COLUMBUS, Ohio In a matchup of nationally ranked wrestling programs, No. 5 Ohio State defeated No. 20 Hofstra, 19-13, Sunday at the David S. Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, N.Y. The win, in front of 2,118 fans, improved Ohio State’s record to 9-1 on the season while Hofstra drops to 7-3.

The match was close the entire way on a day that was as intriguing as it was thrilling. This was Ohio State coach Tom Ryan’s first visit back to the school he coached for 11 years and helped put on the wrestling map. Coupled with both teams being ranked among the Top 20 teams in the country and with Ryan speaking at a $100 a plate pre-match brunch to raise funds for a new Hofstra wrestling facility to be named after his late son, Teague, the atmosphere was super-charged with the home-standing Pride seeking a major upset on their home floor.

The teams traded leads throughout the first five matches with Ohio State holding a 10-7 lead at the break on the strength of a major decision by NCAA champion and two-time All-American Mike Pucillo in the last match of the first half. Pucillo powered his way to an 8-2 first period lead against Anthony Tortora in the 184-pound weight class, increased the lead to 11-3 after two periods and then registered a 16-4 major decision that put the Buckeyes back in the lead at 10-7.

Pucillo’s win came after Hofstra had taken a 7-6 lead in the fourth match of the afternoon, the 174-pound match between the Buckeyes’ Dave Rella and Alton Lucas that Lucas won by decision, 6-2.

The first three matches were won by Ohio State’s No. 4-ranked Lance Palmer at 149 pounds and No. 4-ranked Colt Sponseller at 165 pounds. The wins were sandwiched around a major decision by Hofstra’s Jonny Bonilla-Bowman over No. 15 Jason Johnstone. 

At the start of the second five matches, Hofstra tied the score at 10-all behind a win at 197 pounds from Ben Clymer over Ohio State’s Cody Gardner.

Ohio State regained the lead Corey Morrison picked up a heavyweight win, 6-5, over Jordan Enck but Hofstra came right back with a confidence-building win at 125 pounds to tie the match once again, at 13-apiece. No. 17 Steve Bonanno decisioned Nikko Triggas, 5-3, coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to secure the win.

That match set the stage for the key match of the match: the 133-pound class battle between unbeaten OSU junior Reece Humphrey (18-0 entering the match), ranked second in both the InterMat and W.I.N. Magazine polls, and Hofstra junior Lou Ruggirello, who came in ranked ninth and 11th, respectively, and with his own impressive record of 19-2. Humphrey came back in the third period to post a 7-4 decision that gave Ohio State a 16-13 lead.

Defending NCAA champion J Jaggers then clinched the match for the Buckeyes with a decision over Hofstra freshman Justin Accordino, 5-2.

Ryan coached at Hofstra for 11 years between 1995-2006 prior to taking over the Ohio State position following the 2006 season. He posted a 109-83-1 record and led the Pride to six consecutive Colonial Athletic Conference championships between 2001-06. His teams finished in the Top 25 at the NCAA championships six times, including an 11th-place showing in 2006.

Before the wrestling match, Ryan was a guest speaker at the “Hofstra Wrestling Brunch,” which served as a kickoff fundraising event for a new Hofstra wrestling facility on Long Island. The facility will be named The Teague Ryan Wrestling Complex, in honor of Tom and Lynette Ryan’s youngest son, Teague, who passed away suddenly in 2004.

Huge Big Ten Weekend Up Next
Ohio State returns home to host two Big Ten Conference dual matches next weekend. At 7 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena Ohio State hosts No. 21 Indiana. The first 1,000 fans will receive free rally towels courtesy of Nationwide.

At 11 a.m. Sunday No. 9 Minnesota and Ohio State will grapple across the river at Value City Arena. Fans are encouraged to wear white to “White Out” the Golden Gophers.

Ohio State Wrestling
Sunday, January 25, 2009
David S. Mack Sports Complex
Hempstead, N.Y.

Final Score: No. 5 Ohio State 19; No. 20 Hofstra 13
Match Results
No. 4 Lance Palmer (OSU) Dec. P.J. Gillespie (HU), 5-0
157 Jonny Bonilla-Bowman (HU) Maj Dec No. 15 Jason Johnstone (OSU), 15-6
165 No. 4 Colt Sponseller  (OSU) Dec No. 20 Ryan Patrovich (HU), 2-0
174 No. 11 Alton Lucas (HU) Dec over Dave Rella (OSU), 6-2
184 No. 2 Mike Pucillo (OSU) Maj Dec over Anthony Tortora (HU), 16-4
197 Ben Clymer (HU) Dec Cody Gardner (OSU), 3-2
285 No. 17 Corey Morrison (OSU) Dec Jordan Enck (HU), 6-5
125 No. 17 Steve Bonanno (HU) Dec Nikko Triggas (OSU), 5-2
133 No. 2 Reece Humphrey (OSU) Dec No. 9 Lou Ruggirello, 7-4
141 No. 12 J Jaggers  (OSU) Dec Justin Accordino (HU), 5-3

All rankings by InterMat.