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No. 6 Ohio State
(14-2; 5-1 Big Ten)
at
No. 19 Northwestern
(9-6-1, 2-3-1 Big Ten)
at 8 p.m. ET in Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Ill. 

Probable Match-Ups
Wgt. No. 19 Northwestern  No. 6 Ohio State
125 No. 4 Brandon Precin (23-2) vs. Nikko Triggas (19-12)
133 Eric Metzler (4-4)/Bobby Joyce (4-10)vs. No. 3 Reece Humphrey (21-2)
141 No. 15 Keith Sulzer (16-7) vs. No. 13 J Jaggers (17-8)
149 Andrew Nadhir (11-8) vs. No. 4 Lance Palmer (22-2)
157 No. 14 Jason Welch (19-7) vs. No. 17 Jason Johnstone (19-9)
165 Dominic Marella (5-12)/Kyle Bertin (5-8) vs. No. 2 Colt Sponseller (27-3)
174 Robert Kellogg (12-10) vs. Dave Rella (15-11)
184 No. 1 Jake Herbert (24-0) vs. No. 2 Mike Pucillo (14-0)
197 John Schoen (5-16) vs. Jason Cook (12-10)
285 Paul Rands (5-8) vs.  Corey Morrison (18-11)
 
at
No. 16 Wisconsin
(9-7, 3-4 Big Ten)
Big Ten Network – Live at 1 p.m. ET
Tim Johnson – play-by-play analysis
Tim Gibbons – color commentary
UW Field House
Madison, Wis. 

Probable Match-Ups
Wgt. No. 16 Wisconsin  No. 6 Ohio State
125 Drew Hammen (4-17)  vs. Nikko Triggas
133 Tom Kelliher (0-11)/Erik Senescu (0-5)vs. No. 3 Reece Humphrey
141 No. 1 Zach Tanelli (23-3) vs. No. 13 J Jaggers
149 No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (22-5) vs. No. 4 Lance Palmer
157 Ben Jordan (7-13) vs. No. 17 Jason Johnstone
165 No. 8 Andrew Howe (21-4) vs. No. 2 Colt Sponseller
174 Travis Rutt (9-12) vs. Dave Rella
184 Eric Bugenhagen (7-14) vs. No. 2 Mike Pucillo
197 Eric Bugenhagen (7-14) vs. Jason Cook
285 No. 18 Kyle Massey (20-7) vs.  Corey Morrison

COLUMBUS, Ohio With just two dual matches remaining in the regular-season, the No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team will take its 5-1 dual record and second-place standing in the Big Ten on the road this weekend.

The Buckeyes, 14-2 overall, will travel to Evanston, Ill., for an 8 p.m. ET matchup against No. 19 Northwestern (9-6-1; 2-3-1 Big Ten) Friday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Ohio State then will travel to Madison, Wis., for a Big Ten Network showdown against No. 16 Wisconsin (9-7; 3-4 Big Ten) at 1 p.m. ET in the UW Field House.

CHECK IT OUT
Ohio State will once again be on the Big Ten Network when it takes on Wisconsin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in the UW Field House. The live broadcast will feature Tim Johnson on play-by-play analysis with Tim Gibbons providing color commentary.

W-O-W
Nikko Triggas was named Big Ten wrestler of the week, the conference announced Tuesday. This is Triggas’ first-career weekly laurel.

The 125-pounder (19-12) was instrumental in helping the Buckeyes to a 2-0 record last weekend after recording two pins against No. 17 Michigan Feb. 13 and No. 8 Illinois Feb. 15. The back-to-back pins gave the native of Moraga, Calif., a team leading 12 falls on the season.

Triggas needed just 5:38 seconds to down both his opponents. With the Buckeyes down, 11-14, against the Wolverines, Triggas pinned 17th-ranked Michael Watts in 2:02 to give Ohio State its first lead of the match. The Buckeyes would go on to win two of their next three matches in the 26-17 triumph.

He followed that performance with another critical pin of B.J. Futrell of Illinois in the Buckeyes’ home finale. Ohio State held a slim 14-10 lead after consecutive losses at 197 pounds and heavyweight and just three matches remaining. Triggas increased the Buckeye margin to 20-10 when he downed Futrell in 3:36 after finishing the first period against Futrell trailing, 4-2. With the pin, Triggas helped the Buckeyes post a 26-13 victory over eighth-ranked Illinois.

