More than 40 former Buckeyes return for Alumni Day

COLUMBUS, Ohio The fifth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team started its 2009 Big Ten dual action with a tightly contested 18-16 victory over No. 19 (tied) Indiana Friday night in St. John Arena. A crowd of 1,473 watched the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers battle through four lead changes before Colt Sponseller scored an 8-3 decision for Ohio State in the final bout.

The Scarlet and Gray received decisions from Sponseller (165), Lance Palmer (149), J Jaggers (141), Dave Rella (174) and a pin from Mike Pucillo (184). The Buckeyes move to 10-1 and 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference while the Hoosiers drop to 13-3-1 (0-1-1 Big Ten).

In addition, the Buckeyes recognized more than 40 alumni at halftime of the meet and Luke Fickell, Ohio State football co-defensive coordinator, served as the honorary captain. Fickell was a three-time Ohio high school state champion while wrestling at Columbus’ DeSales High School.

Starting the meet was the 174-pound division, Rella decided No. 15 Trevor Perry, 6-4. After a scoreless first period, the Buckeye jumped ahead in the second period, scoring an escape and a take down to move the score to 3-1 heading into the final stanza. In a tightly contested third period, Perry posted a late takedown and Rella an escape to make it tied at 4-all with 13 seconds left. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Rella recorded a pivotal takedown to win, 6-4. 

Second-ranked Pucillo pinned Hoosier Eric Cameron in 2:41 to put the Buckeyes up, 9-0, after two weight divisions. With the pin, the Cuyahoga, Ohio, native remains perfect on the season and owns a 9-0 record.

At 197, Ohio State freshman Cody Gardner fell behind in the first period, 4-1, to Indiana’s Matt Powless and was unable to battle back, dropping a major decision, 11-4. After three weight classes, Ohio State held a 9-3 lead.

The heavyweights were up next. Representing the Buckeyes was No. 17-ranked Corey Morrison taking on Hoosier Nate Everhart. The match was close with Indiana’s Everhart up by only one after the first. Everhart opened the second period with a reversal to move the score to 3-0 before Morrison scored an escape to take it to 3-1 after two. Despite tying it at 3-all in the final period, Morrison dropped to Everhart, 4-3, in the last 40 seconds. Indiana pulled within three points of Ohio State with the decision, 9-6.

Wrestling at 125, Ohio State’s Nikko Triggas fell to No. 6 Angel Escobedo, 7-1. The grapplers were scoreless after the first and Indiana’s Escobedo was only up 2-0 after the second but in the third, Escobedo scored two takedowns and an escape for the win and tie the conference dual at 9-all heading into the break.

The second half was started with Buckeye Pat Harrington going up against Hoosier Matt Ortega at 133 pounds. Ortega, 20-6 on the season, scored a 12-4 major decision over the freshman from Sandusky, Ohio, to give Indiana a 13-9 lead after six rounds.

With Ohio State trailing for the first time in the evening, Jaggers, ranked 12th in the nation, posted three takedowns and a reversal to earn a 9-6 decision over IU’s Andrae Hernandez at 141. With the victory, Jaggers pulled the Buckeyes to within one of the Hoosiers with the score standing at 13-12 Indiana. 

With two takedowns and a reversal, No. 4 Palmer battled Nick Walpole to an 8-2 decision at 149, giving Ohio State its second lead of the evening.

The Buckeyes held a 15-13 advantage heading into the second to last round. At 157, the Scarlet and Gray’s Sean Nemec fell to No. 12 Kurt Kinser. The match was scoreless after the first before Nemec, a Lakewood, Ohio, native, opened the second period with a takedown, holding a slight, 2-1, lead. However, a Kinser takedown with a minute left in the third would prove enough to take the match, 4-2, and regain the lead for Indiana, 16-15, with one round remaining.

The final bout of the day, and the deciding match, pitted Ohio State’s second-ranked Sponseller vs. Paul Young. Sponseller, a sophomore for the Buckeyes, moved to 22-3 on the season after downing Young, 8-3, and securing the Ohio State 18-16 win.

Final Results:
174: Dave Rella (OSU) dec. No. 15 Trevor Perry (IU), 6-4; 3-0
184: No.2 Mike Pucillo (OSU) pinned Eric Cameron (IU), 6-0; 9-0
197: Matt Powless (IU) dec. Cody Gardner (OSU) 11-4; 9-3
285: Nate Everhart (IU) dec. No. 17 Corey Morrison 4-3; 9-6
125: No. 6 Angel Escobedo (IU) dec. Nikko Triggas (OSU) 7-1; 9-9
133: Matt Ortega (IU) mdec. Pat Harrington, 12-4, 9-13
141: No. 12 J Jaggers (OSU) dec.  Andrae Hernandez (IU) 9-6; 12-13
149: No. 4 Lance Palmer (OSU) dec. Nick Walpole (IU), 8-2; 15-13
157: No. 12 Kurt Kinser (IU) dec. Sean Nemec (OSU), 4-2; 15-16
165: No. 2 Colt Sponseller (OSU) dec. Paul Young (IU), 7-2; 18-16