No. 3 Ohio State
(2-0; 0-0 Big Ten)
27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational
Friday and Saturday
Las Vegas Convention Center

Friday, Dec. 5
7 a.m. Weigh-Ins
9 a.m. Pigtail Round
10 a.m. Rounds 1 and 2
Consolation Pigtail Round
7 p.m. Quarterfinals
Consolation Rounds 1 and 2

Saturday, Dec. 6
8 a.m. Weigh-Ins
9 a.m. Consolation Round 3
10 a.m. Semifinals
Consolation Round 4
11:30 a.m. Consolation Semifinals
12:30 p.m. Consolation Finals
(5th, 6th, 7th and 8th places)
5 p.m. Championship Finals
(1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places) 

COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 3 Ohio State wrestling team will travel to Las Vegas for the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Friday and Saturday. The event, featuring participants from 48 teams, will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Ohio State Probable Line-up
125 No. 12 Nikko Triggas (11-2)
133 No. 7 Reece Humphrey (11-0)
141 No. 1 J Jaggers (5-2)
149 No. 4 Lance Palmer (4-1)      
157 No. 13 Jason Johnstone (12-0)   
165 No. 13 Colt Sponseller (11-0)      
174 No. 20 Dave Rella (11-1)
184 Wes Bergman (5-1)
197 No. 20 Cody Gardner (11-0)   
285  No. 12 Corey Morrison (8-1)
The 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational is not an open tournament. Only student-athletes eligible to compete during the 2008-09 season are qualified to participate. Participants from 48 teams will be competing in the Las Vegas Invitational.

An all-session pass to the Las Vegas Invitational is $35 for adults and $25 for students. Single-session tickets for the preliminary rounds are $12 for adults and $8 for students, while championship finals tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students.

There is not a presale of tickets and seats are general admission.  

Ohio State is 2-0 during this early part of the 2008-09 season. The Buckeyes hosted the Buckeye Duals Nov. 16 in St. John Arena and defeated Notre Dame College, 34-6, and Cleveland State, 35-13.

The Buckeyes dropped only two matches for seven points the entire afternoon. Ohio State surrendered a total of 19 points on the day, with 12 given up because of OSU forfeits.

Four Buckeyes in Reece Humphrey (133), Jason Johnstone (157), Colt Sponseller (165) and Cody Gardner (197) remain undefeated on the season. Humphrey, Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Week Nov. 4, owns an 11-0 record. The junior from Indianapolis won titles at the Buffalo and Wolfpack Opens before going 2-0 at the Buckeye Duals.

Johnstone, a senior from Massillon, Ohio, is 12-0. Like Humphrey, Johnstone collected tournament wins in Buffalo and Raleigh, N.C., in addition to gathering two wins in the Buckeye Duals.

Glenmont, Ohio, native, Sponseller is 11-0 following crowns at the two early-season open tournaments. The sophomore then went 2-0 at the Buckeye Duals.

The freshman Gardner is off to a fast start with an 11-0 mark. He too won titles at the Buffalo and Wolfpack Opens before securing two wins in St. John Arena Nov. 16.
Note Results from the 43rd Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Nov. 24 do not count toward overall records.

Senior Jason Johnstone (12-0) and freshman Sean Nemec (12-1) lead the team in wins with 12. Sophomore Colt Sponseller paces the Buckeyes with 82 takedowns. Nemec leads the team in major decisions with five and Sponseller fronts the squad with five technical falls. Freshman Nikko Triggas is the team-leader in falls with seven. 

Ohio State finished third with 121 points at the 26th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational in 2007. J.D. Bergman paced the Scarlet and Gray with the heavyweight title, while J Jaggers and Mike Pucillo were runners-up at 141 and 184 pounds, respectively.

Leading the field after the first day of competition with 82 team points, Ohio State was only 6.5 points behind first-place finisher Michigan and 4 points behind runner-up Missouri in the final standings.

Also finishing in the Top 5 of the event were Reece Humphrey (133), who scored a third-place standing and 149-pounder Lance Palmer, a fourth-place finisher.

