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COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team (2-0; 0-0 Big Ten) will wrap up 2008 with a road trip to Edinboro at 4 p.m. Sunday. The dual, in McComb Fieldhouse, is  the Buckeyes’ first head-to-head match-up since Nov. 16 when they hosted the Buckeye Duals in St. John Arena.

After Sunday, the Scarlet and Gray will return to action in 2009 with a home dual vs. Kent State at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 in St. John Arena.

Probable Match-ups (No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 17 Edinboro)
125 No. 16 Nikko Triggas (13-4) vs. Kyle Fluke (7-7)
133 No. 8 Reece Humphrey (11-0) vs. Ricky Deubel (7-6)
141 No. 8 J Jaggers (6-4) vs. Joel Wenster (6-2)
149 No. 4 Lance Palmer (8-2) vs. No. 15 Torsten Gillespie (12-4)      
157 No. 15 Jason Johnstone (15-3) vs. No. 2 Gregor Gillespie (13-0)  
165 No. 6 Colt Sponseller (15-1) vs.  No. 3 Jarrod King (12-0)
174 Dave Rella (11-3) vs. Paul Paddock (3-5)
184 No. 1 Mike Pucillo (0-0) vs. No. 10 Chris Honeycutt (8-1)
197 Cody Gardner (13-2) vs. Pat Bradshaw (10-3)
285 No. 14 Corey Morrison (11-4) vs. No. 8 Joey Fendone (14-0)   

WELCOME BACK
Lou Rosselli, Ohio State assistant coach, will return to his old stomping grounds Sunday when No. 6 Ohio State takes on No. 17 Edinboro in McComb Fieldhouse.

Rosselli was a member of the Fighting Scots’ coaching staff from 1993-2006. He began his tenure at Edinboro as the volunteer assistant coach, before being promoted to head assistant in 1997.

A 1993 graduate of Edinboro, Rosselli was honored by the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association with the Young Alumni Award.

LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL  
Lance Palmer and Colt Sponseller had successful runs at the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational Dec. 5-6, finishing second at 149 and 165 pounds, respectively.

Palmer encountered a tough draw in the final in No. 3 and 2008 NWCA All-Star Darrion Cald well from NC State. Palmer was pinned in 1:05.

Looking to run the table at the invite, Sponseller suffered his first loss of the season (15-1) when he lost in the final to Cornell’s No. 1-ranked Mack Lewnes, a 2008 NWCA All-Star.

As a team, the Buckeyes finished 11th (tied) with 67.5 points.
 
QUICK HITS
Senior Jason Johnstone (15-3) and sophomore Colt Sponseller (15-1) lead the team in wins with 15. Sponseller paces the Buckeyes with 93 takedowns, while freshman Sean Nemec leads the team in major decisions with five. Sponseller fronts the squad with five technical falls and sophomore Nikko Triggas is the team leader in falls with eight.

BUCKEYE SNAPSHOT
Ohio State is 2-0 in dual action during this early part of the 2008-09 season. The Buckeyes hosted the Buckeye Duals Nov. 16 in St. John Arena and defeated Notre Dame College, 34-6, and Cleveland State, 35-13.

The Buckeyes dropped only two matches for seven points the entire afternoon. Ohio State surrendered a total of 19 points on the day, with 12 given up because of OSU forfeits.

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

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. In second place is sophomore Nikko Triggas with a 40-second pin of Pete Cole of Alfred State, also recorded at the Buffalo Open.

TOUGH CLASS 
Both of Lance Palmer’s losses this season have come at the hands of NC State’s Darrion Caldwell. Palmer, who owns an 11-2 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 a 1:05.

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.

THOSE ARE THE BREAKS 
Both of freshman Cody Gardner’s losses have been close overtime decisions. With 13 wins to his credit, Gardner tallied his first loss to Virginia Tech’s DJ Bruce in double overtime (6-5 2OT) before losing 10-6 OT to Cam Simaz of Cornell.  

BACK IN ACTION 
Junior Corey Morrison saw action for the first time in the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational Dec. 5-6 since wrestling in two open tournaments  in early November. Morrison, who did not compete in the Buckeye Duals Nov. 16, was the heavyweight title winner at the Buffalo Open Nov. 2 and was runner-up in the Wolfpack  Open Nov. 8. Morrison finished sixth in Las Vegas. He advanced to the semifinals at the conclusion of the first day.
 
1 VS. 1 
The Buckeyes return to dual action vs. Edinboro for the first time since Nov. 16. After defeating Notre Dame College (34-6) and Cleveland State (35-13), Ohio State served as host of the 43rd Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by the United States Marine Corps Nov. 24. The Buckeyes then traveled to Las Vegas for the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational Dec. 5-6.

SCOUTING EDINBORO
Edinboro is ranked 17th in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings released Dec. 9. The Fighting Scots enter their match vs. the Buckeyes with a 5-2 dual record. Edinboro opened the season in the Fighting Scot Duals Nov. 1 and notched a 3-0 mark, beating Findlay (48-0), Army  (34-7) and Maryland (23-14). The Fighting Scots also scored victories over Upper Iowa (32-12) and Boise State (20-12) at the Journeyman BRUTE “Sprawl & Brawl” Duals Nov. 23.

Edinboro also has competed in two tournaments, the Oklahoma Gold Classic (Nov. 8) and PSAC championships (Dec. 6). The Fighting Scots were runners-up out of eight teams in Oklahoma and was crowned PSAC champions among a field of 10 squads.

