COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State returns to conference action this weekend, facing Penn State on the road at 7 p.m. Friday before returning home to host Purdue at 5 p.m. Sunday in St. John Arena.
Ohio State Probable Line-up
125 Nikko Triggas (16-11)
133 No. 2 Reece Humphrey (19-1)
141 No. 14 J Jaggers (14-5)
149 No. 4 Lance Palmer (18-2)
157 No. 17 Jason Johnstone (17-8)
165 No. 2 Colt Sponseller (23-3)
174 Dave Rella (14-8)
184 No. 2 Mike Pucillo (10-0)
197 Cody Gardner (13-11)
285 Corey Morrison (15-10)
FOLLOWING ON THE ROAD
Follow the Buckeyes from home while they are on the road. Radio for all Penn State wrestling home duals will be streamed live at GoPSUsports.com. In addition, PSU home duals will feature live video internet streaming at GoPSUsports.com.
SEE IT FOR YOURSELF IN COLUMBUS
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 OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
CAN’T MAKE IT?
A live video feed with commentary for all Ohio State home duals will be streamed live at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Register for Buckeye Vision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Live updates also will be available on the wrestling homepage.
SPLITING A HOMESTAND
In a back-and-forth battle that included four lead changes, Ohio State recorded an 18-16 win over Indiana last Friday in St. John Arena before falling, 18-16, to Minnesota Sunday in Value City Arena.
The dual vs. the Golden Gophers marked the first time in Ohio State program history the wrestling team competed at the venue.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
With a 1-1-0 league record, Ohio State currently is tied for fifth with Illinois in the Big Ten standings. Iowa and Minnesota are tied for first, each posting perfect 2-0-0 and 3-0-0 dual records, respectively.
Northwestern stands alone at third with two wins and a tie and Michigan comes in just above the Buckeyes at fourth, going 1-0-1 in league duals. Michigan State (1-2-0 Big Ten) is seventh while Purdue (0-1-1), Penn State (0-2-2) and Wisconsin (1-3-0) are in a three-way tie for eighth. Indiana (0-2-1) rounds out the conference standings in 11th.
Ohio State is 10-2 in its 2008-09 dual campaign. The Buckeyes hosted the Buckeye Duals Nov. 16 in St. John Arena and defeated Notre Dame College, 34-6, and Cleveland State, 35-13.
Before taking a three-week break, sixth-ranked Ohio State took a trip to Edinboro where it downed the 17th-ranked Fighting Scots, 19-12. The Scarlet and Gray moved to 4-0 Jan. 4 as they defeated instate rival Kent State, 20-15, in St. John Arena.
The Buckeyes then earned fifth at the 2009 National Duals with a 4-1 record at the meet. Ohio State posted a 32-12 victory over No. 21 Northern Iowa before dropping a close 16-17 loss to No. 3 Cornell Jan. 10. The Scarlet and Gray posted a 23-19 upset over No. 5 Missouri and followed with a 21-12 decision vs. No. 16 Boise State to advance to the fifth-place final Jan. 11.
Ohio State concluded the National Duals with a 25-12 win over conference rival Minnesota to secure its fifth-place finish.
After a week off, the Buckeyes hit the mats again, downing No. 20 Hofstra, 19-13, last Sunday in Hempstead, N.Y.
Reece Humphrey earned a key victory for Ohio State against the Pride’s Lou Ruggirello at 133 pounds. Heading into the match tied at 13-all, the junior Buckeye battled hard against Ruggirello for two periods before coming back in the third period to post a 7-4 decision. With the win, Humphrey put Ohio State up, 16-13, with only one weight division remaining en route to the Buckeyes eventual 19-13 win.
Ohio State remained hot in January, opening league action with an 18-16 victory over Indiana last Friday in St. John Arena. The conference foes battled through nine weight classes before Colt Sponseller scored an 8-3 decision for Ohio State, securing a Buckeye win in the final bout.
In its second dual of the weekend, the squad built a 16-6 lead after six matches but dropped the final four bouts in an 18-16 loss to Minnesota last Sunday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes, who had snapped a 13-dual losing streak to the Golden Gophers with a 25-12 victory at the 2009 National Duals in January, could not take another from their conference rival.
ALL-TIME AGAINST PENN STATE
Ohio State trails the all-time dual record, 9-13, to Penn State. However, the Buckeyes won both contests vs. the Nittany Lions last season.
The Scarlet and Gray defeated its conference foe, 24-11, at the 2008 National Duals in January at a neutral site and posted a 22-19 victory at home in St. John Arena just two weeks later.
THE NITTANY LIONS
Penn State holds a 7-8-2 overall ledger and is 0-2-2 in conference duals this season.