In the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings (Dec. 2), Ohio State remains the No. 3 team in the country. A Buckeye represents all 10 weight classes in the InterMat standings.

Weight  Wrestler  W.I.N.  InterMat 
125  Nikko Triggas  17th  12th 
133  Reece Humphrey  8th  7th 
141  J Jaggers  2nd  1st 
149  Lance Palmer  4th  4th 
157  Jason Johnstone  12th  13th 
165  Colt Sponseller  8th  13th 
174  Dave Rella  –  20th 
184  Mike Pucillo  1st  1st 
197  Cody Gardner  16th  20th 
285  Corey Morrison  14th  12th 








A tape delay broadcast of the 43rd Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by the United States Marine Corps will air at 10 p.m. Thursday on ESPNU.

Competing against some of the top collegiate wrestlers in the nation, J Jaggers, Reece Humphrey and Colt Sponseller made their debut in one of the National Wrestling Coaches Association more prestigious events in the 43rd Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by the United States Marine Corps Nov. 24. The event, hosted by Ohio State, was held in St. John Arena.

Jaggers was featured in the main event at 141 pounds, while Humphrey and Sponseller wrestled in exhibition bouts at 133 and 165 pounds, respectively.

The 2008 defending national champion at 141 pounds and ranked No. 1 in the nation, Jaggers dropped a 6-2 decision to No. 2 Nick Gallick of Iowa State. The match ended in a scoreless tie after the first period. Early in the second stanza at the 1:47 mark, Gallick was able to get the reversal for two points and then about 36 seconds later recorded a three-point nearfall for a 5-0 lead. With 51 seconds left, Jaggers, a senior from Northfield, Ohio, scored an escape to get on the board. Taking the down position in the third period, Jaggers scored another escape to cut Gallick’s lead to three and although Gallick did not score the rest of the period, he earned one more point based on a 2:10 riding time.

Similar to the start of the Jaggers and Gallick match, No. 8 Humphrey and Navy’s Joe Baker concluded the first period in a 0-0 tie. However, Baker, who is ranked No. 6, ended the scoreless drought after he notched an escape after taking the down position in the second stanza in the period’s only scoring. Baker was able to increase his advantage to four points when he secured a three-point nearfall in the third. Humphrey, a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., avoided the shut out courtesy of an escape in the final period. Baker would go on to amass a riding time of 1:47 for the additional point and 5-1 win.

Sponseller nearly rallied from a 9-3 deficit after the second period against second-ranked Moza Fay of Northern Iowa, but came up short, losing 13-9. A native of Glenmont, Ohio, No. 16 Sponseller scored three takedowns in the final period, but Fay was able to counter with a trio of escapes, plus a riding time of 2:22 for the victory.

Two of the Buckeyes’ matches will air on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State’s match at Michigan Feb. 13 will broadcast the same day on a tape delay basis at 10:30 p.m. The match’s start time is 7 p.m. in Cliff Keen Arena.

The Ohio State vs. Wisconsin dual will air live at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 in Madison, Wis., in the Wisconsin Field House. 
Reece Humphrey, a 133-pound junior from Indianapolis, Ind., was named the Big Ten Conference co-Wrestler of the Week Nov. 4 following his championship performance at the Buffalo Open Nov. 2.

Humphrey won four matches at the event as the No. 1 seed by pinning two of his opponents and winning by a technical fall and decision. He began the day with a pin of Kevin Green of Niagara in 5:50 and then followed that performance with a 25-10 technical fall over Michael Baxter of Mercyhurst College. Humphrey then faced teammate and fifth-seed Garrett Henry in the semifinals and made quick work of the rookie from Solon, Ohio, pinning Henry in 3:28 en route to the final. In the championship bout, Humphrey decisioned Kevin Smith of host Buffalo, 9-5, for the title. 

It is the first-career weekly laurel for the product of Lawrence North High School and the first for the Buckeyes since J Jaggers earned the honor Jan. 30, 2008.

