Nov. 9, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 15th-ranked Ohio State wrestling team travels to the Michigan State Open Sunday, where the Buckeyes’ full squad will compete at the day-long event. The competition will be the final tune-up first-year head coach Tom Ryan’s squad before Ohio State hosts third-ranked Missouri next Thursday in the Buckeyes’ home opener.

Among the 300 wrestlers at the Eastern Michigan Open last weekend, 13 Buckeyes competed, with five earning Top 5 finishes. It marked Ryan’s debut and the first action this season for his Buckeyes.

At the MSU Open this Sunday, participating Div. I teams in addition to Ohio State include Ohio University, Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Penn, North Carolina, Cleveland State and Old Dominion. Individuals from many other programs will also wrestle, filling out the 32-man brackets for each weight class.

Ohio State is coming off its first competition of the season at the Eastern Michigan Open last Sunday, where 13 Buckeyes competed. Five placed among the Top 5 in their respective weight classes at the event. Sophomore Reece Humphrey took third in the 141-pound weight class, while sophomore Jason Johnstone and freshman Lance Palmer shared the third and fourth spots at 149. Freshman Will Livingston took fourth at 125 and fifth-year senior and Hofstra transfer Chris Vondruska took fourth at 157.

Livingston, wrestling in his first collegiate tournament, collected a second-round win over Purdue’s Brandon Tucker, who owns a win over the two-time defending national champion in that weight class. Palmer notched an impressive quarterfinal overtime win over Eastern Michigan’s Jermaine Thompson.

“With the guys we had there last weekend, I could not have been more impressed with the effort we put forth at that tournament,” Joe Heskett, OSU assistant coach, said. “They are truly transferring our philosophy from a wrestling standpoint from the practice room to the competition. We have a ways to go, but it was an impressive start.

“This weekend we will go with our full team, so that will be nice to get to see everyone compete. The bottom line, after seeing about half of our team compete, if we go with that same focus as what we had at Eastern Michigan, that same intensity, that’s how we will climb the ladder. We have to keep fighting to improve.”

When Ohio State takes on No. 3 Missouri in St. John Arena Nov. 16, the Buckeye wrestling program will also take time to honor the state’s former multiple state champions during a “parade of champions” during an intermission.

Tom Ryan is in his first season as head coach at Ohio State after leading the program at Hofstra for the last 11 seasons. He led the Pride to six-consecutive conference titles and earned the league’s coach of the year honor seven times. His career record there of 109-83-1 included a national record 47-match unbeaten streak (46-0-1). Ryan has guided 65 wrestlers to NCAA championship appearances, including eight last season. Prior to his stint at Hofstra, Ryan was an assistant coach at Indiana from 1992-94. He was a two-time All-American at Iowa and helped lead the Hawkeyes to national titles in 1991 and 1992.

### GO BUCKS! ###