Jan. 19, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) opens the 2005 Big Ten schedule at 1 p.m. Sunday at Michigan State. The Buckeyes have won six of 10 duals in non-conference action.

Ohio State moved its win streak to five straight duals Friday night with a last-match, 20-17 victory at No. 25 Pittsburgh. Trailing 17-11 after eight matches, sophomore J.D. Bergman gave Ohio State six points with his sixth fall of the season at 197 before freshman Kirk Nail held on for a tight, 3-2 win in the deciding match at HWT.

Sunday, the Buckeyes closed their weekend road trip at Cornell. Ohio State’s five-match win streak was snapped with a 27-9 loss to the No. 11-ranked Big Red. Freshmen Jason Johnstone and Nail each won decisions at 141 and HWT, while Bergman downed No. 7/9-ranked Jerry Rinaldi by a 4-1 score at 197.

With the 20-17 win at Pittsburgh Friday night, the Buckeyes notched their first win over a ranked team this season. The Buckeyes have wrestled three ranked squads in 2004-05 and have recorded a 1-2 mark so far.

The losses have come at the hands of No. 13 Missouri and No. 11 Cornell. The Tigers downed Ohio State, 33-6, Dec. 18 in Columbus. The Big Red scored a 27-9 victory over the Buckeyes last Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y.

Ohio State commences its league schedule this weekend at No. 18 Michigan State. The Spartans serve as the first of eight upcoming matches against nationally-ranked squads in Big Ten action.

Ohio State’s only breaks are a home date with Purdue Jan. 28 and a non-league dual at St. John Arena against Virginia Jan. 30.

After the Spartans, Ohio State welcomes No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 9 Iowa Feb. 4 and 5 before finishing the season on the road at No. 4 Michigan, No. 8 Minnesota and No. 15 Penn State.

Ohio State freshman Kirk Nail had some rather large shoes to fill at HWT this season after the Buckeyes watched two-time national champ and four-time All-American Tommy Rowlands complete his career in 2004.

Following a 3-3 start to his collegiate career this season, Nail has improved to an 8-6 record. That mark includes his 3-2 decision win at No. 25 Pittsburgh last Friday that decided a 20-17 OSU victory.

J.D. Bergman and T.J. Enright continue to the ranked among the top wrestlers in the nation this week. Bergman, who began at No. 3 in preseason polls at 197, is ranked No. 4 by W.I.N. Magazine, NWCA/USA TODAY and Amateur Wrestling News. Enright, unranked at the onset of the season, is 14th in NWCA, 18th in W.I.N. and 20th by AWN.

All rankings are from the latest polls released Jan. 18.

In the 10 dual matches this season, the Buckeyes have featured a lineup with as many as seven freshman, two sophomores and three juniors. Additionally, two of the three juniors are wrestling in their first seasons as Buckeyes.

For the year, Ohio State has accumulated 348 team points in four tournaments and 10 dual bouts. Of those 348 points, 163 have come from either a redshirt or true freshman, including 60.5 by T.J. Enright, which ranks second on the team.

In the four matches of the Buckeye Duals, OSU freshman accounted for 44 of the team’s 95 points on the day.

When including 149 Steve Wolery, a junior walk-on, and 174 Nathaniel Augustson, a junior transfer from Embry-Riddle, newcomers have accounted for 181 of the 348 points in 2004-05.

Tommy Rowlands, a volunteer assistant for Ohio State this season after completing a decorated career as a Buckeye, will wrestle in Europe for Team USA this winter.

The U.S. men’s freestyle team will wrestle at two winter tour events in 2005, with the possibility of a third event being added. The first winter tour event will be the Ivan Yarygin Memorial International held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Jan. 30.

Rowlands earned his spot on the U.S. squad with a fourth-place finish at 211 pounds at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials last May in Indianapolis.

Sophomore J.D. Bergman not only serves as a team-leader after his third-place finish at the 2004 NCAA Tournament, but also heads the Buckeyes in nearly every statistical category in 2005.

Bergman leads Ohio State in wins (26), takedowns (50), 2 and 3-point nearfalls (10 and 20), match points (230) and team points (88.0). He also is No. 1 in the Buckeyes’ major decision (7), tech fall (2) and fall (6) categories.

With his six falls this season, Bergman has moved into 17th place all-time at Ohio State with 18 career pins.