For the season, Ohio State has collected five Big Ten wrestler of the week honors. Senior J Jaggers (141) was the last Buckeye recipient Jan. 13. Junior Mike Pucillo (184) won Jan. 6, while juniors Corey Morrison (HWT) and Reece Humphrey (133) won Dec. 16 and Nov. 14, respectively.

A LOOK BACK
Ohio State is coming off a 2-0 weekend in which it beat then-No. 17 Michigan and then-No. 8 Illinois in a combined score of 52-30.

The Buckeyes opened the weekend with a 26-17 win at Michigan Feb. 13. The Scarlet and Gray, which won six of 10 matches, received a crucial pin from sophomore Nikko Triggas at 125 pounds en route to the victory. Triggas’ pin of 17th-ranked Michael Watts (2:02) gave Ohio State its first lead of the evening (17-14) with just three matches left. The Buckeyes would go on to win two of their next three matches for their second-consecutive win against the Wolverines.

Ohio State followed its Friday night performance with a 26-13 win over the Illini in its regular-season home finale in St. John Arena Sunday. It was again Triggas who notched the critical pin to lift the Scarlet and Gray to victory. The Buckeyes held a slim 14-10 lead after seven matches, but Triggas increased the OSU margin to 20-10 when he pinned B.J. Futrell in 3:36.

CAREER MILESTONE
Head coach Tom Ryan reached the 150-win plateau following Ohio State’s 26-13 victory over Illinois Feb. 15. In 14 seasons as a head coach, Ryan has compiled a 150-96-1 record (.609). Prior to arriving on the Ohio State campus, Ryan coached at Hofstra for 11 seasons and amassed a 109-83-1 record. So far, as the Buckeye head coach, Ryan is 41-13 (.759).

SNAPPED
With the 26-13 win against Illinois Feb. 15, Ohio State snapped a 10-match win streak by the Illini. Prior to Sunday, the Buckeyes’ last win against Illinois was Feb. 13, 1994 in Columbus. Ohio State’s last road win was Jan. 25, 1991. 

Last season, Ohio State came up short by one point, falling, 19-18, in Champaign.

STREAKING?
After dropping 14-consecutive matches to Michigan, Ohio State now has won consecutive meetings. The Buckeyes snapped the Wolverines’ 14-year stronghold last season with a 16-15 win in St. John Arena in Columbus. This season, the Scarlet and Gray bettered the Maize and Blue, 26-17, in Ann Arbor.

SOMETHING TO PONDER
Junior Mike Pucillo owns a 41-match win streak dating back to the Buckeyes’ match vs. Wisconsin Dec. 10, 2007. In 2008-09, Pucillo has compiled a 14-0 overall record with wins over five Top 20 wrestlers.

PERFECT TIMING
Sophomore Nikko Triggas recorded back-to-back pins during the weekend (Feb. 13-15) for his team-leading 12 on the season. He needed just 5:38 seconds to down both his opponents. With the Buckeyes down, 11-14, against the Wolverines, Triggas pinned 17th-ranked Michael Watts in 2:02 to give Ohio State its first lead of the match. Triggas followed that performance with another critical pin of B.J. Futrell of Illinois in the Buckeyes’ home finale. Ohio State held a slim 14-10 lead after consecutive losses at 197 pounds and heavyweight and just three matches remaining. Triggas increased the Buckeye margin to 20-10 when he downed Futrell in 3:36 after finishing the first period against Futrell trailing, 4-2.

A LITTLE BIT OF THIS, A LITTLE BIT OF THAT
Colt Sponseller recorded his team-leading 27th win (3 losses) of the season and is 6-0 in the Big Ten following a perfect weekend at Michigan and vs. Illinois. Mike Pucillo remains undefeated at 14-0 and is 6-0 in the Big Ten. Sponseller, Pucillo and Lance Palmer are undefeated in the Big Ten with six wins.

SO LONG SENIORS
Ohio State celebrated the careers of four seniors last Sunday prior to its match against Illinois. Wes Bergman, J Jaggers, Jason Johnstone and Owen Schaefer were honored in a pre-match ceremony.

