May 5, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The five members of the Ohio State wrestling team that claimed All-America honors in 2004 and the OSU coaching staff have been invited to the Columbus Statehouse Tuesday, May 11 to be recognized for their efforts in leading the Buckeyes to a third-place finish at the 2004 NCAA championships. The Ohio Senate will present head coach Russ Hellickson and seniors John Clark, Blake Kaplan, Jeff Ratliff and Tommy Rowlands, and freshman J.D. Bergman with a resolution of recognition at the ceremony, which begins at 1:30 p.m.
The event will serve as a tribute to Ohio State’s miraculous run through the national tournament as each of the five wrestlers earned a spot in the 2004 Parade of All-Americans, helping the Buckeyes to their best national finish in program history at the event held March 18-20 in St. Louis.
Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/ Bishop Ready) led the charge of the program-best five All-Americans with his second career HWT national title, while Bergman (Oak Harbor, Ohio/Oak Harbor) reeled off six straight wins after a first-round loss to claim third at 197. At 165 and 174, Clark (Canton, N.Y./ Canton) and Kaplan (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Sycamore) ended their collegiate careers by reaching fifth-place at their respective weight classes, while Ratliff (Marion, Ohio/ Harding) emerged from the 149-pound bracket in eighth place. With his HWT title, Rowlands became the first four-time All-America in OSU history. Clark’s fifth-place finish earned him his second All-America award in the last two seasons.
The ceremony was originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, but was pushed back because Rowlands will travel to Guatemala to compete in the 211-pound weight class at the 2004 Pan American Championships March 6-7 in preparation for the U.S. Olympic Trials May 21-23 in Indianapolis.