Dec. 18, 2015

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Victories at 184, 197 and 285 pounds, including a dominating 16-0 tech fall by senior Kenny Courts (184 lbs.) lifted the sixth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team to a 27-16 victory over Northwestern on Friday evening at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The Buckeyes move to 4-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten while Northwestern falls to 1-5.

Ohio State won five of the nine weight classes that were contested (NU forfeited at 157 lbs.) and received key bonus points from Courts, redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan (fall in 2:15) and Johnni DiJulius (major decision, 8-0) to pull out the hard-fought victory. Other winners for the Buckeyes included Mark Martin at 197, who edged Jacob Berkowitz, 8-6, and Nick Tavanello, who held on for a 6-3 decision over Conan Jennings.

After Northwestern jumped out a 5-0 lead on the strength of Garrison White’s 17-2 tech fall over Mike Manuche at 125 pounds, Johnni DiJulius swung the momentum back in Ohio State’s favor with an 8-0 major decision against Dominick Malone.

Ahead 6-0 late in the third period and with riding time locked up, DiJulius got one final takedown to earn the extra bonus point. Ranked eighth in this week’s InterMat poll, DiJulius moved to 10-1 on the season and also picked up his 107th career victory. His opponent, Malone, was 9-1 coming into the match and was the Wildcats’ win leader so far this season.

NU’s Jameson Oster earned a 16-0 tech fall over Mike Hozan at 141 pounds, setting the stage for the 149 pound match between third-ranked and defending Big Ten champion Justin Tsirtsis and redshirt freshman Cody Burcher. A Gnadenhutten, Ohio native, Burcher dropped a hard-fought 5-3 decision in which he gave up just one takedown. Tsirtsis led 2-1 at the end of the first period and 4-1 in the second after a reversal, but Burcher was able to escape and then score another escape at the start of the third period, but could get no closer. Tsirtsis tacked on his fifth point via riding time.

A forfeit by NU at 157 pounds made the score 13-10 in favor of the Wildcats, but second-ranked Bo Jordan gave Ohio State the lead with a pin of Luke Norland in just 2:15. Jordan, now 7-0 on the year, has three falls this season, the last coming at Cleveland State on Nov. 24.

Tied at 16-16 after Mitch Sliga’s 4-0 decision at 174 over Dominic Prezzia, Kenny Courts needed just 3:29 to pick up a 16-0 tech fall over Regis Durbin at 184 pounds, giving Ohio State the lead for good at 21-16. Courts scored early and often in the first period, getting a takedown and three four-point near-falls to take a commanding 14-0 lead. The match lasted just 29 seconds into the second period as Courts picked up one final takedown to secure the tech fall, his 11th win of the year and fifth via bonus points.

Martin took down Berkowitz twice in the first period for a 4-1 lead and once in the second to go ahead 6-2. It was 7-4 late in the third when Berkowitz drew to within one, 7-6, on a takedown, but Martin’s defense allowed him to hang on in the end and tack on one more point for riding time.

Tavanello closed the night out with a 6-3 decision at 285 pounds that was highlighted by a first-period takedown, a third-period escape to take a 5-3 lead and well over one minute time that added up to his 13th win of the season. A NCAA at-large qualifier last year, Tavanello is ranked 19th this week by InterMat and is 13-2 on the season.


  • Ohio State has now won seven of the past eight meetings against Northwestern.
  • Jordan’s pin at 165 pounds came in just his second match at that weight this year. He wrestled his first five matches of the season at 174 pounds. A redshirt sophomore, Jordan was a All-American and third place NCAA finisher at 165 last year.
  • Courts’ 16-0 tech fall was the 80th win of his career.
  • Nathan Tomasello did not compete tonight for Ohio State because he will wrestle tomorrow in the 2015 Senior Nationals/Trials Qualifier in Las Vegas. Tomasello must finish in the top seven of his weight class (57 kg.) to earn a sport at the Olympic Trials, which takes place April 9-10 at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Mike Hozan made his second varsity start this season (the previous one was at Cleveland State on Nov. 24). He is a redshirt sophomore from Homerville, Ohio.
  • Seven of the nine wrestlers for the Buckeyes tonight are Ohio natives.

Ohio State is off until Jan. 3 when it travels to Champaign, Ill. to tangle with No. 12 Illinois. The Ilini are 8-0 this year and feature 2015 Big Ten and NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez at 157 lbs.

No. 6 Ohio State 27, Northwestern 16
Welsh-Ryan Arena | Evanston, Ill.
Ohio State: 4-1, 1-0 | Northwestern: 1-5, 0-1

125: Garrison White (NU) tech fall over Mike Manuche (OSU) 17-2 | NU 5, OSU 0
133: #8 Johnni DiJulius major decision over Dominick Malone 8-0 | NU 5, OSU 4
141: Jameson Oster (NU) tech fall over Mike Hozan (OSU) 16-0 | NU 10, OSU 4
149: #3 Jason Tsirtsis (NU) decision over Cody Burcher (OSU) 5-3 | NU 13, OSU 4
157: #13 Jake Ryan (OSU) won by forfeit | NU 13, OSU 10
165: #2 Bo Jordan won by fall over Luke Norland (NU) 2:15 | OSU 16, NU 13
174: Mitch Sliga (NU) decision over Dominic Prezzia (OSU) 4-0 | OSU 16, NU 16
184: #11 Kenny Courts tech fall over Regis Durbin (NU) 16-0 | OSU 21, NU 16
197: Mark Martin (OSU) decision over Jacob Berkowitz (NU) | OSU 24, NU 16
285: #19 Nick Tavanello (OSU) decision over Conan Jennings (NU) 6-2 | OSU 27, NU 16