win. When you get two great teams together you can just throw out the stats and the history. How corny do I sound right now? But you know what, I don’t care. I’m pumped for this dual. It’s going to be a great dual. They always have a great crowd and you know people will be out in full force for this one. They have the crowds that I think we can get here at Ohio State for all our duals. The match is also on the Big Ten Network for those of you who can’t make the journey out to Iowa. This is our last dual of the season before the Big Ten championships, so obviously we want to end our dual season on a high note. Hope you all find a way to watch.  Ok, well, until next time…

Feb. 12
Hey all. Thanks for checking back. I hope everyone got a chance to see us wrestle this past weekend. We had two dominating performances against Michigan and Northwestern. We won 15 of the 20 matches and we didn’t even give up any bonus points in the losses either. We also got bonus points in 12 of the 15 wins. That’s how you win big matches. We also got two pins this weekend by Nikko Triggas. It was great to see him with his family since they made the trek out here from California. But pinning for him is no big deal; I feel like he pins his opponent every time he wins. It was amazing to see how many people showed up for the Michigan match. For those of you who don’t know, fans had to battle through a snow storm to get to St. John Arena. I almost couldn’t make it and I live just across campus. So thank you to those who made it out.

This weekend we have two more Big Ten opponents. We’re at Illinois tonight and our last home match is Sunday against Michigan State at 2 p.m., so I hope to see a packed house. Illinois is a tough team ranked in the Top 25. Michigan State features a line up with the returning national champion, so that will be a great way to end our home wrestling season.

So this past Sunday was the Super Bowl just in case you didn’t know. Some of us went to Reece Humphrey, Mike Pucillo and Dave Rellas’ house to watch the game and I have a few stories. First, Rella, Sean Nemec and I decided, without talking to each other, that this would be a good time to wear our Cleveland Browns gear. We all know the Browns are going to play in the Super Bowl next year so we thought we’d get a head start. Needless to say, some of the non-Browns fans had some things to say about that. Second, before the game even started, Rella spent that time trying to convince us that he is going to play football for the Buckeyes next year and then play in the NFL. He figures the NFL is dying for a guy who is 5’8 and runs a 6.0 40-yard dash. So maybe I made up the 40 time, but it can’t be much faster than that. Ok, well, until next time…

Feb. 4
I know how upset you all are that there has not been a recent blog. I had two midterms last week and well, I’m not going to lie, I wanted to procrastinate and not study and write this blog, but I heard my mom’s voice telling me to study, so that’s what I did.

But now we need to talk about the start of the Big Ten season. We kicked it off two weeks ago with a win over 13th-ranked Penn State. We followed that up with a trip over to the state of Indiana to face Purdue and Indiana. The Big Ten Network covered the Purdue match, so I hope you got to watch that dominance by the Buckeyes. We won 8 of 10 matches; if that’s not dominance, then I don’t know what is. We wrestled the way we knew we could and we took care of business. We followed that with a big win over 14th-ranked Indiana. That one was a little bit closer with us winning 6 matches to 4, but it was key for us to get bonus points in some matches. Any time you can go on the road during the Big Ten season and win, that’s a good weekend.

This weekend though, we get to come home for the big one, the dual with Michigan. So Friday, be at St. John Arena at 7 p.m. and help us set the attendance record for this match. And while you’re at it, make sure to set your DVR because this match is also on the Big Ten Network. This one’s going to be a lot of fun so I hope everyone reading this will be there. Then Sunday we will finish off the weekend with a match against Northwestern at 11 a.m. Come watch some great wrestling this weekend.

