COLUMBUS, Ohio With a runner-up and a trio of third-place finishers, the No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team ended the 2009 Big Ten Championships in sixth place with 80 points Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. Junior Reece Humphrey paced the Buckeyes with a runner-up finish at 133 pounds.
Iowa won the conference title with 141 points, while Illinois came in second with 113.5. Michigan (92.5) rounded out the Top 3.
Humphrey, the fifth seed, met a familiar opponent in No. 2 seed Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the final. The two battled through a sudden victory and tiebreaker before Gomez clipped Humphrey by a 7-4 score.
For the second-consecutive year, J Jaggers earned a third-place standing at 141 pounds, decisioning third-ranked Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa, 4-3. En route to the third-place bout, Jaggers, a native of Northfield, Ohio, dropped Northwestern’s and sixth-seed Keith Sulzer in 4:20.
No. 3 Lance Palmer became the second Buckeye to garner a Top 3 finish in the 149-pound bracket when he beat Jake Patacsil of Purdue, 12-3. The Buckeye from Columbia Station, Ohio, began the day with a 7-4 decision over fourth-seed Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin.
After suffering his first defeat in 44 matches, No. 2 seed and 184-pounder Mike Pucillo rebounded Sunday with two victories for third place. Eric Cameron of Indiana was only able to score one point in a 12-1 win by Pucillo in his opening match of the day. A native of Strongsville, Ohio, Pucillo capped the afternoon with a 4-1 win over No. 4 Jordan Blanton of Illinois.
Colt Sponseller (165) and Dave Rella (174) finished the 2009 edition of the conference championships in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
The No. 2 seed, Sponseller downed Illinois’ and fourth seed Roger Smith-Bergsrud, 7-2, to advance to the third-place match. However, Sponseller dropped a 7-4 decision to No. 6 seed Dan Vallimont of host Penn State.
After losing his opening match of session three to No. 2 Jay Borschel of Iowa, 7-0, Rella answered with a 5-2 win over No. 6 Trevor Perry of Indiana.
Under the NCAA’s new selection criteria for the national championships, Ohio State has qualified at least six weight classes 133, 141, 149, 165, 174 and 184. After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 52 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 11.
The 2009 NCAA Championships are March 19-21 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.