Feb. 5, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (9-4, 1-1), ranked fourth in the major wrestling polls, split its opening two Big Ten matches last week with a 34-12 win over Indiana on Thursday and a tough 20-15 loss against No. 3 Minnesota Sunday at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes have two ranked conference foes slated this week as they travel to No. 13 Penn State Thursday at 7 p.m. and play host to No. 17 Purdue on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Then No. 3-ranked Ohio State opened up its 2003 Big Ten campaign with a 34-12 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers Thursday night at St. John Arena. Josh Daugherty (Sr., Huber Heights, Ohio) scored a pin, while Keaton Anderson (Sr., Pickerington, Ohio) and John Clark (Jr., Canton, N.Y.) combined technical falls to help the Buckeyes overcome an early 9-0 deficit and carry on to claim Ohio State’s seventh-straight win over the Hoosiers.

The Buckeyes completed the weekend dual series with a 20-15 loss to No. 3/4 and two-time reigning national champion Minnesota (13-4, 3-0) Sunday. Anderson topped reigning national champion Luke Becker in the 157 match, while Clark scored a dramatic upset of No. 3 Jacob Volkman as the Buckeyes captured wins in each of the event’s final four matches, but fell short to the reigning Big Ten champs. ANDERSON WRESTLES WAY TO TOP
Ohio State senior 157 Keaton Anderson met top-ranked Luke Becker of Minnesota last week as the top two wrestlers in the country at the 157-class butted heads.

Both scrapped to a 0-0 tie after the first period before Anderson set the 1,515 in attendance into an eruption with an emphatic 2-point takedown midway through the second period. Anderson carried a 3-1 advantage into the third stanza and extended the lead with two strong takedowns as he had Becker on the verge of a pin fall on two separate occasions for the 10-3 final tally and extend his current win streak to 14, while claiming the top spot in the polls.

Senior 157 and top-ranked Keaton Anderson and junior 165 and third-ranked John Clark represented Ohio State at the 2003 NWCA All-Star Classic Monday. Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson contributed as a coach at the elite competition held at the University of Delaware.

Anderson faced Northern Illinois’ Scott Owen, ranked third in the latest national polls. Anderson and Owen grappled to a 2-2 stalemate at the end of regulation and headed to sudden victory overtime where Owen chose the down position and Anderson took advantage by locking Owen into a cradle and a three-point near-fall for the 5-2 victory.

Clark sought out to avenge one of his three losses in 2003 to No. 4-ranked Troy Letters of Lehigh, who bested Clark 8-3 in the third place match at the Midlands earlier this season. Clark fell short in an eventful and high-scoring 19-14 decision in favor of Letters. The bout began with Letters taking an 11-3 edge following the first period, but Clark recovered to pull within 16-10. In the third period both Clark and Letters traded takedowns, while Clark scored two escapes to Letters’ one, but ultimately fell short at 19-14.

Hellickson joined fellow head coaches Craig Turnbull of West Virginia, Ashland’s Ray Kowatch and Jeff Swenson of Augsburg as coaches for the event.

Penn State enters the dual meet with a 10-4 record on the year and a 3-1 conference mark. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 27-9 victory over No. 16 Wisconsin. Penn State is currently ranked 15th in the nation by the Wrestling Mall and has assured itself a winning record in dual meets for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

At the helm for Penn State is Troy Sunderland who is entering his fourth season as the head coach. Sunderland was named Rookie coach of the year after the 1999 season in which he guided the Lions to a 12-5 dual meet record and a No. 10 ranking. He has a career coaching record of 37-53 in his four years with the Penn State wrestling squad.

Scott Moore is arguably the Nittany Lions top wrestler. He is currently ranked 9th in the nation at the 141 weight class by Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. magazine. Moore has a 42-6 mark on the season and an impressive 12-1 mark in dual matches. He just reached the 100-career win total this past Sunday with a 15-9 decision over Wisconsin’s Tom Clum.