BUCKEYE SNAPSHOT
Ohio State owns a 14-2 overall record, including a 5-1 mark in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have earned wins against 11 Top 25 teams No. 17 Edinboro (19-12), No. 21 Northern Iowa (32-12), No. 5 Missouri (23-19), No. 16 Boise State (21-12), No. 11 Minnesota (25-12), No. 20 Hofstra (19-13), No. 19 Indiana (18-16), No. 22 Penn State (33-7), No. 25 Purdue (28-10), No. 17 Michigan (26-17) and No. 8 Illinois (26-13).

QUICK HITS
Sophomore Colt Sponseller leads the Buckeyes with 125 takedowns. Reece Humphrey is second on the team with 65, while Jason Johnstone rounds out the Top 3 with 62.

Sean Nemec, who saw his first action in dual competition at Edinboro, is first on the team in major decisions with six, while Johnstone and Dave Rella are tied for second on the team with five. Sponseller also paces the squad with five technical falls and Nikko Triggas is the team leader in falls with 12.  

BIG TEN UPDATE
Ohio State is alone in second place in the Big Ten Conference standings after going 2-0 last weekend to improve to 5-1 in the conference. The Buckeyes defeated Michigan, 26-17, Feb. 13 in Ann Arbor, before downing Illinois, 26-13, in a home contest in Columbus Feb. 15.

Leading the league with a 6-0 record is Iowa. Michigan rounds out the Top 3 with a 4-1-1 ledger. In fourth place is Illinois, which owns a 4-2 record. Close on the Illini’s heels in fifth place is Minnesota at 4-3. In sixth place is Wisconsin (3-4). Indiana and Northwestern are tied for seventh at 2-3-1 a piece. With a 1-5-2 record is Penn State, while Michigan State and Purdue are 1-5 and 0-5-1, respectively. 

NOTING NORTHWESTERN
No. 19 Northwestern enters its match against Ohio State with a 9-6-1 overall record, including a 2-3-1 ledger in the Big Ten. The Wildcats beat Michigan State and Wisconsin to begin the conference season 2-0 before tying Michigan 17-all and dropping matches to Illinois (22-13), Minnesota (18-16) and Indiana (23-11).

After taking a season off a year ago to concentrate on training for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Jake Herbert, the 2007 NCAA Champion at 184 pounds, returned to the Wildcat lineup this season and currently is No. 1 in the country.

Tim Cysewski is in his 19th season as head coach of Northwestern. He has coached 84 NCAA qualifiers, including three champions. He also has mentored 25 All-America selections, as well as eight Big Ten champions.

BUCKEYES VS. WILDCATS
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Northwestern, 37-28-1. The Buckeyes have won four of the last five meetings, including a 19-17 victory at the National Duals Jan. 12-13, 2008.

Last 5 Meetings

Jan. 12-13, 2008   OhioState   19 Northwestern   17 Feb. 4, 2007 Ohio State  18  Northwestern  16 Feb. 3, 2006   Northwestern 31  Ohio State   6 Feb. 8 2004 Ohio State  40  Northwestern 3 Feb. 21, 2003  Ohio State 25  Northwestern  14 


  

 

 

BRIEFING THE BADGERS
No. 16 Wisconsin owns a 9-7 record, including a 3-4 mark in the Big Ten. The Badgers opened conference action with losses to Iowa (24-12), Northwestern (21-19) and Michigan State (25-17) before capturing a win against Penn State (28-13). After a 24-16 loss to Illinois, Wisconsin upset Minnesota, 19-15, on its home mat. A 19-15 win followed against Purdue.

The Badgers are led by All-American and third-ranked Dallas Herbst, along with All-American and 18th-ranked Kyle Massey, who was a 2008 NWCA All-Star Participant. 

Barry Davis has been at the helm of Wisconsin for 15 seasons. He has coached six Big Ten champions, two NCAA champions and has the second-most wins of any Badger head coach. 

BUCKEYEs VS. BADGERS
Ohio State trails Wisconsin 17-27-1 in all-time match-ups. After consecutive losses in 2005 and 2006, the Buckeyes bettered the Badgers, 23-13, in 2007.

