COLUMBUS, Ohio – Elijah Cleary has metaphorically lugged his lunch pail and hard hat to the Steelwood and Jennings training facilities for the past four years, putting in the work necessary to earn his first postseason nod. He will represent the Buckeyes at 157 pounds for the 2020 Big Ten Championships, and with a top-6 showing there, potentially beyond at the NCAA Championships.
Cleary holds a 17-10 season record with three major decisions, three pins and a tech fall. He started 11 of 14 duals and stepped outside the varsity lineup to capture individual crowns at both the Storm Open and Cleveland State Open. He has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with many of the country’s top 157-pounders. With the exception of major decision loss to undefeated and No. 1 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern, no opponent has been able to muster bonus point against Cleary.
Mid-January brought a fruitful weekend for the Winter Park, Fla., native. He garnered back-to-back B1G victories, capped by a top-25 triumph over two-time NCAA Qualifier Eric Barone (Illinois). Two days earlier, Cleary aided Ohio State’s efforts in a road win at Wisconsin with a 7-3 victorious decision.
Going beyond the seven minutes of regulation is no problem for Cleary. He is 3-1 in ‘overtime’ matches this season.
Cleary faced an intra-squad challenge late in the season as Quinn Kinner bulked up to 157 pounds. The Buckeye pair squared off in the season’s final weekend at the Mat-Town Open II. Cleary came away as the 4-2 winner and earn his ticket to the Big Ten Championships as the 157-pound Buckeye delegate.
The Kosta Karageorge Battling Buckeye Award is given annually to the Ohio State wrestler who best displays a selfless, team-first and hard-working attitude. The recipient in 2019? Elijah Cleary. His commitment to teammate Micah Jordan’s postseason preparation and service as a pivotal training partner garnered him the award recognition. This season, it is Cleary’s turn to take the mat.
Stay tuned to OhioStateBuckeyes.com for more ‘Postseason Profiles’ as the Big Ten Championships quickly approach (March 7-8).