Dec. 29, 2002

Columbus, Ohio – No. 5 Ohio State wrestling team completed a stellar 2002 tournament season as the Buckeyes claimed a second place finish on Sunday at the 40th annual Midlands Championships held on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The Buckeyes tallied a tournament team total of 96.5 points falling just behind Midlands team champion No. 2 Iowa (129.5) in a Big Ten-dominated final leader board that also featured fourth place Illinois and fifth place Penn State.

Leading the way for the Buckeye squad was senior 157 Keaton Anderson (Pickerington, Ohio), ranked fifth in the current Intermat individual poll, claimed his third title in four events as he scored a major decision over Brad Harper of Purdue in the round of 16 and pinned Northwestern’s Mike Kimberlin at the 5:51 mark of his first round match. In the quarterfinals, Anderson scored a tight 4-2 win over No. 12 David Bolyard of Central Michigan, which advanced him to the semifinals where Anderson pinned No. 8 Derek Jenkins of Rider at the 5:58 mark of the match. Anderson attained his third tournament title of 2002 with a 9-6 win over No. 4 Gray Maynard of Michigan State.

Ohio State junior HWT Tommy Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio) claimed his second runner-up finish of 2002 as he pushed through to the semis with a 7-3 decision over Michigan’s Greg Wagner in round one, a dominating 15-0 technical fall in the round of 16 over Jack Dennis of Northern Illinois and a 6-5 ledger over No. 7 Pat Cummins of Penn State in the quarterfinals. Rowlands was set to do battle with current Ohio State assistant coach and former national champion Mitch Clark in the semifinals, but Clark was forced to default. Seeking another title in the finals, Rowlands met Iowa’s Steve Mocco in a rematch of the 2002 heavyweight national championship match and fell by a 4-2 decision. Ohio State Junior John Clark (Canton, N.Y.) earned a fourth place finish as he first maneuvered his way into semifinal competition with a 7-3 win over Anthony Castillo of Illinois in the first round, a 3-2 edge over Boston University’s Leighton Brady in the round of 16 and a 10-4 triumph over Central Michigan’s Kevin Carr in the quarterfinals before falling to Joe Hesketh, competing with Sunkist Kids, via pin at the 5:46 mark of the match. Clark was unable to rebound in the third place match as he fell to Lehigh’s Troy Letters (No. 5) by a final tally of 8-3.

Ohio State senior 197 Anton Talamantes (Ft.Wayne, Ind.), who took the Las Vegas Invitational title earlier this month, rebounded from a first round loss to claim fifth place with a 3-1 decision over No. 16 Kyle Smith of Michigan.

Junior Jeff Ratliff (141, Marion, Ohio) also advanced through the initial four rounds as he combined a major decision and technical fall in the first two rounds with a 6-3 decision over John Giacche of Northwestern in the round of 16 and a 9-3 decision over Juan Venturi of Princeton in the quarterfinals. On Sunday, Ratliff fell in the semifinal round via 7-1 decision at the hands of 5th-ranked Dylan Long of Northern Iowa, while ultimately placing sixth amongst the tournament field as Ratliff dropped a 11-6 ledger to Central Michigan’s Derek Phillips in the fifth place match.

Ohio State commences the 2002-03 home season as it serves host to the 2003 Buckeyes Duals at St. John Arena. The ten-team event includes Buffalo, Clarion, Cleveland State, Drexel, Duke, Eastern Illinois, Edinboro, Northern Illinois and Tennessee-Chattanooga. Ohio State is set to face Northern Illinois on mat one at 11 a.m. and then Chattanooga at 12:35 p.m. for the second series and will finish the day with three dual meets in succession with Drexel at 2:10 p.m. and No. 24 Cleveland State at 5:20 p.m.

Midlands final team standings

1. Iowa, 129.5 2. Ohio State, 96.5 3. Sunkist Kids, 95.0 4. Illinois, 92.5 5. Penn State 84.5