Oct. 31, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first competition of the 2011-12 season is just five days away – the Eastern Michigan Open in Ypsilanti, Mich. So in the spirit of the beginning of the collegiate wrestling season, below is the weight-by-weight breakdown of the Ohio State wrestling team.

125 Bo Touris is the Buckeyes’ returning starter at 125 pounds as a fifth-year senior out of West Chester, Ohio. Last season, Touris entered the starting lineup at Edinboro and faced tough competition the rest of the season, matching up against five Top 20 wrestlers.

Freshman Johnni Dijulius is slated to be Touris’ main challenger. A three-time Ohio High School state champion from Walsh Jesuit, the Strongsville, Ohio, native is one of a handful of 125-pounders who provide great depth. Such wrestlers include Kyle Visconti and Josh Whitt.

133 – A redshirt-freshman who had an impressive summer finishing second at the FILA Junior World Championships in Bucharest, Romania, Logan Stieber is the projected starter at 133 pounds. A four-time Ohio High School state champion from Monroeville, Ohio, Stieber’s back up most likely is Mike Manuche, a California state qualifier for Westview High School. Ian Paddock, a two-time NCAA championships qualifier, will redshirt the 2011-12 season.

141 – One of the Buckeyes’ deeper weight classes, the 141-pound division will feature sophomore Randy Languis as the returning starter. A central, Ohio, native from Dublin, Languis entered the starting lineup last year at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational. Representing the Scarlet and Gray at the Big Ten championships, Languis faced a host of Top 20 wrestlers throughout the season.

Languis is challenged by freshman Hunter Stieber, the younger brother of Logan, and newcomer Jarrod Boone offers additional depth. Hunter Stieber is a four-time Ohio High School state tournament champion and Boone is a state qualifier for Olentangy Liberty.

149 – Returning for the 2011-12 season after earning his first start at the Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals and representing Ohio State at the Big Ten championships, redshirt-sophomore Mike Fee is slated to be tested by four-time Ohio High School state tournament champion Cam Tessari (Monroeville, Ohio). Additional contenders at 149 pounds include redshirt-freshman Alex Gordon (Dublin, Ohio) and true freshman Devin Visconti (North Reading, Mass.). Gordon competed in various open tournaments throughout last season. Visconti, the NWCA Wrestler of the Year in Massachusetts, is a Massachusetts state champion. Joe Bruewer and Joe Grandominico will also compete at 149 pounds.

157 – Redshirt-freshman Josh Demas and true freshman Derek Garcia are the two key wrestlers at 157 pounds. It is predicted the non-starter between Demas and Garcia will move up to 165 pounds. Demas, a Columbus, Ohio, native competed in a variety of open tournaments last season. Garcia, a four-time Washington state champion from Sedro Woolley, Wash., spent part of last year training with the U.S. National Team in Colorado Springs.

T.J. Rigel (New Carlisle, Ohio) and Joe Grandominico (Westerville, Ohio) provide further depth to the weight class. Rigel is a transfer from Ashland University. Grandominico mostly saw action in open tournaments a season ago, but did enter the starting lineup at Wisconsin and vs. Northwestern.

165 – As with the situation at 157 pounds, this weight class will be between Demas and Garcia. Adding depth is freshman and Olentangy Liberty’s Craig Thomas, an Ohio High School state tournament qualifier.

174 – Returning Big Ten championships finalist and NCAA championships qualifier Nick Heflin will start at 174 pounds. Backing up the Massillon, Ohio, native is Kyle Riley-Hawkins. A third-place finisher in the Florida state championships for Lakewood Ranch, Riley-Hawkins hails from Bradenton, Fla.

184 – Redshirt-junior C.J. Magrum from Oak Harbor, Ohio, returns as the starter at 184 pounds. A two-time NCAA championships qualifier, Magrum finished fourth at the 2011 Big Ten Championships as the seventh seed. Freshman Kenny Courts is Magrum’s main challenger. Courts, who hails from Harrisburg, Pa., and attended Central Dauphin, won two PIAA titles as a three-time finalist.

197 – Four-time New Jersey state champion and 2011 state winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, Andrew Campolattano (Bound Brook, N.J.) will receive the starting nod at 197 pounds. Contesting New Jersey’s all-time wins leader is freshman Nyle Bartling and redshirt-freshman Ray Gordon.

Hailing from Syracuse, Neb., Bartling is a Nebraska state champion as a three-time qualifier. Gordon, a Fairfield, Ohio, native saw time in open tournament action last season.

HWT – Redshirt- sophomore Peter Capone moves up to heavyweight in 2011-12 after splitting time at 184 and 197 pounds a season ago. The Johnson City, N.Y., native earned an at-large bid to the NCAA championships last season at 197 pounds after finishing seventh at the Big Ten championships and facing several Top 20 wrestlers.

Adding depth to the class will be Oklahoma transfer Kostadinos Karageorge and freshman duo Orry Elor and Carlos Lugo (Akron, Ohio). A Walnut Creek, Calif., native, Elor finished third at the California state championships, while Lugo also garnered a third-place finish at the Ohio High School state tournament.