And by the way, doing the shout out didn’t go so well – people complained! That’s the last time I try and doing something nice. Ok, well, until next time…

 Jan. 22
Hey everyone. So last weekend, as you all know, we had National Duals. We were seeded third and took third with some bad things and some good things. We beat three good teams in Arizona State, Cornell, and Minnesota. Cornell was the team that beat us last year and Minnesota is a conference rival, so it’s always nice to knock them down a few pegs. AND Minnesota is one of the teams we won’t see in our conference dual season this year. We lost to Iowa State and I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t pretty to watch. They are a tough team, but as of right now, they are one of the two teams we will need to be better than in March. But there is a lot of time left and we can take a loss like that now as long as we don’t let it happen again and learn from it. One of the bright spots of the weekend was Lance Palmer going undefeated so congrats to him.

So now that National Duals are over, our non-conference dual season is over too. The rest of the season will be against all Big Ten opponents starting with Penn State this Sunday. This part of our season is really in the grind, matches every weekend against some of the top teams in the country. For those of you who don’t know, there is NO SPORT that has a harder conference than Big Ten wrestling. Practices are getting a lot harder now too with more live wrestling. This last week was really tough, we didn’t have a competition this weekend, so our coaches took that as an excuse to really put us through the grind. That includes a 6 a.m. run Saturday morning. We all know it will be worth it and we know we need it. We didn’t end up where we wanted to during National Dual weekend and going into the Big Ten season there is no such thing as an easy match. Practices will be spent focusing more on developing our 10 starters and getting them ready for NCAAs.

Like I said, we are kicking off our Big Ten season with Penn State and I hope to see a packed house. Wrestling aside, one of our goals this year was to break the Ohio State wrestling attendance record at St. Johns. So drive, fly, take a train, walk, run and bring all your friends to this match. If you for some crazy reason can’t be there, the match will be shown on tape delay on the Big Ten Network at 10 p.m.

So I promised some people I would give them a shout out. Luke Tipple our strength trainer, Jason Johnstone a wrestling alumni and two-time national qualifier at 157 pounds and Steve Ruthen, our team manager/occasional wrestler. Ok, well, until next time…

Jan. 7
I want to first start by asking everyone to keep Tony Jameson’s father and his family in their prayers. He was in an accident over break and I want to wish Tony and his family the best in this difficult time.

Guess whose back? Back again. Zach is back, tell a friend. So if you get that reference, I bet you wish you didn’t. Anyway, Happy New Year everyone and wow did we start off 2010 right. Just a dominating performance against three Division I teams in Hofstra, George Mason and Columbia. We outscored them in team points, 115-6, along with shutting out two. I know that’s what we are supposed to do being the third-ranked team in the country, but still that’s impressive.

It’s now time for the big boys in the NWCA National Duals. This one will be a grind with most of competition ranked in the Top 16. It’s a dual-meet tournament so we need a team effort win it. When you look at the bracket, most of these match ups are the ones you will see at the national tournament in March. So if you can’t go, log on to livesportsvideo.com to watch for free online. And as always, I know we will win this tournament too. It’ll be nice to give the Vegas tournament title some company before the Big Ten and NCAA championships. Reece was last year’s tournament MVP, so let’s see if we can bring back that hardware too.

So now a funny story, at least what I think was funny.  So we were on a 12-day break for the holidays and the first day we reported back was Dec. 27th. So Coach Ryan is giving us updates, telling us about practice, etc., when all of a sudden he gets a big smile on his face and says he has something amazing to show us. So he goes to his office and looking like Ralphy when he got his Red Rider BB gun, Coach Ryan fires up a remote control helicopter and starts flying it around the wrestling room. He was so in love with that toy, I’ve never seen him that happy and I think only a national title will ever make him that happy again.

Talk to you again after national duals; hope you enjoyed the welcome back blog. Ok, well, until next time…

Dec. 18
Hey everyone! So how excited are you all?!?! You must have been on pins and needles waiting to see if I was going to write a last blog for 2009 and as you can see, yes dreams do come true and I have. So we ended 2009 with a dual vs. an always tough Edinboro team and handled them 34-12. It was great being able to wrestle them in front of all the Buckeye fans in Northwest Ohio.  It was a great crowd and we all really enjoyed the atmosphere at Perrysburg High School, so thanks to everyone who made that happen. The match was a lot of fun too (except for the fact I lost). Our team won 7 out of the 10 matches. We also had 2 pins and a forfeit, so that really helped put up some bonus points. In fact, all 7 of the matches we won we got bonus points for our team. We are going to need those points at the national tournament so it’s good to see we are capable of getting them. 