Penn State leads the all-time series in dual matches against the Buckeyes 10-5. However, the Buckeyes have won the last two matches against the Nittany Lions, the most recent being a 20-13 victory on Feb. 16 of last year.

Purdue enters this week of action with an 11-3 overall record and a 0-2 mark in Big Ten competition. The Boilermakers are currently ranked 17th in the nation by the Wrestling mall. Last time out, Purdue fell to No. 10 Illinois 20-15.

At the helm for Purdue is Jesse Reyes, who is in his 9th season as head coach for Purdue. Reyes posted his 100th career coaching victory last season and is the Boilermaker’s all-time winningest coach in their wrestling history. He guided the squad to a 10-6 overall record and a 3-5 Big Ten mark last year.

Chris Fleeger is at the top of his class. Fleeger is a unanimous No. 1 at the 125-weight class by all major polls. He is currently 15-0 this year and has a career record of 49-4.

Ohio State leads the all-time dual series against the Boilermakers 44-20, which includes winning the last three meetings. The last dual between the two squads was a 27-8 OSU victory on Feb. 3, 2002.

With the 6-point pin on Sunday, Rowlands has a chance to claim the top spot in all-time team points. Currently, Rowlands is set at 446.5 following his victory via fall over Indiana and a 3-point decision versus Minnesota, which is good for second all-time. Rowlands trails only Ohio State assistant coach Mitch Clark’s career mark of 448.5. His 165.0 team points in 2002 tied Clark for second all-time in season points scored. Rowlands’ 162.0 team points in the 2000-01 campaign place him fourth in that category as well.

The Buckeye HWT looks to eclipse another OSU assistant in current Buckeye mentor Ken Ramsey for second all-time in Ohio State takedowns. Rowlands presently sits with 439, just three behind Ramsey.

The Buckeyes have gotten off to a fast start in the dual season winning nine of their first 13 matches, making heavy contributions to the OSU success are senior Keaton Anderson and juniors John Clark and Tommy Rowlands as they have gone a combined 36-2 during the duals season. Each has done so in impressive fashion, led by Rowlands who has claimed nine of his last 10 bouts, with four falls, two technical falls and a major decision.

Anderson is currently in the midst of a 14-match win streak, while Clark has won his last six with two major decisions and a pair of technical falls.

Anderson faced No. 1 Luke Becker of Minnesota as he looked to avenge his only loss of 2003, a 8-5 decision in the finals of the 2002 Las Vegas Invitational.

Anderson and Becker scrapped to a 0-0 tie after the first period before Anderson set the 1,515 in attendance into an eruption with an emphatic 2-point takedown midway through the second period. Anderson carried a 3-1 advantage into the third stanza and extended the lead with two strong takedowns as he had Becker on the verge of a pin fall on two separate occasions for a 9-3 edge. Anderson reached the 1:00 riding time advantage to net the 10-3 decision over Becker and extend his streak to 14 matches.

The third-ranked Buckeyes have fared well against the country’s elite teams as OSU has posted a 5-3 mark in dual meets versus teams ranked in the Top 25. Even more impressive is Ohio State’s 4-3 record versus teams in the Top 10.

Included in the 4-3 ledger are wins over No. 6 West Virginia, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 24 Cleveland State and twice over the Big Red. The loss column is impressive as well, as the Buckeyes have lost only to the Top 3 teams in the nation in No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Iowa and a tight home loss to No. 3/4 Minnesota.

Ohio State junior HWT Tommy Rowlands recorded his 100th career win when he pinned Matt Seaburg of Chattanooga at the 1:10 mark of the HWT match on Jan. 4. Rowlands is the third Buckeye to tally 100 career wins in the last three seasons under Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson and joins assistant coaches and former Buckeyes Ken Ramsey (121 wins) and Mitch Clark (119 wins) on the distinguished list.

The Buckeyes return home to face 17th-ranked Purdue Sunday at 2 p.m. in St. John Arena.

Ohio State will turn around and play host to Illinois to culminate the 2003 home season Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.