COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following the official announcement Wednesday of the 330 student-athletes who will wrestle at the 2011 NCAA Division I Championships, five members of the Ohio State wrestling team will compete in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Peter Capone earned an at-large bid at 197 pounds. The redshirt-freshman from Johnson City, N.Y., will join Ian Paddock (133), Colt Sponseller (165), Nick Heflin (174) and C.J. Magrum (184). Capone was one of 50 at-large selections and one among the five who were chosen Wednesday at 197-pounds. Capone finished seventh at the Big Ten championships, but the conference was awarded six qualifiers. In all, Capone finished 2-2 at the event (19-15 overall), defeating John Schoen of Northwestern, 9-3, and No. 7 Joe Barczak of Illinois, 2-0. However, he dropped 6-2 and 6-4 decisions to No. 1 Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin and Tyler Dickenson of Michigan State, respectively.
Paddock, Sponseller, Heflin and Magrum earned automatic bids following their performances at the Big Ten championships this past weekend in Evanston, Ill. The Big Ten Conference was allocated eight automatic qualifiers at 133 pounds. In the 165-pound class, the Top 5 wrestlers advanced to the NCAA championships, while at 174 pounds, the Top 8 qualified. Finally, the league was awarded 6 qualifiers at 184 pounds.
A sophomore from Warsaw, N.Y., Paddock owns a 17-8 overall record and finished sixth at the Big Ten championships. Paddock dropped his first-round match at the league championships to the No. 1 seed, Andrew Long of Penn State, but rebounded with back-to-back wins vs. Akif Eren of Purdue, 3-2, and Levi Mele of Northwestern, 4-3. However, Paddock was forced to forfeit his remaining two matches because of injury.
Sponseller, a senior from Glenmont, Ohio, was the Big Ten championship runner-up for the second-consecutive year at 165 pounds. Facing No. 1 Andrew Howe of Wisconsin in a rematch from the conference final from a year ago, Sponseller dropped a 3-1 sudden victory decision to Howe. With a 21-5 record, Sponseller entered his bout vs. Howe on a 10-match win streak. Sponseller is seeking his first All-America honor in his final season as the No. 5 seed.
Redshirt-freshman Nick Heflin advanced to the 174-pound final at the conference championships in his first attempt, securing his place as the 10th seed in the 2011 edition of nationals. Beating the Nos. 7 and 6 seeds, Justin Zeerip of Michigan and Ben Jordan of Wisconsin by a pair of 2-1 scores, the Buckeye from Massillon, Ohio, faced No. 1 seed Ed Ruth of Penn State in the final where he lost, 8-5. Heflin has compiled a 20-7 record in his first full season as a Buckeye.
Slated the No. 7 seed at the Big Ten championships, Magrum finished fourth at 184 pounds. The Oak Harbor, Ohio, native owns a 12-11 overall record following a 4-2 performance this past weekend. Magrum won three consecutive matches to earn a chance to finish third, but he dropped his third-place bout to Wisconsin’s and No. 1seed Travis Rutt, 6-0.