So here is our 2009 season so far; we are 5-0 in duals, including 2 wins over Top 15 teams and a 2nd-place finish at Oklahoma Gold and then a 1st-place finish at the Las Vegas Invitational. Along with that, Reece Humphrey, one of our senior tri-captains, is undefeated. Even with all that, we still have a long way to go and a lot of areas to improve.

So during our trip to Perrysburg, our team had a lot of moments that made me wish this was a video blog because I know I am not a good enough writer to convey how ridiculously funny these moments were. These moments include singing and dancing to the Lady Gaga song “Bad Romance.” You may read this and think we are all just some crazy college kids, but then we followed that up with some deep discussions about evolution and whether or not there are aliens out there. So don’t think we are just some dumb jocks, we can get deep.

So we start 2010 off with a bang with to duals against Hofstra, Columbia, and George Mason on January 3rd. So if you are in the New York area, it would be great to see you there. Have a great Holiday Season and New Year! Ok, well, until next time…

Dec. 11
Hey everyone! I hope there are still people reading this. I know a lot of people did for the first one and maybe the second, but for all I know, I could just be writing this for myself – which, I mean, isn’t so bad. I find myself fascinating. It has been a bit since I last wrote an update. We just finished finals week so that’s why I’ve been a little behind. I know, I know, blog first then studying, but then I couldn’t stay in school and be on the wrestling team and no one would care about the blog, so it’s a vicious catch-22.

Anyway let’s talk some wrestling. I AM physic; we won the Vegas Tournament, by a point. Yeah, it was that close, but a win is a win. We had one champion at 141 with Reece Humphrey so congrats to him. It was tough out there, but we got a lot of bonus points with pins, techs, and majors. That was pretty key to edging out a victory there. Still though, we won. Our team goals are about winning an NCAA tournament, but it still is nice to bring home some hardware wherever we go.

Next up is a dual vs. Edinboro Sunday. They were at the Oklahoma Gold Tournament and we beat them there, but obviously a dual is an entirely different thing.  This would be a solid win; they are a good team. Plus one of our coaches,(associate head coach) Lou Rosselli, went to school and coached there and what’s more fun than going back to your old stomping grounds and beating your old team? Even though this is a “home” match for us in Perrysburg, Ohio, at Perrysburg High School. It will be nice to see our fans in northwest Ohio and give them some love. So I don’t know if this will be my last blog for 2009 (depends on how I feel.) If I don’t write anymore this year, Happy New Year!  Ok, well, until next time…

Nov. 30
Hey everyone, hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I got to spend the holiday in Cleveland at my Aunt Roberta and Uncle Sams’ house. So the week before Thanksgiving, the wrestling team had 4 duals and we won all four. We kicked off the weekend with a win over 16th-ranked Lehigh. That was a solid victory for us. They had just beaten up on Penn State and they always have a quality team. Then on Sunday we had three duals against 3 other Ohio teams, Findlay, Notre Dame College and Cleveland State. We had very convincing victories and if you look at the scores, you’ll know that’s all I need to say about those duals. So those matches were a solid kickoff to our dual meet season. A national title and an undefeated dual meet season have a nice ring to it.

Next up for us is the Las Vegas tournament; that one is always tough. But, just like last time, I am convinced we will bring home a title.

Remember last week when I talked about the NFL? Well if you remember, Nikko was the Raiders fan and Bo, the Bengals fan. Their teams played and what should have turned into an easy win for the Bengals ended up being a loss, so now Nikko won’t let anyone forget what happens when our Ohio teams play the Raiders.

