The Ohio State University wrestling program, family, friends and supporters gathered at the Ohio Union to celebrate the 2018-19 season. Memories and a meal were shared while the yearly awards were announced.
Myles Martin earned the Tommy Rowlands MVP recognition after a senior campaign in which he was unanimously ranked No. 1 all season, posted an overall record of 25-1, won a Big Ten title and capped off a four-time All-American career. Martin notched bonus points in 16 of 25 wins with eight major decisions, four tech falls and four pins.
Micah Jordan is the 2019 Ray Mendoza Leadership Award recipient, guiding the Buckeyes to Big Ten and NCAA Runner-ups finishes. He was a B1G and nationals individual finalist as well, posting an overall record of 29-3. Those 29 victories paced the Buckeyes in 2018-19.
Joey McKenna was honored as the Most Courageous, taking a leap of faith to become a Buckeye. His decision paid off as a senior, making a run all the way to the NCAA Finals bout. McKenna battled through a midseason injury and captured the 2019 Big Ten crown at 141 pounds, his fourth consecutive conference championship. He ended the season at 24-3 overall while simultaneously crushing it academically and adding the program’s Highest GPA award.
How does one earn the Most Improved Award after back-to-back top-4 finishes as an underclassman? Conclude a dominant 23-3 season by blasting through to the NCAA Finals. That’s how. Moore disposed of his previously undefeated semifinalist foe (Preston Weigel, Oklahoma State) with a major decision. Bonus points in the NCAA Semifinals. Whoa.
The 2019 Kosta Karageorge Battling Buckeye Award goes to Elijah Cleary. He broke into the starting lineup for a pair of duals and served as a pivotal sparring partner for All-American Micah Jordan and others. Cleary selflessly attended early morning workouts on a daily basis to help his teammates prepare as best they could for postseason action.
Ethan Smith was named the Chris Ford Freshman of the Year. He solidified his slot in the starting lineup when electrifying the St. John Arena crowd with a thrilling one-point win over his top-10 opponent in the Wisconsin dual. Smith went on to place sixth in the Big Ten Championships, score team points at the NCAAs and wrap up his freshman season with 20 wins.
Five Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Semifinals, each scaling the All-America stand. McKenna, Jordan and Moore were all finalists.
The Russ Hellickson Award is presented after each OSU-hosted dual to the match’s most outstanding performance. This season’s winners included:
vs. Navy (Nov. 3) – Micah Jordan
vs. Wisconsin (Dec. 9) – Ethan Smith
vs. North Carolina State (Jan. 6) – Kollin Moore
vs. Michigan State (Jan. 13) – Myles Martin
vs. Michigan (Jan. 25) – Joey McKenna
vs. Penn State (Feb. 8) – Malik Heinselman
vs. Nebraska (Feb. 17) – Chase Singletary