Last 5 Meetings

Dec. 10, 2007   Ohio State 23  Wisconsin  13 Feb. 5,2006   Wisconsin  38  OhioState  12 Feb. 4, 2005  Wisconsin  20  Ohio State 18 Feb. 23, 2003   Ohio State 28  Wisconsin  17 Jan. 27,2002   Ohio State  21Wisconsin  18 

 

 

 

BEST OF THE BEST
J Jaggers, the reigning NCAA champion at 141 pounds, was named Collegiate Athlete of the Year by the Greater Cleveland Athletic Sports Commission Jan. 21 in a special ceremony in Cleveland.

“To even be nominated for such an award, especially in such a talent-rich area like Cleveland, was an honor and I’m very grateful to have been selected as the top college athlete,” Jaggers, a native of Northfield, Ohio, said. “It was an amazing event and a very special night for everyone involved.”

In his junior campaign, Jaggers went 5-0 at the 2008 NCAA Championships, upsetting the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds as the sixth-seed to claim his first national title and earn his second All-America nod.

W-O-W…PART 2
In 2008-09, Ohio State has collected five Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors. Junior Reece Humphrey garnered the Buckeyes’ first laurel back in November following his championship performance in the 133-pound division at the Buffalo Open Nov. 2. Humphrey won four matches at the event as the No. 1 seed by pinning two of his opponents and winning by a technical fall and decision.

Junior Corey Morrison became the Scarlet and Gray’s second recipient Dec. 16 after he decisioned eighth-ranked Joey Fendone, 5-3, of 17th-ranked Edinboro in the match-deciding bout at heavyweight. With the win, Morrison handed Fendone his first loss of the season.

Teammate Mike Pucillo earned the conference honor Jan. 6 when he held off sixth-ranked Dustin Kilgore of Kent State with a pair of takedowns and an escape in the 6-1 victory at 184 pounds.

After posting a 5-0 record, including upsets over the Nos. 8 and 10 wrestlers in the country at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals at 141 pounds, senior J Jaggers received the weekly honor Jan. 13.

Most recently, the Big Ten named sophomore Nikko Triggas the wrestler of the week (Feb. 17) after he recorded back-to-back pins against Michigan and Illinois.  

Sophomore Colt Sponseller was named TheMat.com’s wrestler of the week Dec. 15 following his match-changing performance against Edinboro’s third-ranked Jarrod King at 165 pounds. With Ohio State trailing the Fighting Scots, 9-7, Sponseller’s 4-1 victory over King led the way toward the Buckeye win. King was undefeated before his encounter with Sponseller.

TOUGH CLASS
Both of Lance Palmer’s losses this season have come at the hands of NC State’s Darrion Caldwell. Palmer, who owns a 22-2 record, faced Caldwell in the final of the NC State Open and dropped a tight 2-1 decision. Palmer then encountered Caldwell again in the final of the Las Vegas Invitational and was pinned in 1:05.

In his junior campaign, the Columbia Station, Ohio, native has racked up 34 takedowns, seven pins and three major decisions, owning a perfect 14-0 dual record.

QUIETLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Sophomore Colt Sponseller has surpassed his win total from a season ago. Forced to sit out the beginning of the 2007-08 season because of injury, Sponseller would end that campaign with a 16-4 record. In 2008-09, Sponseller has totaled 27 wins, with just three losses.

The Glenmont, Ohio, native leads Ohio State with 125 takedowns, while also recording five technical falls, four pins and four major decisions.

DOWN YOU GO
Of Nikko Triggas’ team-best 12 pins, five have been under two minutes, including a 40-second pin vs. Pete Cole of Alfred State in the Buffalo Open.

Nikko Triggas Pins (under two minutes)
:40 vs. Pete Cole (Alfred State)
1:17 vs. PJ Morales (Edinboro)
1:51 vs. Lou Ruland (Maryland)
1:09 vs. Michael Moreno (NC State)
1:43 vs. Brad Steele (Dickinson State)

QUICK WORK
With his 21-second pin of RPI’s Dwight Manganaro in the Buffalo Open, freshman Dalton Britt owns the fastest fall time on the team this season. In second place is sophomore Nikko Triggas with a 40-second pin of Pete Cole of Alfred State, also recorded at the Buffalo Open.

