Dec. 29, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The No. 7 Ohio State wrestling team finished its first day of competition at the Midlands in Evanston, Ill., Saturday with three of its wrestlers advancing to the semifinals and propelling the Buckeyes to a third-place tie with defending Midlands and NCAA champion Minnesota in the team race. OSU’s 63.5 points trails current leader No. 6 Iowa State (85.5) and second place No. 5 Iowa (81.5).

Jeff Ratliff (So., Marion, Ohio/Marion Harding), John Clark (So., Canton, N.Y./Canton) and Tommy Rowlands (So., Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready) advanced to the semifinals at 133, 165 and heavyweight, respectively, to keep OSU near the top of the standings. Six other Buckeyes also remain alive in the consolation bracket where they will try to capture third place and valuable team points. Robert Sessley (Sr., Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft) at 141, Keaton Anderson (Jr., Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington) at 149, Josh Janson (Sr., Loveland, Ohio/Moller) at 157, Anton Talamantes (Jr., Ft. Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) and Blake Kaplan (So., Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) at 184 and Nick Preston (Sr., Columbus, Ohio/DeSales) at 197 will have to win one or two matches in the consolation bracket to place in the prestigious event.

Ratliff, the No. 3 seed, has swept through his opponents with two wins by major decision and one by technical fall. His 12-3 major decision over Iowa’s Jesse Zobeck put Ratliff into the semifinals and a showdown with No. 10 Cliff Moore of Iowa. In a close match with No. 4 Josh Henson of Penn, No. 5 Clark went to overtime and scored a 7-5 decision to make the final four. Clark will now face No. 1 seed Joe Heskett of Iowa State for a spot in the finals.

After an 11-4 win in the opening round, No. 2 seed Rowlands battled through two close matches to reach the semifinals. He defeated Brian Keck, 3-2, before going to the wire to score a 6-5 decision over No. 7 Kevin Hoy of Air Force. Rowlands will now face No. 6 seed Steve Mocco of Iowa in a very anticipated match. In the final four of the heavyweight division, three of the four wrestlers currently compete in the Big Ten. The fourth wrestler is Mitch Clark, OSU assistant and former national champion with the Buckeyes. He will battle No. 1 seed and defending national champion John Lockhart in the first semifinal.

Mitch Clark is 3-0 in the tournament and has a 20-3 career record at the Midlands. His 16-2 major decision win over No. 5 seed Jason Cooley of Oregon State gave Clark the 20th win in his four years of competition at the Midlands making him the 13th wrestler in the 39-year history of the event to reach the ’20 in 4′ club – 20 wins in four consecutive seasons.

Session three opens with consolation bracket matches at Noon CST in Welsh-Ryan Arena on the campus of Northwestern University Sunday. The placing matches and finals will begin at 7 p.m. CST.

2001 Midlands Session II 125– Jesse Leng Conso Fourth Chris Rodrigues (N. Carolina) Dec Leng, 8-5

133– No. 3 Jeff Ratliff Quarterfinals Ratliff MajDec Jesse Zobeck (Iowa), 12-3

141– No. 4 Robert Sessley Quarterfinals No. 5 Aaron Holker (Iowa State) Dec Sessley, 5-4

141– Josh Daugherty Quarterfinals No. 2 Mark Conley (Navy) Dec Daugherty, 9-2

149– No. 6 Keaton Anderson Quarterfinals No. 3 Billy Maldanado (Iowa State) Dec Anderson, 3-1

157– No. 8 Josh Janson Quarterfinals No. 1 Yoshi Nakamura (Penn) MajDec Janson, 15-6

165– No. 5 John Clark Quarterfinals Clark Dec No. 4 Josh Henson (Penn), 7-5 OT

174– Ryan Hieber Conso Fourth Hieber DEF M. Erwin (VMI), medical default Conso Fifth Rashad Evans (Mich. St.) Dec Hieber, 7-4

184– No. 6 Anton Talamantes Quarterfinals No. 3 Jessman Smith (Iowa) Dec Talamantes, 12-7

184– Blake Kaplan Conso Fourth Kaplan Dec Tyrone Byrd (Illinois), 5-0 Conso Fifth Kaplan Dec Jason Potter (Illinois), 4-2

184– Casey Kapustka Conso Fourth Kapustka Dec Woodley Milord (Iowa State), 7-3 Conso Fifth No. 7 Tom Tanis (Rutgers) Dec Kapustka, 7-4

197– No. 5 Nick Preston Quarterfinals No. 4 Jon Trenge (Lehigh) Dec Preston, 3-1

HWT– No. 2 Tommy Rowlands Quarterfinals Rowlands Dec No. 7 Kevin Hoy (Air Force), 6-5

HWT– No. 4 Mitch Clark Quarterfinals Clark MajDec No. 5 Jason Cooley (Oregon St.), 16-2

Team Results (after session II) 1. Iowa State 85.5 2. Iowa 81.5 3. OHIO STATE 63.5 Minnesota 63.5 5. Pennsylvania 57.5