COLUMBUS, Ohio With three Ohio State wrestlers in championship contention Saturday in the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational, the Buckeyes were able to secure runner-up finishes from Lance Palmer and Colt Sponseller at 149 and 165 pounds, respectively. The Scarlet and Gray finished 11th (tied) as a team in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Nebraska was able to maintain its day one lead to capture the team title with 124.5 points. Cornell was second with 91.0 points, while Minnesota rounded out the Top 3 with 89.0 points.

Palmer, who now owns an 8-2 overall record during this early 2008-09 season, encountered 2008 NWCA All-Star and No. 3 Darrion Caldwell in the title bout and fell in 1:05 seconds. Opening the day against No. 6 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin, Palmer, a junior out of Columbia Station, Ohio, decisioned Ruschell in the semifinals, 3-0.

A native of Glenmont, Ohio, Sponseller suffered his first loss of the season in the 165-pound final against Cornell’s No. 1-ranked Mack Lewnes, a 2008 NWCA All-Star. The Buckeye sophomore dropped an 11-3 decision to move to 15-1 on the season. In the semifinals, Sponseller was able to escape with a 2-1 win over Nebraska’s Stephen Dwyer, who is No. 4 in the country.

Senior Jason Johnstone (157) and junior Corey Morrison (HWT) were Top 8 placers, finishing eighth and sixth, respectively.

Johnstone, a native of Massillon, Ohio, faced Indiana’s No. 9-ranked Kurt Kinser in the seventh-place matchup and lost a close 5-4 decision. Johnstone began the day with an 11-6 victory over Aaron Hynes of Michigan. However, a 6-3 loss to Penn’s Matt Dragon would follow, dropping Johnstone down in the bracket. Johnstone now is 15-3 on the year.

A Shaker Heights, Ohio, native, Morrison (11-4), commenced day two action against No. 6 Zach Sheaffer of Pittsburgh and was held scoreless in an 11-0 major decision. Falling to wrestleback action, Morrison, faced No. 3 and Wisconsin’s Kyle Massey, a 2008 NWCA All-Star Classic participant, and was pinned in 6:24. Morrison and Columbia’s Ryan Flores then squared off in the fifth-place matchup, where the Buckeye was downed in 1:45.

Nikko Triggas and J Jaggers were eliminated from competition following early losses at 125 and 141 pounds, respectively.

Cal State Bakersfield’s Brandon Zoetewey handed Triggas a 3-2 loss, while Jaggers lost to No. 10 Michael Thorn of Minnesota in a 5-3 tiebreaker.  

No. 3 Ohio State will return to action at No. 15 Edinboro at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in Edinboro, Pa.       

Final Team Standings
1. Nebraska 124.5
2. Cornell   91.0
3. Minnesota 89.0
4. Pittsburgh 85.0
5. Purdue 83.0
6. Michigan 82.5
7. Boise State 79.5
8. Cal St Bakersfield 76.0
9. Indiana 69.0
9. Virginia Tech 69.0
11. Harvard 67.5
11. Ohio State 67.5

No. 5 Nikko Triggas
First Round BYE
Second Round Pinned Brad Steele (Dickinson State), 1:43
Third Round Decisioned No. 12 BJ Futrell (Illinois), 3-2
Quarterfinals lost to No. 4 Jarrod Garnett (Virginia Tech), 12-4
Consolation lost No. 11 Brandon Zoetewey (Cal State Bakersfield), 3-2

No. 1 J Jaggers
First Round BYE
Second Round Technical Fall Neil Birt (Cumberland), 17-0
Third Round Decisioned Casey Thorne (Army), 5-4
Quarterfinals lost to No. 9 Corey Jantzen (Harvard), 4-3
Consolation lost to No. 7 Michael Thorn (Minnesota), 5-3tb

No. 2 Lance Palmer
First Round BYE
Second Round Pinned Barrett Abel (Cal Davis), 2:11
Third Round Decisioned Corey Bleaker (Cumberland), 5-2
Quarterfinals Decisioned No. 7 Matt Kyler (Army), 3-2
Semifinals Decisioned Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin), 3-0
Finals lost to No. 1 Darrion Caldwell (NC State), 1:05

No. 6 Jason Johnstone
First Round BYE
Second Round Decisioned Ryan Goodman (West Virginia), 8-3
Third Round Decisioned No. 11 Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh), 7-2
Quarterfinals lost to No. 3 JP O’Connor (Harvard), 6-0
Consolation Decisioned Aaron Hynes (Michigan), 11-6
Consolation lost to No. 9 Matt Dragon (Penn), 6-3
Seventh-place lost to No. 8 Kurt Kinser ((Indiana), 5-4

No. 6 Colt Sponseller
First Round BYE
Second Round Pinned Mike Gorman (Army), 6:22
Third Round Decisioned No. 11 Scott Glasser (Minnesota), 3-1
Quarterfinals Decisioned No. 3 Luke Manuel (Purdue), 3-1
Semifinals Decisioned No. 2 Stephen Dwyer (Nebraska), 2-1
Finals lost to No. 1 Mack Lewnes (Cornell), 11-3

No. 3 Corey Morrison
First Round BYE
Second Round Decisioned Ricky Alcala (Cal Davis), 5-3
Third Round Decisioned Charlie Alexander (Western State), 6-2
Quarterfinals Decisioned No. 6 Benjamin Berhow (Minnesota), 9-4
Consolation lost to No. 2 Zach Sheaffer (Pittsburgh), 11-0
Consolation lost to No. 1 Kyle Massey (Wisconsin), 6:24
Consolation lost No. 4 Ryan Flores (Columbia), 1:45