So I have some embarrassing news about our team. This is really bad. So we had a morning practice and I walk into the wrestling room and a few on our team was in a heated discussion. They could have been talking about anything, but what was our team arguing about…Team Jacob or Edward. This goes without saying, but they were mocked without mercy for this. For the safety of their pride I won’t release the names of the teammates involved in this. Ok, well, until next time…

Nov. 19
All I have to say is I’m happy it’s November.

This past weekend we were in New York for our first tournament and it didn’t go exactly like we wanted. We finished 2nd behind Oklahoma by half a point. Second place isn’t bad, but for where we expect to be in March, we expect to be on top. But I think this will be good for our team. We can learn from that performance. It wasn’t all bad though. We did have two champions – Reece Humphrey and Lance Palmer won at 141 and 149, respectively, so congrats to them. (I don’t know if there is video or pictures of Lance, but you need to see his hair. He’s got half corn rows and they look sick.)

We had other people place, but the biggest non-champion placer was from freshman Ian Paddock. He got to wrestle in front of his home crowd in New York for his first college tournament and took 3rd. I think it’s safe to say we are all excited to see what else he can do this season.

So on to lighter things. The one thing that can separate our team is our love for our football teams. A majority of the team is from Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Browns fans (me being the biggest one, no fat jokes please), but we do have a Bengals fan in Bo Touris, Steelers fan in Mike Pucillo, and a Raiders fan in Nikko Triggas. The Raiders are for the most part not relevant, but Nikko always brings up the fact the last time the Browns and Raiders met, the Raiders won. Mike became a Steelers fan late so we like to give him a hard time about that and Bo is outnumbered about 15-1, so he has a hard time getting in a word edgewise. We all get into to pretty heated debates (read: shouting matching) about why our teams are better, with the last person to say anything being the winner. And since this is my blog I can say GO BROWNS!

And now back to wrestling – We have a dual with Lehigh Friday and the Buckeye Duals Sunday, so hope to see you all there. Ok, well, until next time…

Nov. 13
Well, this is the second blog. Only way to go is up. We are traveling to Brockport, N.Y., this week for the Oklahoma Gold Wrestling tournament. Why is there an Oklahoma tournament in New York? Good question. I don’t know. We are all ready to get started and actually wrestle someone else. It’s not a lot of fun just beating up on your teammates; time for some fresh bodies. And they keep team points here. It would be nice to bring home the first of many first place trophies.

Alright, now I’m going to tell you a little bit about our two other captains Reece (Humphrey) and Lance (Palmer). Reece is the freakiest athlete you will ever see. He loves to do the crazy stuff like the flag. The flag is when you go to a poll, grip onto it with both hands, and pull you body parallel to the floor. It’s really crazy to see all the physical stuff he can do.

Lance is the funniest person you will ever meet, also the most serious when he needs to be. When we are about to start practice he will tackle Coach Ryan, but as soon as practice starts, no one is more serious. Also the stuff he does to his hair. Last year he had a design cut in and this year, well, I’ll let people see it for themselves what he is debuting in New York. I hope to give you all some good news next week after Oklahoma Gold. Ok, well, until next time…

Nov. 2
Hey everyone reading this new blog. I’m guessing everyone out there reading is a Buckeye Wrestling fan or right now just my parents, hi mom and dad. Well I hope people will read this, it would be nice to get more people to read my blog than the Club Trillion blog written by OSU basketball player Mark Titus, but that might take awhile.

For those of you who don’t really know the Buckeye Wrestling team, I’m going to use this first blog to fill you in on some of our more recent background. For the past 2 seasons we have taken 2nd in the country under Coach Tom Ryan. Two years ago when we took 2nd the first time we were ecstatic.  We lost by around 40 plus points but it was our highest finish in team history. We had 3 national finalists with 2 of those being national champions. Along with another all-American we had 4 total all-Americans that year. Last season we had another runner-up finish with 3 national finalists, one natio