MINNEAPOLIS With 10 wrestlers recording a combined 12-4 record in the second session of the 2008 Big Ten Championships Saturday night, the No. 9 Ohio State wrestling team moved to fifth-place with 76.5 points. Along with the Buckeyes’ improved team standing, senior heavyweight J.D. Bergman and redshirt-sophomore Mike Pucillo (184) advanced to the championship finals of their respective weight classes at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.
The final session of the championships will begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. Host Minnesota leads the field of 11 squads with 106 points, while Iowa is second with 93.5 points. Illinois rounds out the Top 3, collecting 79 points.
Pucillo advanced to his first Big Ten championship final at 184 pounds when fourth-seed Roger Kish of Minnesota had to bow out because of injury. Pucillo will face second-seed Tyrel Todd of Michigan in the final Sunday.
Bergman’s 3-2 decision over No. 4-seed Matt Fields of Iowa in the heavyweight division catapulted him to his second-consecutive Big Ten final. Last year, Bergman advanced to the championship bout at 197 pounds. Bergman will face No. 2-seed Dustin Fox of Northwestern Sunday. Fox handed Bergman his lone loss of the 2007-08 season at the National Duals in January.
At 125 pounds, freshman Nikko Triggas made quick work of his match against Akif Eren of Purdue. After scoring a takedown to take an early 2-0 lead 2:13 into the first period, Triggas pinned Eren with 1:50 left for his first-career Big Ten championship victory. In his second wrestleback bout, Triggas decisioned Penn State’s Mark McKnight, 9-6. Owning slim 5-4 and 7-6 margins after the first and second periods, respectively, Triggas recorded the lone scoring in the third, an escape to further his lead, 8-6. A riding time of 1:43 gave him his ninth point.
After losing his opening match, redshirt-sophomore Reece Humphrey also redeemed himself at 133 pounds with a 14-2 win over Eric Metzler of Northwestern. Leading 2-0 following the first period, Humphrey increased his advantage to 4-1 at the conclusion of the second stanza. Scoring three more takedowns and a two-point nearfall as time expired in the match, coupled with a riding time of 2:59, propelled Humphrey to an 11-2 triumph. A 9-7 loss to sixth-seed Andrae Hernandez of Indiana dropped Humphrey to the seventh-place matchup Sunday. Hernandez was able to score a three-point nearfall as time expired in the match to win, despite Humphrey’s riding time of 2:38 and a 4-3 lead going into the final period.
J Jaggers put up 14 points en route to his first wrestleback win at 141 pounds against Purdue’s Matt Redmond. The redshirt-junior scored a three-point nearfall to add to his pair of takedowns to take a 7-1 lead at the end of the first period. Jaggers continued the scoring frenzy, tacking on two more takedowns and a two-point nearfall the rest of the way. He also added 4:01 of riding time. Jaggers followed his first performance in session two with another dominating outing, recording a 15-0 technical fall over Michigan State’s Jeff Wimberly.
Adding to the Buckeye wins, sophomore Lance Palmer never trailed throughout his match against Wisconsin’s Kendall Vogel at 149 pounds to win 8-2. After the first period, Palmer owned a 2-1 lead and proceeded to increase that margin (5-1) following the second stanza on a takedown and escape. Palmer put the match away in the third with another takedown and a riding time advantage of 3:03. A 5-3 overtime victory would follow for Palmer over 2007 NCAA finalist Ryan Lang of Northwestern. With the scored tied 3-all, Palmer scored a takedown just four seconds into the extra period.
At 157 pounds, Jason Johnstone rebounded from his first-round loss to win 13-6 against eighth-seed John Fulger of Michigan State in wrestleback action. Up 4-2 after the first period and 7-3 at the end of the second, Johnstone never looked back throughout the rest of the match. In the third stanza, Johnstone scored a pair of takedowns and a two-point nearfall compared to Fulger’s takedown and escape in the final period for the victory. A dramatic 3-1 win against Purdue’s Nick Bertucci was the next result for Johnstone. Down 1-0 for majority of the match, Johnstone evened the score with an escape with one minute left in the third and with just three seconds remaining, the Buckeye scored a reversal for the victory.
Freshman John Weakley recorded his first Big Ten win of his career in the wrestlebacks at 197 pounds after he pinned Anthony Biondo of Michigan in 6:11. Weakley was down 3-1 after the second period, but tied the score 3-all in the third before the pin. However, Weakley dropped to the seventh-place bout Sunday when he lost a 2-1 decision to Logan Brown of Purdue in overtime.
Senior Alex Picazo and freshman Colt Sponseller dropped out of contention in session two with first-round wrestleback losses. Picazo lost, 4-3, at 174 pounds to John Murphy of Michigan State, while Sponseller dropped a 6-2 decision to Luke Manuel of Purdue at 165 pounds.
2008 Big Ten Championships
Day One Results
No. 2 Charlie Falck (Iowa) dec. No. 7 Nikko Triggas (Ohio State), 8-4
No. 7 Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) pinned Akif Eren (Purdue), 1:10
No. 7 Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) dec. No. 6 Mark McKnight (Penn State), 9-6
No. 2 Joey Slaton (Iowa) dec. No. 7 Reece Humphrey (Ohio State), 12-6
No. 7 Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) mdec. Eric Metzler (Northwestern), 14-2
No. 6 Andrae Hernandez (Indiana) dec. No. 7 Reece Humphrey (Ohio State), 9-7
No. 6 Manuel Rivera (Minnesota) dec. No. 3 J Jaggers (Ohio State), 6-2
No. 3 J Jaggers (Ohio State) mdec. Matt Redmond (Purdue), 14-1
No. 3 J Jaggers (Ohio State) tfall. Jeff Wimberly (Michigan State), 15-0
No. 4 Bubba Jenkins (Penn State) dec. No. 5 Lance Palmer (Ohio State,), 6-5
No. 5 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) dec. Kendall Vogel (Wisconsin), 8-2
No. 5 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Ryan Lang (Northwestern), 5-3sv
No. 2 Dan Vallimont (Penn State) dec. Jason Johnstone (Ohio State), 4-2
Jason Johnstone (Ohio State) mdec. No. 8 John Fulger (Michigan State), 13-6
Jason Johnstone (Ohio State) dec. Nick Bertucci (Purdue), 3-1
No. 5 Roger Smith Bergsrud (Illinois) dec. No. 4 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), 5-3sv
Luke Manuel (Purdue) dec. No. 4 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), 4-2
No. 7 Nick Corpe (Purdue) mdec. Alex Picazo (Ohio State), 12-4
John Murphy (Michigan State) dec. Alex Picazo (Ohio State), 4-3
No. 1 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. Nick Palmieri (Michigan State), 10-3
No. 1 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) mdec. No. 8 A.J. Kissel (Purdue), 12-3
No. 1 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) medical forfeit No. 4 Roger Kish (Minnesota)
No. 2 Phil Davis (Penn State) pinned John Weakley (Ohio State), 4:59
John Weakley (Ohio State) pinned No. 8 Anthony Biondo (Michigan), 6:11
Logan Brown (Purdue) dec. John Weakley (Ohio State), 2-1
No. 1 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. Nathan Everhart (Indiana), 5-4
No. 1 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. No. 4 Matt Fields (Iowa), 3-2