ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In front of a crowd of 17,385, J Jaggers, a senior on the Ohio State wrestling team, secured his place in Buckeye wrestling history, becoming just the third student-athlete to win two national titles. Jaggers won his second-consecutive crown in the 141-pound division at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
In one of the tightest team races in recent NCAA wrestling history, Ohio State earned its second-consecutive runner-up finish with 92 points, trailing Iowa, who locked up its second-consecutive crown with 96.5 points. Iowa State finished third with 80.5 points, while Nebraska and Cornell took fourth (78.5) and fifth (73.5), respectively. The 2009 national championships attracted an NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships all-time total attendance record with 97, 111 people in attendance over six sessions.
Buckeye head coach Tom Ryan was named National Coach of the Year following the championships. His honor comes just three days after Ohio State assistant Lou Rosselli was named NWCA Assistant Coach of the Year.
Jaggers captured his second-consecutive title at 141 pounds, downing No. 8 Ryan Williams of Old Dominion, 10-4. Following his strategy of striking quick and often, the Northfield, Ohio, native jumped ahead, 6-2, on three first-period takedowns. After two stanzas, the score stood at 6-3 before Jaggers recorded a final takedown and earned riding time for the win.
“‘I’m doing it again,’” Jaggers said, when asked about making it back to the title round. “You just don’t luck upon this thing. Last year, a lot of people called me a ‘one-hit wonder.’ The day after the national tournament last year people were saying, ‘he won’t win it again.’ I think this proves you don’t just stumble on two national championships.”
Jaggers becomes only the third Buckeye to win two NCAA titles, joining Tommy Rowlands (2002 and ’04 NCAA heavyweight champion) and Kevin Randleman (1992 and ’93 NCAA champion at 177). He ends his senior campaign with a 28-7 ledger and completes his career with a 108-33 record.
In a repeat of the Big Ten 133-pound title match, Ohio State’s second-seeded Reece Humphrey met No. 1-seed Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the NCAA title bout. As he did at the league championships, Gomez took a close match from Humphrey, a 5-4 decision in favor of the Spartan. The match was scoreless until the second period with Gomez posting an escape and takedown while Humphrey got on the board with an escape to make it, 3-1, after two. Gomez moved the score to 5-2 with a takedown before Humphrey began a counterattack. The Indianapolis, Ind., native scored a late takedown to make it a one-point contest but the Buckeye ran out of time, dropping the 5-4 decision. Humphrey ends his junior season, earning his first All-America honor, as a runner-up, while compiling a 30-4 record.
Junior Mike Pucillo made his run to defend his 2008 national title all the way to the final bout, but fell, 6-3, to Northwestern’s undefeated No. 1 seed and 2007 NCAA champion, Jake Herbert. Herbert, who ends his senior season with a 34-0 record, took an early lead with two takedowns in the first, but Pucillo closed within one, 4-3, from three escapes heading into the third. With the riding time in favor of the Wildcats, Pucillo worked to get two points but Herbert was on the defense, ultimately taking the match, 6-3. The Strongsville, Ohio, native completes his junior campaign with a 23-2 record.