Jan. 5, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State wrestling team (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten) gets the 2005 dual season in full swing Saturday, playing host to the Buckeye Duals at 11 a.m. in St. John Arena. The 2005 version of the Buckeye Duals features one of the largest fields in its history with 14 teams wrestling on five mats in a total of five rounds throughout the day.

The Buckeyes start the day vs. Drexel at 11 a.m. Next, Ohio State faces off against Bloomsburg at 12:45 p.m. before sitting out one session with a bye. The Buckeyes conclude the action with bouts against instate rivals Kent State at 4:15 p.m. and Cleveland State at 6 p.m.

A total of 14 teams will wrestle in at least three duals Saturday in the Buckeye Duals.

Competing Teams: Tenn-Chattanooga, Drexel, Cleveland State, Buffalo, Kent State, Wyoming, Ohio, UNC-Greensboro, Clarion, Northwestern, Illinois, Bloomsburg, Northern Illinois and Ohio State

Session I – 11 a.m.
Session II – 12:45 p.m.
Session III – 2:30 p.m.
Session IV – 4:15 p.m.
Session V – 6 p.m.

Sophomore J.D. Bergman took runner-up at 197 pounds to pace the Buckeyes to a 12th-place finish at the 2004 Midlands Championships last week in Evanston, Ill.

Bergman, the No. 2-seed at 197, gained a spot in the finals vs. No. 1-seed Jon Trenge of Lehigh with a 5-1 decision win over No. 6-seed Tyrone Byrd of Illinois in the semifinals. In the final, Bergman and Trenge, both NWCA All-Star selections this season, wrestled to a 6-4 final score in favor of Trenge, who claimed his second career Midlands title with the win. In the opening rounds Wednesday, Bergman scored a fall and a major decision to advance into Thursday.

Also placing for the Buckeyes was sophomore Alex Picazo, who took eighth at 184 pounds. After being pinned in his first-round bout, Picazo rolled to four straight victories in the wrestleback rounds, including a 7-2 decision Thursday afternoon. Later, Picazo saw his win streak halted by Mike Tamillow of host Northwestern by a tight 1-0 decision to send Picazo to the seventh-place match, where he suffered a 12-4 defeat via major decision at the hands of Joe Williams, the fifth seed from Michigan State.

Three Buckeyes wrestled in the second day of competition Thursday, but lost their matches to drop from tournament contention. At 133, freshman T.J. Enright completed his first Midlands tournament after accepting a medical forfeit in his wrestleback match. Another freshman, Keegan Mueller also took a defeat in the consolations at 157. Finally at HWT, Kirk Nail, also a freshman, fell from the tournament with a 7-4 loss.

St. John Arena welcomes a top-flight collection of teams and individual wrestlers Saturday for the 2005 edition of the Buckeye Duals. Not only do three Top 25 teams highlight the event, but six weight classes feature at least three ranked wrestlers.

The 2005 Buckeye Duals field is made up of 14 teams, the largest in its history. In addition to the host Buckeyes, who tied for third at the 2004 NCAA Championships, No. 3-ranked Illinois, No. 22 Northwestern and No. 24 Northern Illinois all will compete in the event. The Illini are fresh off a team title at the Midlands championships last week.

Midlands runner-up J.D. Bergman leads the Buckeyes at 197 pounds. The No. 4-ranked wrestler by NWCA is one of two ranked Ohio State wrestlers as freshman T.J. Enright came in at the No. 14 spot this week.

Illinois boasts the most ranked wrestlers with eight in the NWCA poll, following a Midlands performance last week that saw nine Illini place-winners. Included in that group is 133-pounder Mark Jayne, a senior who won his first Midlands crown last Thursday. Juniors Alex Tirapelle and Pete Friedl also fared well at Midlands, taking home second and third place, respectively, at 157 and 174. Tirapelle is one of two Illini ranked No. 2 at their respective weight classes. Junior Kyle Ott, who sat out Midlands, is rated second at 125. Jayne is ranked third with Freidl at No. 5. In addition, Mike Behnke, Tyrone Byrd and Donny Reynolds also are ranked for the Illini.

Northwestern, another Big Ten foe, is slated for three matches Saturday at the Buckeye Duals. The Wildcats bring several ranked wrestlers as well in No. 4 Jake Herbert at 174, No. 13 John Velez at 125, No. 18 Mike Tamillow at 184 and No. 16 Matt Delyguyd at 197.

Bloomsburg, Northern Illinois and Tennessee-Chattanooga also have multiple ranked wrestlers. In the latest rankings by W.I.N. Magazine, UTC has 125 Matt Pitts, 133 Josh Keefe, 141 Michael Keefe, 149 Wayne French and 165 Jon Sioredas in the Top 20.

The Huskies have No. 14 Sam Hiatt at 133 pounds, who has split two matches this season with Ohio State’s Enright. At 165, Johnny Galloway squeezed in at No. 20. For Bloomsburg, James Bertulis and Bryce Hasseman form a ranked one-two punch at 165 and 174.

