January 29, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the most dramatic meet of the season, Ohio State came within a foot of upsetting No. 12 Purdue but instead had to settle for a 19-19 tie. The Buckeyes record runs to 9-6-1 (0-2-1 Big Ten) while the Boilermakers’ mark stands at 14-2-1 (1-0-1 Big Ten).

Purdue took a 9-3 lead after three matches, but Ohio State marched back behind their wrestlers at 149, 157 and 165 pounds. The comeback was started by Jeff Bucher (Sr., Toledo, Ohio), who picked up a takedown with one minute remaining in his match on his way to a 6-2 win. Buchers win made the score 9-6 in favor of Purdue.

OSU took the lead when Brian Roskovich (Jr., Bridgeport, Ohio) won a major decision over James Leavell, 11-0. After taking a 7-0 lead into the third period, Roskovich racked up two points for a takedown, a penalty point for stalling by Purdue and a point for his 3:33 in riding time. The major decision gave the Buckeyes the lead, 10-9.

That set the stage for Ohio State’s man of the moment, Peter Rogers (Jr., Sheboygan, Wis.). The Buckeyes’ hottest wrestler continued his torrid pace by pinning Dan Rendell at the 6:32 mark. Rogers had the lead, 5-2, at the beginning of the third period when he started to turn Rendell from his front to his back. The crowd rose to their feet as Rogers completed the move, pinned Rendell and picked up six team points for Ohio State. Rogers has now won ten dual matches in a row and twelve of his last thirteen. The ten wins in a row is the Buckeyes’ longest such streak of the year. Rogers has also picked up 13 dual match wins, a team-high.

But that’s when Purdue started a comeback of their own. They got a win at 174 to narrow the team score to 16-12. But Ohio State’s Nick Preston (Fr., Columbus, Ohio), wrestling with renewed confidence after his victory over Penn State’s No. 12 Ross Thatcher last Sunday, beat the Boilermakers’ Mark Colegrove, 10-5, to push OSU’s team score lead back to 19-12.

Purdue had two matches left and seven team points needed to tie it up. They narrowed the score to 19-15 after a 4-3 win at 197. The final match of the meet, at heavyweight, would decide the winner, with twelfth-ranked David Pierce matching up against OSU’s Eric Wood (Ashland, Ohio). Despite being outweighed by 52 pounds, Wood hung in until late in the match. Pierce twice took down Wood in the closing moments of the third period, the second of which made the match score 9-2 with 30 seconds left. With his riding time, Pierce would have had enough to score a major decision victory, which would have tied the meet score. With 20 seconds remaining in the contest and the crowd on their feet, Wood tried desperately to escape Pierce’s grasp and pick up the one point necessary to give OSU a win. With five seconds left Wood nearly broke free, but Pierce hung onto his foot, preventing Wood from getting loose. As the clock ran down to zero, Wood was within inches of escaping, but Pierce hung on to preserve the 10-2 victory, tying the team score up at 19-19.

Also picking up a huge win tonight was Robert Sessley (So., Columbus, Ohio). Wrestling against No. 11 Josh Hutchens at 133, Sessley returned to form in squeaking out a 2-1 win, the winning point coming on an escape just as time ran out. The Columbus native now has a team-high 25 victories on the year.

Ohio State returns to action Friday, February 5, against No. 22 Indiana. The meet starts at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.

Team Score

No. 12 Purdue Boilermakers 19 Ohio State Buckeyes 19

125 lbs – No. 10 Jason Silverstein, Purdue dec. Matt Fratta, Ohio State 9-3 133 lbs – Robert Sessley, Ohio State dec. No. 11 Josh Hutchens, Purdue 2-1 141 lbs – Carlos Blanco, Purdue pinned Kore Sharpley, Ohio State 1:50 149 lbs – Jeff Bucher, Ohio State dec. Erik Kerkhof, Purdue 6-2 157 lbs – Brian Roskovich, Ohio State maj. dec. James Leavell, Purdue 11-0 165 lbs – No. 18 Peter Rogers, Ohio State pinned Dan Rendell, Purdue 6:32 174 lbs – No. 17 James Crnich, Purdue dec. Bo James, Ohio State 3-2 184 lbs – Nick Preston, Ohio State dec. Mark Colegrove, Purdue 10-5 197 lbs – Jared Williams, Purdue dec. Brad Todd, Ohio State 4-3 HWT – No. 12 David Pierce, Purdue maj. dec. Eric Wood, Ohio State 10-2