Sophomore Nikko Triggas sat down with for a live chat Nov. 12. Triggas answered fans questions ranging from the typical wrestling inquiries to the not-so-typical. Below are excerpts of Triggas’ chat. To read more, log on to

What’s your plan for this season? Do you feel you’ve improved over the summer?
“My plan for the season is to get to the podium which means Top 8 finishes are necessary. I need to work on my feet with down blocking and sprawling. I feel I have improved this summer wrestling freestyle and Greco because it has changed the way I wrestle.”

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
“My pre-match rituals are not typical of a wrestler. I mostly like to get focused and into the match. I like to get my head away from wrestling to settle myself. I do this by singing and I love my oldies. I feel like this helps me explode in my first period because my energy is saved up and I am relaxed.

Ohio State began its season at two open tournaments. The Buckeyes made the trip to Buffalo, N.Y., for the Buffalo Open Nov. 2 and had a phenomenal meet, crowning six champions. A week later, Ohio State made its way south for the Wolfpack Open in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 8 and completed the tournament with four title winners.

Junior Reece Humphrey (133), senior Jason Johnstone (157), sophomore Colt Sponseller (165) and freshman Cody Gardner (197) were double winners as they won their respective weight classes at both opens. In Buffalo, Dave Rella (174) and Corey Morrison (HWT) also won titles of their own.

The Buckeyes return three All-Americans from last season. J Jaggers (141) and Mike Pucillo (184), 2008 NCAA Champions, and Lance Palmer (149) are back for another season in 2008-09.

Overall, Ohio State boasts six NCAA qualifiers from a season ago. In addition to Jaggers, Pucillo and Palmer, Nikko Triggas is back at 125 pounds, as is 133-pounder Reece Humphrey and Jason Johnstone (157).

Former Buckeyes J.D. Bergman and Alex Picazo joined the wrestling support staff this past summer. Bergman (2004-08) is the team’s assistant marketing director and Picazo (2004-08) is the director of operations and strength and conditioning coach.

Throughout the season, there will be several giveaways and events for fans to take part in at home matches.

Kent State
5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30
Free rally towels to the first 1,000 fans courtesy of Nationwide
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Minnesota (in Value City Arena)
11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 1
Check out the Buckeyes as they take on conference rival Minnesota in Value City Arena in the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus. Fans are encouraged to wear white and “White Out” the Gophers.

5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15
Meet the Buckeyes in a postgame autograph session with select wrestlers

Tickets to Ohio State home matches are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Children 6 and under and students with a valid BuckID are admitted free. An advanced purchase of 10 or more tickets is $4. To purchase tickets, call TicketMaster at 614-431-3600 or log on to 

Ten of the Buckeyes’ opponents, not counting ranked challengers in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in January, are ranked in the latest edition of the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 poll. Ohio State will face No. 15 Edinboro on the road Dec. 14 before hosting No. 25 Kent State Jan. 4.

The Buckeyes then will enter a tough Big Ten Conference stretch in which seven of their eight league opponents are ranked. Ohio State will battle No. 19 Indiana (Jan. 30), No. 8 Minnesota (Feb. 1) and No. 7 Illinois (Feb. 15) in Columbus. The match vs. the Gophers will take place in Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. The Scarlet and Gray will travel to No. 13 Penn State (Feb. 6), No. 12 Michigan (Feb. 13), No. 17 Northwestern (Feb. 20) and No. 11 Wisconsin (Feb. 22).

Junior Reece Humphrey and sophomore Nikko Triggas, who are seventh and 12th at 133 and 125 pounds, respectively, in the InterMat polls,  had impressive summers in international competition. Triggas, a native of Moraga, Calif., swept the Greco-Roman and freestyle events at the Pan American championships and Humphrey, who hails from Indianapolis, Ind., won the silver medal at the University World championships.

Humphrey and Triggas recently spoke to contributing writer Larry Watts about their busy summer. The story currently is running on
The Buckeyes take part in various community service initiatives throughout the season. Once a month, Ohio State visits patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The team also participates in the 2nd & 7 Foundation reading program that strives to “Tackle Illiteracy” in Central Ohio.

Ohio State will conclude 2008 with a trip to Edinboro, Pa., Dec. 14. The Buckeyes and Fighting Scots will begin action at 4 p.m. The Buckeyes’ next competition will be vs. Kent State at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 in St. John Arena.