Ohio University travels north to Columbus, toting the No. 4-ranked wrestler at 157 pounds in Jake Percival, who owns a career record of 122-8. Fellow instate rival, Kent State, has three wrestlers ranked in the latest NWCA Top 20 in Jason Bake at 149, Alex Camargo at 184 and Tomas Rodrigues at HWT.

Finally, Clarion has a set of No. 12-ranked wrestlers as well in 141 Frank Edgar and 157 Chris Hornung. UNC-Greensboro 197-pounder Daren Burns moved into W.I.N.’s rankings at No. 20 this week.

After a one-year break from competition at Midlands, Mitch Clark, an Ohio State assistant coach and former national champ for the Buckeyes in 1998, competed at 197 pounds.

Clark joined Ohio State’s J.D. Bergman as a quarterfinalist with a 9-5 decision in round two and a pin in the third round before falling to No. 5 Scott Barker of Oregon, 9-5, to drop into the consolations. On Thursday, Clark was eliminated with a loss in the consolations via disqualification.

Clark won Midlands in 1998, the same season he won the NCAA championship at 197 pounds.

With their quick starts to the 2004-05 season, J.D. Bergman and T.J. Enright have found themselves in the national rankings in their respective weight classes. Bergman, who started at No. 3 in preseason polls at 197, is ranked No. 4 by W.I.N. Magazine and NWCA/USA TODAY. Enright, unranked at the beginning of the season, is 15th in the W.I.N. rankings and 14th in NWCA.

In the Amatuer Wrestling News, Bergman is fourth and Enright 11th for Dec. 15.

In the four dual matches to open the season, the Buckeyes have featured a lineup with as many as seven freshman, two sophomores and two juniors, who both are wrestling in their first seasons as Buckeyes.

For the year, Ohio State has accumulated 220.0 team points in four tournaments and four dual bouts. Of those 220 points, 105.5 have come from either a redshirt or true freshman, including 39.5 by T.J. Enright, which ranks second on the team.

When including 149 Steve Wolery, a junior walk-on, and 174 Nathaniel Augustson, a junior transfer from Embry-Riddle, newcomers have accounted for 117.0 of the 220 points in 2004.

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

Bergman leads Ohio State in wins (20), takedowns (41), 2 and 3-point nearfalls (8 and 17), match points (190) and team points (63.0). He also is No. 1 in the Buckeyes’ major decision (6), tech fall (2) and fall (4) categories.

With his four falls, Bergman has 16 for his career, which ranks No. 18 all-time at Ohio State.

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.

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.

Ohio State completed the 2004 Buckeye Duals with a 2-1 record, scoring wins over Indiana (29-17) and Bloomsburg (25-13) and dropping a tight 22-17 loss to then-No. 3 Lehigh.

Against Indiana, five OSU seniors each recorded wins. John Clark (165), Blake Kaplan (174), Jesse Leng (133), Jeff Ratliff (149) and Tommy Rowlands (HWT) all posted victories to help the Buckeyes emerge over the Hoosiers.

Lehigh was on the docket for the second match of the day. The Buckeyes rallied from an early 13-0 deficit to take a 14-13 lead after a technical fall by Rowlands. Lehigh rebounded with three straight decisions at 125, 133 and 141 before Ratliff finished the match witha 9-6 decision win. Freshman J.D. Bergman scored a key six points in the OSU rally with a pin at the 1:56 mark at 197 pounds.

In the finale against Bloomsburg, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-3 lead after wins from Clark, Kaplan, Bergman, Rowlands and freshman Alex Picazo before Ratliff scored his second straight 9-6 win to seal the match at 25-14.each finished fifth. Freshmen J.D. Bergman (197/ Oak Harbor, Ohio) and Alex Picazo (174/ Columbus, Ohio) earned two wins in the event before being eliminated in the early rounds Tuesday.

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.

Tommy Rowlands, whose national crown at the HWT class in 2004 touts him as the only four-time All-American in program history and just the second Buckeye to win two NCAA titles, will remain with Ohio State in 2004 as an assistant coach.

Rowlands will assume the volunteer position and offer the expertise that allowed him to conclude his career as the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history. Rowlands, who narrowly missed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at 211 pounds in May, is the all-time leader at Ohio State in career wins (164), career team points (702.0) and career takedowns (705). His career record of 164-14 (.921) ranks fourth all-time in winning percentage at OSU, while his 44 wins in 2004 and 43 triumphs in 2001 rank fourth and fifth all-time in a single season.

Following six seasons as a volunteer coach at Ohio State, Mitch Clark joins the Buckeye staff in a full-time capacity in 2004-05.

In his term as a volunteer assistant, Clark helped the Buckeyes to a pair of Top 6 finishes in the nation, including a tie for third place at the 2004 NCAA championships last March. The former two-time All-American and 1998 national champion at 177 pounds also helped his brother John Clark to his second All-American at the 2004 NCAA’s.

M. Clark capped his wrestling career at Ohio State with a 39-1 record and the national crown his senior season, which followed a national runner-up finish his junior campaign. A two-time Big Ten champion, M. Clark ranks 10th in career wins, being passed by John last season.

The Buckeyes head out for their last road trip before the Big Ten season starts, traveling to Pittsburgh Friday and Cornell Sunday.