The Spartans have started the 2004-05 season with just four duals, splitting the decisions with a pair of wins and a set of losses. Michigan State’s wins have come at instate rival Eastern Michigan and at Cleveland State. The MSU losses have come at the hands of ranked foes in No. 1 Oklahoma State, a 28-9 defeat Jan. 13 in Stillwater, Okla., and a home loss to No. 13 Central Michigan by a 25-10 score.

The Spartans have competed in four tournaments this season, highlighted by a fifth-place standing at the 2004 Midlands.

The Spartans are captained by 125-pounder Nick Simmons, who is ranked as high as No. 2 in the polls. Simmons, a sophomore, won the Midlands last month and is 17-0 on the year.

Joe Williams and Darren McKnight bolster the MSU lineup as well. Williams, a redshirt freshman, is 18-3 on the season and ranked in the Top 20 at 184. McKnight, also ranked in the Top 20, is 21-7 on the year at 149.

Head coach Tom Minkel is at matside for his 14th season in East Lansing. During his tenure, Minkel has produced 28 All-Americans, seven Big Ten Champions and one NCAA Champion, building on the success of the program that has generated 13 NCAA Champions, 61 Big Ten Champions and eight Big Ten Championships.

Earlier this season, Ohio State competed in the Michigan State Open Nov. 21-22. Surprisingly, only one Buckeye slated to start Sunday crossed paths with a MSU wrestler.

At 157 pounds, Ohio State freshman Keegan Mueller defeated MSU’s Matt McCarty, 4-1, to claim a spot in the third-place match.

Ohio State has won the last four meetings with the Spartans to close the gap in the all-time series to 28-41-2 in favor of MSU. In East Lansing, the Spartans have won four of the last five with Ohio State’s lone victory coming in 2002 via a 20-13 score.

Last season, Ohio State downed MSU, 30-8, on Feb. 15 in Columbus.

The Buckeyes scored a decisive 30-8 victory over Michigan State.

Ohio State senior Tommy Rowlands, who totaled 12 takedowns in a technical fall win Friday at Illinois, notched a takedown in the opening moments of the HWT bout against MSU’s Mike Keenan to set the career mark at Ohio State in takedowns. The three-time All-American surpassed former Buckeye Adam DiSabato (1989-93) for No. 1 all-time his 647th takedown.

Later in the match, Rowlands added two back points to finish the first period ahead 4-0. Rowlands tallied a second, third and fourth takedown in the second period and another set of back points en route to a 12-3 advantage after the second period. The third stanza saw Rowlands record his 12th technical fall of the season by a 22-6 count with 12 seconds remaining in the match. Rowlands’ eight takedowns in the win over Keenan moved his career total to 654.

The Rowlands’ technical fall gave the Buckeyes a 5-0 match lead, which was bolstered to 8-0 after a decision win at 125 pounds by freshman Jermaine Jones, who used a takedown and three back points in the first period to claim a 6-3 decision win.

Senior Jesse Leng helped the Buckeyes to an 11-0 lead with a decision at 133 pounds after two first period takedowns, a combination of a takedown and near fall points to take an 8-3 edge into the third period. Leng emerged with a 13-6 decision after recording two more takedowns in period three.

The Spartans got on the scoreboard at 141 pounds after No. 8 Andy Simmons downed OSU freshman Theo Dotson by an 8-0 major decision, slicing the OSU lead to 11-4.

At 149 pounds, Ohio State senior Jeff Ratliff scored a 7-4 decision against Ryan L’Amoreaux to extend the Buckeye lead to 14-4 as he used a third period takedown to knot the score at 2-2 with less than 1:30 in regulation. L’Amoreaux knotted the match at 4-4 with a takedown of his own with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Ratliff answered with an escape to assume a 5-4 lead and sealed his 28th win of the season with a takedown with 10 seconds left for a 7-4 decision, lifting the Buckeyes to a 14-4 match advantage.

Michigan State scored its second major decision win of the day at 157 pounds as Spartan Matt McCarty topped Buckeye freshman Ryan Rhodes by a 10-0 count before Ohio State senior John Clark, ranked No. 9 nationally, moved OSU back into the win column with a 12-3 major decision over Arsen Alexsanyan. Clark recorded a pair of takedowns and a three-point nearfall to claim a 7-1 lead after one period. Clark built his lead to 9-3 heading into the third period as the Canton, N.Y. native added a late takedown to secure his 28th win of 2004. The major decision by Clark, his sixth of the season, moved Ohio State to a 10-point advantage for the second time in the match at 18-8.

