Feb. 27, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (12-7, 4-4), ranked 9th in the latest NWCA wrestling poll, closed out the 2003 regular season with a two-match sweep on the road at Northwestern and at Wisconsin. Six Buckeyes concluded the week’s action with perfect 2-0 marks, highlighted by Keaton Anderson, who extended his current win streak to 20-straight matches as he finished up the dual season with an unblemished 15-0 mark. HWT Tommy Rowlands scored his team-best 10th pin Sunday in the win at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes conclude the 2003 season with an overall mark of 12-7 and a 4-4 conference record. Ohio State will use the week to prep for the Big Ten Championships Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9.

In what proved to be a milestone dual for 17th-year Ohio State wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson, the No. 7 Ohio State wrestling team scored wins in the final six matches of the dual Friday night as OSU posted a 25-14 victory over Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. The win snaps a three-match losing streak for the Buckeyes and also serves as Hellickson’s 250th career win at Ohio State.

Northwestern captured wins in three of the first four weight classes to start the evening as the Wildcats scored major decisions at both the 125 and 133 classes and combined a fall at 149 for an early 14-4 advantage. Buckeyes swept the remaining matches at 184, 197 and HWT. Seniors Casey Kapustka and Anton Talamantes combined decision wins at 184 and 197 as OSU took the 20-14 edge before HWT Tommy the took a 20-14 edge before HWT Tommy Rowlands notched his third-consecutive win via technical fall over Northwestern’s Matt Repchak.

OSU completed the sweep with a 28-17 win at No. 24 Wisconsin as Anderson completed a perfect 15-0 dual season Anderson claimed a forfeit win to start the dual in the 157 match, as he posted his 20th consecutive victory and his 99th career win to give OSU an early 6-0 edge. Ohio State ripped off consecutive technical fall and major decision wins in the 165 and 174 matches as the Buckeyes pushed their lead to 15-0.

Wisconsin scored its first points of the afternoon with a decision at 184 before Ohio State 197 Anton Talamantes recorded a decision win in the final dual bout of his career with a 7-3 tally over Lee Kraemer.

With the score set at 18-3, Ohio State recorded its second 6-point win of the day as Rowlands scored his team-leading 10th fall of the season to improve his 2003 record to 34-4 and 17-2 in dual action.

Wisconsin climbed back into the match with a fall by No. 12 Tony Black at 125 and a technical fall at 133 by No. 11 Tom Clum to set the dual at 24-13.

141 Jeff Ratliff (Jr., Marion, Ohio) captured Ohio State’s final victory of the day with an 18-7 major decision over Tyler Laudon as he ended the 2003 regular season with a careerhigh 28 wins. Wisconsin posted a major decision at 149 for the final dual score of 28-17.

With the 25-14 win at Northwestern Feb. 21 Ohio State 17th-year head coach Russ Hellickson scored his 250th career win at the Buckeye helm.

Hellickson, who has led OSU to 20- win seasons on three occasions, joins Minnesota head coach J Robinson as the only active coaches in the Big Ten to reach the 250-win milestone at their respective schools.

The momentum began to shift in favor of Ohio State at 157 pounds, where top-ranked Keaton Anderson outlasted Mike Kimberlin 5-2 to claim his 31st win of 2003 and extend his current win streak to 19-consecutive matches. Sixth-ranked John Clark followed with a narrow 10-8 win against Jason Erwinski at 165.

The Buckeyes climbed back to knot the dual score at 14-14 after a 13-0 major decision at 174 by No. 6 Blake Kaplan over Wildcat Andrew Curran.

OSU senior 157 Keaton Anderson, who is ranked No. 1 in all recognized polls, extended his current win streak to 20 matches last week with a 5-2 decision over Northwestern’s Mike Kimberlin and a forfeit win at Wisconsin.

With the victories Anderson concluded the 2003 regular season at 32-1, which included an unblemished 15-0 dual ledger. The victories also served as Anderson’s 98th and 99th career wins.

Anderson seeks to become the fourth OSU wrestler in the past two seasons to reach the milestone. He will also join assistant coaches and former Buckeyes Ken Ramsey (121) and Mitch Clark (119).

With a 3-point decision versus Purdue Feb. 9, Tommy Rowlands claimed the top spot in career team points in Ohio State program history. Rowlands eclipsed Ohio State assistant coach Mitch Clark’s career mark of 448.5 and currently stands at 470.5. 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 surpassed another OSU assistant in Ken Ramsey on the all-time charts as he scored has scored 23 takedowns in his last three matches to surpass Ramsey for second in all-time takedowns with 459.

Rowlands also reached the 100-win milestone earlier this season with a pin of Chattanooga’s Matt Seaburg on Jan. 4.

Rowlands joins assistant coaches and former Buckeyes Ken Ramsey (121 wins) and Mitch Clark (119 wins) on the distinguished list.

Senior 157 and top-ranked Keaton Anderson and junior 165 John Clark, then-ranked third, 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 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.

The middle of the OSU lineup boasts a pair of Top 5 wrestlers who excelled in dual meets this season in No. 1 Keaton Anderson and No. 4 John Clark at the 157 and 165 slots. Each thrived in the dual setting as they combined for a spectacular 31-3 combined mark in 2003, with Anderson at 15-0 and Clark at 16-3.

Ohio State’s advantage did not stop at 165, however, as No. 6 Blake Kaplan built a solid 20- 3 overall record in 2003 and 6-1 in dual meets since returning from injury.

Rowlands claimed 14 of his last 16 dual bouts, as he contributed to the foursome’s impressive 54-9 combined dual record.

The ninth-ranked Buckeyes have faired well against the country’s elite teams as OSU has posted a 7-7 mark in dual meets versus teams ranked in the Top 25. Ohio State fell just short of breaking even with a 4-5 record versus teams in the Top 10.

Included in the 7-7 ledger are wins at No. 6 West Virginia, twice over No. 6/7 Cornell, No. 16 Michigan State, at No. 18 Penn State, No. 24 Cleveland State and at No. 24 Wisconsin. The loss column is impressive as well, as the Buckeyes have lost 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.

The Ohio State wrestling team ran the gauntlet in 2003 as the regular season schedule was nothing short of grueling as OSU faced 15 programs currently ranked in the Top 25 of the three major polls.

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 and joins assistant coaches and former Buckeyes Ken Ramsey (121) and Mitch Clark (119) on the distinguished list.

Nine Buckeyes qualified for the 2002 NCAA Tournament with seven wrestlers receiving seeds, led by No. 1 Tommy Rowlands, who was joined by No. 4 Nick Preston (197), No. 7 Jeff Ratliff (133), No. 8 John Clark (165), No. 9 Keaton Anderson (149), No. 11 Robert Sessley (141) and No. 12 Josh Janson (157). Jesse Leng (125) and Blake Kaplan (184) were not seeded.

Seven Buckeyes returned this season with aspirations of qualifying for 2003 national competition, included in that list are Rowlands, Talamantes (who qualified in 2001), Anderson, Ratliff, Leng, Clark and Kaplan.

Ohio State will have a week off following the Big Ten Championships to prep for national competition. The NCAA Championships will be held Thursday, March 20 – Saturday, March 22 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.