Feb. 13, 2004

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (7-8, 3-3 Big Ten) tested third-ranked Illinois (12-1, 6-1) until the final match of the evening as the Illini collected a 19-14 decision over the Buckeyes at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. Friday night. Ohio State senior HWT Tommy Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/ Bishop Ready) gave the Buckeyes an early 5-0 lead after winning the opening bout via technical fall with a 28-12 score over eighth-ranked Mike Benhke. The victory served as No. 152 in Rowlands’ career, moving him to the top spot in career wins at Ohio State. Rowlands surpassed former Buckeye Ed Potokar (1980-83) on the all-time win chart.

Rowlands scored the technical fall at the 6:28 point of the HWT match, allowing the Buckeyes to stake to the 5-point advantage. However, the Illini rolled off three decisions in succession at 125, 133 and 141 pounds to claim a 9-5 advantage.

Senior 149 Jeff Ratliff (Marion, Ohio/ Marion) pulled the Buckeyes to within a point of the Illini with his 27th win of the season over Anton Dietzen. Ratliff, ranked 12th in the latest polls, outscored Dietzen by an 8-2 count, notching one takedown in each period.

The Illini enjoyed its biggest advantage of the night at 13-8 after a major decision at 157 before another Buckeye senior – John Clark (Canton, N.Y./ Canton) – cut the OSU deficit to 13-11with an 8-4 decision. Clark, ranked as high as No. 9 at 165, scored takedowns in each period en route to his seventh straight win and 27th on the season.

Illinois equaled its 5-point advantage after a decision at 174 before the marquee match of the night at 184, which pitted No. 9 Blake Kaplan (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Sycamore) against Illini No. 3 Brian Glynn. Kaplan scored the only takedown of the match with just 11 seconds on the clock in the second period and added an escape and a riding time advantage to claim the shutout win over Glynn. Kaplan’s decision allotted OSU a chance at victory heading into the final match of the night at 197 down just two points at 16-14. Two ranked wrestlers again met in the deciding match as Buckeye No. 15 J.D. Bergman (Oak Harbor, Ohio/ Oak Harbor) locked up with Illini No. 13 Jason Potter. Potter emerged with a 5-2 decision, sending the Illini to the win as he used a first period takedown with less than seven seconds remaining and a second takedown with less than one minute left on the clock in the second period to overtake Bergman and hand the freshman his first loss in his last five bouts.

The dual with the Illini Friday night served as Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson’s 500th career dual. With the loss, Hellickson now owns a career record of 329-165-6 in 22 seasons and an overall mark at OSU of 258-140-6 in 18 years.

No. 3 Illinois 19, No. 18 Ohio State 14 Hwt: #1 Tommy Rowlands (OSU) tf. #8 Mike Behnke (IL), 28-12(6:29) 0-5 125: #7 Kyle Ott (IL) dec. Jermaine Jones (OSU), 13-8 3-5 133: #5 Mark Jayne (IL) dec. Jesse Leng (OSU), 12-5 6-5 141: Michael Martin (IL) dec. Theo Dotson (OSU), 7-4 9-5 149: #12 Jeff Ratliff (OSU) dec. Anton Dietzen (IL), 8-2 9-8 157: #1 Alex Tirapelle (IL) m. dec. Ryan Rhodes (OSU), 19-6 13-8 165: #9 John Clark (OSU) dec. Ben Hay (IL), 8-4 13-11 174: #9 Pete Friedl (IL) dec. Anthony Magistrelli (OSU), 6-1 16-11 184: #15 Blake Kaplan (OSU) dec. #3 Brian Glynn (IL), 4-0 16-14 197: #13 Jason Potter (IL) dec. #20 J.D. Bergman (OSU), 5-2 19-14