At 174, sophomore Anthony Magistrelli was locked in a tight bout with MSU’s Anton Hall as the two were set at a 3-3 stalemate into the third period. Hall grabbed a 4-3 lead with an early third-period escape, but Magistrelli gained a 5-4 edge with 26 seconds left with a takedown and held off Hall with another late takedowns for a 7-4 decision win and a 21-8 OSU lead.

Ohio State senior Blake Kaplan and freshman J.D. Bergman assured the Buckeyes of their eighth dual win in 2004 with victories at 184 and 197 pounds. Kaplan, ranked No. 9 in the country at 184, edged ahead of Spartan Nate Mesyn 2-0 with a first period takedown and a second period near fall en route to a 5-0shutout decision. The win earned Kaplan his first 30-victory season of his career.

With his 14-2 major decision win over Jason Buuck of Indiana in the second round last Wednesday at Midlands, sophomore J.D. Bergman recorded win No. 50 of his career.

With 50 victories midway through his sophomore season, Bergman is on pace to continue the recent trend of Ohio State wrestlers to reach 100 wins for their career. His career record stands at 57-19 heading into the Pittsburgh match.

In the last two seasons, four Buckeyes have claimed career win No. 100. In 2003, Keaton Anderson and Tommy Rowlands reached the feat, while the 2004 season saw John Clark and Jeff Ratliff each hit the century mark.

J.D. Bergman competed in the 2004 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Edwardsville, Ill. Monday, Nov. 22. The returning All-American defeated Scott Barker of Oregon via an 8-3 decision in the 197-pound bout.

Early in the match, Bergman trailed Barker, 2-1, after the Duck scored his second escape. Later, Bergman jumped ahead with a takedown on a lateral throw and then took advantage of a missed shot by Barker and scored another takedown to extend his lead to 8-3. After a scoreless third period, Bergman claimed the win via decision.

Bergman is the ninth Buckeye to wrestle in the All-Star event. In the last four seasons, Tommy Rowlands wrestled in the event three times, sitting out once with an injury, while John Clark and Keaton Anderson competed in the 2003 event.

T.J. Enright’s consecutive tournament titles at 133 pounds to open the season account for an Ohio State first. With tournament crowns at the Oklahoma Gold Classic Nov. 13 and Michigan State Open Nov. 21, the Galloway, Ohio native has become the first freshman to win his initial two tournaments in the Russ Hellickson era, which dates back to 1986.

T.J. Enright gained his second tournament title in the opening two weeks of the 2004 wrestling season, winning the 133-pound class at the 2004 Michigan State Open in East Lansing, Mich. With the tourney crown, Enright was named Big Ten wrestler of the week for Nov. 23.

Enright was named outstanding wrestler for the 2004 MSU Open after recording falls in three of his four victories en route to the championship. In the event final vs. Kyle Stoffer of Central Michigan, Enright recorded pin No. 3 at the 4:27 mark of the match to seal the 133 crown.

Enright, the No. 5 seed, upended top-seed and 2004 NWCA All-Star Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois in the semifinal, 3-1.

Ohio State wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson served as play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games Aug. 13-29 in Athens, Greece. Hellickson, who was a part of his sixth Olympic broadcast team, teamed with Jeff Blatnick for both Greco and Freestyle wrestling.

Hellickson previously covered wrestling at the 1984, ’88, ’92, ’96 and 2000 Olympic games in the role of analyst at the 1984 Los Angeles games and as play-by-play from 1988 in Seoul, Korea through 2000 in Sydney, Australia. As a wrestler, he was an Olympic silver medallist at the 1976 games in Montreal and a member of the 1980 U.S. team that boycotted Olympics in Moscow.

The Buckeyes return home to continue the conference schedule with home dates against Purdue at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 and against No. 25 Indiana Jan. 30. The date with Indiana is part of a tri-meet with Virginia. The Hoosiers and Cavaliers will wrestle in the opener at noon and the Buckeyes will take on Virginia at 2 p.m. and Indiana at 4 p.m.