Tim Flynn is at the helm of the Fighting Scots. An All-American at Penn State, Flynn has amassed a 111-32-3 record during 10 years of coaching. He is a five-time PSAC Coach of the Year, as well as four-time EWL Coach of the Year. Having coached 33 PSAC champions and 22 EWL champions, Flynn is responsible for 71 national qualifiers and 17 All-Americans.

FIGHTING SCOTS IN THE RANKINGS
Individually, Edinboro has six wrestlers ranked in the Top 20 of the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA standings. At 149 pounds, Torsten Gillespie is No. 15. His older brother, Gregor, holds down the No. 2 position at 157 pounds. In the 165-pound division, Jarrod King is third, while at 174 pounds, Phil Moricone is 17th. Chris Honeycutt (184) is 10th and Joe Fendone (285) is eighth.  

BUCKEYES VS. FIGHTING SCOTS
Ohio State has a 5-3 advantage over Edinboro,  including winners of two straight duals. Last season, the Buckeyes handed the Fighting Scots a 23-13 loss in St. John Arena Feb. 14 on Senior Day.

UPDATE ON THE STANDINGS 
In the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings (Dec. 9), Ohio State dipped to No. 6 in the  country. Eight Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 20 of the individual standings.

Weight  Wrestler  W.I.N.  InterMat 
125  Nikko Triggas  19th  16th 
133  Reece Humphrey  9th   8th 
141  J Jaggers  9th  8th 
149  Lance Palmer  4th  4th 
157  Jason Johnstone  17th  15th 
165  Colt Sponseller  4th  6th 
184  Mike Pucillo  2nd  1st 
285  Corey Morrison  18th  14th 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG TEN NETWORK COVERAGE
Two of the Buckeyes’ matches will air on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State’s match at Michigan Feb. 13 will broadcast the same day on a tape delay basis at 10:30 p.m. The match’s start time is 7 p.m. in Cliff Keen Arena.

The Ohio State vs. Wisconsin dual will air live at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 in Madison, Wis., in the Wisconsin Field House. 
 
REECE HUMPHREY NAMED CONFERENCE WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Reece Humphrey, a 133-pound junior from Indianapolis, Ind., was named the Big Ten Conference co-Wrestler of the Week Nov. 4 following his championship performance 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. He began the day with a pin of Kevin Green of Niagara in 5:50 and then followed that performance with a 25-10 technical fall over Michael Baxter of Mercyhurst College. Humphrey then faced teammate and fifth-seed Garrett Henry in the semifinals and made quick work of the rookie from Solon, Ohio, pinning Henry in 3:28 en route to the final. In the championship bout, Humphrey decisioned Kevin Smith of host Buffalo, 9-5, for the title. 

It is the first-career weekly laurel for the product of Lawrence North High School and the first for the Buckeyes since J Jaggers earned the honor Jan. 30, 2008.

NOT YOUR TYPICAL WRESTLER
Sophomore Nikko Triggas sat down with OhioStateBuckeyes.com for a live chat Nov. 12. Triggas answered fans’ questions ranging from the typical wrestling inquiries to the not-so-typical. Below are excerpts of Triggas’ chat. To read more, log on to OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

What’s your plan for this season? Do you feel you’ve improved over the summer?
“My plan for the season is to get to the podium which means Top 8 finishes are necessary. I need to work on my feet with down blocking and sprawling. I feel I have improved this summer wrestling freestyle and Greco because it has changed the way I wrestle.”

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
“My pre-match rituals are not typical of a wrestler. I mostly like to get focused and into the match. I like to get my head away from wrestling to settle myself. I do this by singing and I love my oldies. I feel like this helps me explode in my first period because my energy is saved up and I am relaxed.

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.

DON’T MISS OUT!
Throughout the season, there will be several giveaways and events for fans to take part in at home matches.

Kent State
5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Indiana
7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30
Free rally towels to the first 1,000 fans courtesy of Nationwide
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Minnesota (in Value City Arena)
11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 1
Check out the Buckeyes as they take on conference rival Minnesota in Value City Arena in the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus. Fans are encouraged to wear white and “White Out” the Gophers.

Purdue
5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Illinois
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Tickets to Ohio State home matches are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Children 6 and under and students with a valid BuckID are admitted free. An advanced purchase of 10 or more tickets is $4. To purchase tickets, call TicketMaster at 614-431-3600 or log on to OhioStateBuckeyes.com. 

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
Nine of the Buckeyes’ opponents, not counting ranked challengers in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in January, are ranked in the latest edition of the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 poll. Ohio State will face No. 17 Edinboro on the road Sunday before entering a tough Big Ten Conference stretch.

Seven of the Buckeyes’ eight league opponents are ranked in the Top 25. Ohio State will battle No. 18 Indiana (Jan. 30), No. 7 Minnesota (Feb. 1) and No. 8 Illinois (Feb. 15) in Columbus. The match vs. the Gophers will take place in Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. The Scarlet and Gray will travel to No. 15 Penn State (Feb. 6), No. 10 Michigan (Feb. 13), No. 20 Northwestern (Feb. 20) and No. 11 Wisconsin (Feb. 22).

BATTLING BUCKEYES
Junior Reece Humphrey and sophomore Nikko Triggas, who are eighth and 16th at 133 and 125 pounds, respectively, in the InterMat polls,  had impressive summers in international competition. Triggas, a native of Moraga, Calif., swept the Greco-Roman and freestyle events at the Pan American championships and Humphrey, who hails from Indianapolis, Ind., won the silver medal at the University World championships.

Humphrey and Triggas recently spoke to bigten.org contributing writer Larry Watts about their busy summer. The story currently is running on www.bigten.org.
 
SERVICES 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 will break from competition for three weeks. The Buckeyes will ring in 2009 with a home dual vs. Kent State at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 in St. John Arena.