COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3 Ohio State wrestling team (10-0) is off to its second-best start in program history after beating No. 8 Cornell, 27-14, Saturday at the UNI-Dome in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Only the Buckeyes’ 15-match win streak to start the season in 2001-02 betters the current mark.

Ohio State will face No. 3 Iowa State at noon ET Sunday for a shot at the National Duals title. The Cyclones defeated Bloomsburg (38-7) and Maryland (26-6) earlier in the day.

Ohio State took an early and encouraging 6-0 lead after 125-pounder junior Nikko Triggas pinned Frank Perrelli in 3:35. Triggas, a Moraga, Calif., native who entered this weekend leading the team in falls with seven, now has eight on the season. 

However, Cornell would answer with back-to-back wins at 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. Freshman Ian Paddock suffered a 19-6 setback to No. 12 Mike Grey, while senior tri-captain and No. 1 Reece Humphrey lost his second consecutive match of the season and day, an 8-4 decision to No. 6 Kyle Dake. Humphrey, who hails from Indianapolis, Ind., was 18-0 coming into the weekend.

Humphrey and Dake met earlier this season in the semifinals at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Collegiate Invitational in Primm, Nev. Humphrey defeated Dake in a close contest that went to sudden victory and ended in a 4-2 decision.

Down 7-6, the Buckeyes once again received life from senior tri-captain and third-rank Lance Palmer at 149 pounds. Earlier in the day against No. 15 Arizona State, Palmer spurred the Scarlet and Gray to seven consecutive wins following his 1:13-second pin of Vicente Varela. The Buckeye from Columbia Station, Ohio, used four takedowns, an escape and a riding time of 4:22 to outlast Hicks Manson, 10-2.

At 157 pounds, red-shirt freshman Tony Jameson improved his weekend mark to 2-0 when he pinned John Testy-Bastings in 3:22. Jameson’s fall came after trailing, 2-0, on a Testy-Bastings reversal in the second period.

The Buckeyes took a 20-7 advantage after six bouts courtesy of junior Colt Sponseller’s 10-2 major decision over No. 12 Justin Kerber at 165 pounds. It is the Glenmont, Ohio, native’s sixth major decision of the season, which currently leads the team. In his second match of the day, the seventh-ranked Sponseller collected four takedowns, an escape and a riding time of 1:13.

At 174 pounds, senior Dave Rella, No. 20 in the latest InterMat standings, encountered No. 1 Mack Lewnes. In a match where Rella scored four escapes, he could not overcome Lewnes’ four takedowns and escape and dropped a 9-4 decision.

However, No. 8 Mike Pucillo, a senior tri-captain from Strongsville, Ohio, pushed the Buckeyes ahead, 24-10, after Pucillo beat No. 17 Steve Bosak, 13-1, for his second major decision of the season. After pinning his first opponent in the National Duals in Arizona State’s Jake Meredith, Pucillo nearly had a repeat performance with his pair of nearfalls in the first and second periods.

Cornell cut its deficit to 10 after the 197-pound bout, but it matter little as the Buckeyes already had secured the team victory. Sophomore Cody Magrum dropped a 14-4 decision to Cam Simaz, who is No. 6 in the nation.

Senior Corey Morrison concluded the match and the day with a 5-2 decision over No. 17 Joshua Arnone at heavyweight. Morrison, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Arnone wrestled to a scoreless first period, before Morrison scored a pair of takedowns and escape in the second and third periods.

NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals
No. 3 Ohio State 27, No. 8 Cornell 14
Jan. 9, 2010
Cedar Falls, Iowa

125 -Nikko Triggas pinned Frank Perrelli (Cornell), 3:35
133 – No. 12 Mike Grey (Cornell) mdec. Ian Paddock, 19-6
141 -No. 6 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. No. 1 Reece Humphrey, 8-4
149 – No. 3 Lance Palmer mdec. Hicks Manson (Cornell), 10-2
157 – Tony Jameson pinned John Testy-Bastings (Cornell), 3:22
165 – No. 7 Colt Sponseller mdec. No. 12 Justin Kerber (Cornell), 10-2
174 – No. 1 Mack Lewnes (Cornell) dec. No. 20 Dave Rella, 9-4
184 – No. 8 Mike Pucillo mdec. No. 17 Steve Bosak, 13-1
197 – No. 6 Cam Simaz (Cornell) mdec. Cody Magrum, 14-4
285 – Corey Morrison dec. No. 17 Joshua Arnone (Cornell), 5-2