Dec. 15, 2013


COLUMBUS, Ohio– The No. 7 Ohio State wrestling team lost to No. 1 Penn State, 31-6, Sunday afternoon at Rec Hall in State College, Pa., in its Big Ten opener. The Buckeyes fall to 4-1 on the season and 0-1 in the conference. Johnni DiJulius and Nick Heflin earned wins for the Scarlet and Gray at 133 and 197 pounds, respectively.

Ohio State will wrap up the first half of the 2013-14 season at 7 p.m. Thursday when it faces Kent State in Kent, Ohio. The Buckeyes will open the 2014 portion of their schedule at Wisconsin Jan. 10. The first home match of 2014 in St. John Arena is against Nebraska at 7 p.m. Jan. 24.

Trailing the Nittany Lions, 5-0, after No. 19 Nick Roberts fell to No. 3 Nico Megaludis, 21-4, in the 125-pound bout, DiJulius, ranked sixth, pulled the Buckeyes to within two with his 3-2 victory over No. 15 Jimmy Gulibon. Riding time proved to be the difference as DiJulius rallied from a 2-1 deficit and scored an escape at the top of the third period and accrued more than a minute of riding time.

Securing the Buckeyes’ second win of the afternoon, Heflin, polled No. 5, was a 3-1 winner over Wes Phipps. After a scoreless first period, Heflin increased his 1-0 lead to a 3-1 advantage following a third-period takedown.

A trio of Buckeyes in Logan Stieber (141 pounds), Ian Paddock (149 pounds) and Randy Languis (157 pounds) dropped close decisions in their respective bouts.

Stieber, ranked No. 1, lost his first collegiate match since Feb. 12, 2012, a 7-3 setback vs. Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State in the NWCA /Cliff Keen National Duals. Entering the match vs. Penn State’s Zain Retherford, who is No. 8 in the country, 9-0, Stieber lost 4-2 in sudden victory. Stieber owned a slim 2-1 lead entering the third period. Retherford compiled more than one minute of riding time which effectively tied the score at 2-all and eventually sent the match into overtime. As the one-minute extra time began to come to a close, Retherford scored a takedown for the win.

A winner of more than 70 matches in his career, Paddock could not overcome a 4-3 deficit early in the third period and lost, 5-3, to Zack Beitz.

At 157 pounds, Languis traded points with James Vollrath; unfortunately he traded takedowns for escapes. Down 7-4 in the third period, Vollrath scored two more takedowns to secure the Nittany Lions’ fourth win of the afternoon. Ohio State would go on to drop four of the next five matches, including tough losses to the Nos. 1, 3, 1 and 12th-ranked wrestlers in the nation. Between 165 pounds and heavyweight, Buckeyes Joe Grandominico, Mark Martin, No. 12 Kenny Courts and Nick Tavanello faced a Nittany Lion lineup that has a combined two national titles, seven All-America laurels and an NCAA finalist and qualifier. In the 165-pound match up, Grandominico lost, 20-5, to No. 1 David Taylor and in the next bout, Martin suffered a 16-4 loss to No. 3 Matt Brown. Courts faced No. 1 Ed Ruth in the 184-pound bout and was defeated 14-3. After Heflin’s win at 197 pounds, Tavanello lost 15-4 to No. 12 Jimmy Lawson in the final match of the day.