TWO!
Sophomore Colt Sponseller has recorded a team-best 12 takedowns in three separate matches this season. He did it in back-to-back contests in the Buffalo Open vs. Matt Coleman of Edinboro  (W, 25-10) and Cory Lempka of Buffalo (W, 25-10). The following week in the Wolfpack Open, Sponseller recorded 12 takedowns against Maryland’s Josh Asper (W, 26-10).

Senior Jason Johnstone accumulated 10 takedowns in a 26-10 technical fall win over Corey Carlo of Cleveland State in the Buckeye Duals.

UPDATE ON THE STANDINGS
In the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings (Feb. 17), Ohio State remains sixth in the team standings.

Six Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 20 of the InterMat individual standings, while two newcomers (Nikko Triggas and Dave Rella) cracked the individual rankings in the W.I.N. poll. 

Weight  Wrestler  W.I.N.  InterMat 
125  Nikko Triggas  18th  – 
133  Reece Humphrey  5th  3rd 
141  J Jaggers  9th  13th 
149  Lance Palmer  4th   4th 
157  Jason Johnstone  19th  17th 
165  Colt Sponseller  2nd  2nd 
174  Dave Rella  20th  – 
184  Mike Pucillo  2nd  2nd 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NICE START TO THE YEAR
Ohio State began its season at two open tournaments. The Buckeyes made the trip to Buffalo, N.Y., for the Buffalo Open Nov. 2 and had a phenomenal meet, crowning six champions. A week later, Ohio State made its way south for the Wolfpack Open in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 8 and completed the tournament with four title winners.

Junior Reece Humphrey (133), senior Jason Johnstone (157), sophomore Colt Sponseller (165) and freshman Cody Gardner (197) were double winners as they won their respective weight classes at both opens. In Buffalo, Dave Rella (174) and Corey Morrison (HWT) also won titles of their own.

INDIVIDUAL ACTION
As some members of the team geared up for a matchup against Hofstra, others remained on the go, participating in the Kent State Open Jan. 18.

Freshman Sean Nemec and junior AJ Agazarm collected a pair of titles at the individual tournament, winning the 157 and 165 weight classes, respectively. Six other Buckeyes earned Top 6 finishes.Nemec recorded a perfect 5-0 ledger on the day. En route to the title bout, the rookie defeated AJ Johnson of Virginia Tech (2-0), scored a major decision against Clarion’s Justin McCrillis (17-2), posted a 4-2 win over Brantley Hooks of Bucknell and advanced to the 157 final after downing Penn State’s Tim Darling, 9-3. Nemec won the title match by a score of 8-1 over Eastern Michigan’s Aaron Sulzer.

Teammate Jared Kusar also wrestled at 157 pounds and finished fourth.

After a bye in the first round, Agazarm won a 2-0 match against Kent State’s Sli Bostelman and advanced to the championship round on a 5-0 victory over Clarion’s Steven Cressley. Agazarm tallied his first pin (2:06) of the season, making quick work of Indiana’s Cooper Samuels in the final bout of the day. Buckeye Ross Ambrose added a third-place finish at 165.

The Scarlet and Gray finished 2-3 in the 125 weight division at the open. Bo Touris improved to 5-2 on the season after winning four-consecutive matches to reach the 125 championship match. The freshman downed Bloomsburg’s Matt Snyder, 12-8, Penn State’s Eric Caschera, 10-5, and Kent State’s Troy Opfer, 9-7, before falling, 16-6, to Edinboro’s Eric Morrill to place second. Pat Harrington claimed third at 125 pounds, with a 4-1 record.

After dropping his second match, Garrett Henry battled back to a third-place finish at 133 pounds. For the day, Henry was 5-1.

At 184, Jeremy Sanders earned a fourth-place finish with a 2-2 record, while two Ohio State student-athletes earned Top 6 placings in the heavyweight division. Freshman Johnny Hiles finished fourth, while classmate Pat Walsh was sixth.

SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
The Buckeyes take part in various community service initiatives throughout the season. Once a month, Ohio State visits patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The team also participates in the 2nd & 7 Foundation reading program that strives to “Tackle Illiteracy” in Central Ohio.

UP NEXT
Ohio State, along with the rest of the Big Ten Conference, will take a week off to prepare for the 2009 Big Ten Championships March 7-8. Penn State will serve as the event’s host at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.