Plagued with injuries, the Nittany Lions opened their Big Ten dual season with a pair of ties on the road to Indiana (T, 17-17) and Purdue (T, 19-19) Jan. 23 and 24, respectively.
The following weekend the squad dropped two home meets to Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Gophers stole a 20-18 decision last Friday while the Badgers won, 28-13, Sunday.
OHIO STATE VS. PURDUE
The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will meet for the 76th time in program history Sunday. The Scarlet and Gray hold a 45-23-7 advantage in the all-time dual series.
Ohio State has won the last two duals vs. Purdue. The Buckeyes served the Boilermakers a 35-6 defeat at home Feb. 3, 2008 and earned a 28-6 win at home Jan. 14, 2007.
Purdue concludes its Big Ten road swing with the dual vs. Ohio State Sunday. The Boilermakers first make a stop in Bloomington, Ind., for a dual against Indiana at 7 p.m. Friday before arriving in Columbus.
The squad enters the weekend with an 11-2-1 overall record and is 0-1-1 in league action. The Boilermakers tied Penn State, who the Buckeyes face on the road Friday, 19-all, Jan. 24 at home and dropped a 29-11 decision to Illinois at home Jan. 30.
Mike Pucillo remains undefeated on the season after recording a pin and a technical fall last weekend in two Big Ten duals.
Pucillo, a native of Cuyahoga, Ohio, pinned Eric Cameron of Indiana in 2:41 to give the Buckeyes a 9-0 lead after two weight classes last Friday.
The junior continued his dominance, posting a 21-4 technical fall over Minnesota’s Sonny Yohn Sunday to improve his 2008-09 record to 10-0. In just the first period, he scored three takedowns, a three-point nearfall and a two-point nearfall. The reigning NCAA champion at 184 went on to add another three-point nearfall early in the second period and three more takedowns to earn his 21-4 technical fall just 17 seconds into the third.
Pucillo made his season debut at 185 with a win over 10th-ranked Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro Dec. 14. The junior then recorded his second victory against a ranked opponent in as many tries by holding off Kent State’s sixth-ranked Dustin Kilgore with a 6-1 result Jan. 4 in St. John Arena.
In addition, Pucillo added a bulk on victories, going 5-0 at the 2009 National Duals Jan. 10-11 to propel the Buckeyes to a fifth-place finish.
ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END
Last Sunday, Reece Humphrey’s win streak came to a halt, as he fell to No. 5 Jayson Ness (25-4) of Minnesota. After compiling a perfect 19-0 overall ledger and 10-0 dual record, his first blemish came from a 5-0 decision in Ness’ favor.
The junior from Indianapolis started the 2008-09 season winning titles at the Buffalo and Wolfpack Opens before going 2-0 at the Buckeye Duals.
On the season, Humphrey has tallied 56 takedowns, the third most for a Buckeye in the 2008-09 season, and has recorded seven pins.
After turning in key decision in Ohio State’s 19-13 win over Hofstra vs. then ninth-ranked Lou Ruggirello, Humphrey moved up to the top seat in the 133-pound USA
Today/InterMat/NWCA standings for the week of Jan. 27 before falling to Ness Sunday.
Note Results from the 43rd Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Nov. 24 do not count toward records.
PUCILLO STARTING STRONG
Junior Mike Pucillo was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week, the conference announced Jan. 6. It was the Cuyahoga, Ohio, native’s first weekly award of the season and the second of his career. Pucillo recorded his second win against a ranked opponent to propel Ohio State over Kent State, 20-15, Jan. 4 to earn the honor.
Pucillo held off No. 6 Dustin Kilgore with two takedowns and an escape in the 6-1 victory at 184 pounds to extend the Buckeye lead to 10-0 early in the dual match. This marked the second win over a ranked opponent for Pucillo, who made his 2008-09 season debut with a win over 10th-ranked Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro on Dec. 14.
Pucillo is on a 36-match win streak after ending the 2007-08 season with 26-consecutive victories.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Buckeyes ended January with a 10-1 dual record. In the 88-year history of the program, Ohio State has amassed a 294-161-7 (.640) record in the month of January. In 2001 (13-0) and 1981 (6-0), the Buckeyes compiled perfect records during the first 31 days of the year.
Sophomore Colt Sponseller leads the Buckeyes with 114 takedowns. Jason Johnstone is second on the team with 58, while Reece Humphrey rounds out the Top 3 with 56.
Sean Nemec, who saw his first action in dual competition at Edinboro, is first on the team in major decisions with six. Dave Rella is second on the team with five while Johnstone has four for third. Sponseller also paces the squad with five technical falls and Nikko Triggas is the team leader in falls with nine.
THE DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Sophomore Colt Sponseller already surpassed his win total from a season ago. Forced to sit out the beginning of the 2007-08 season because of injury, Sponseller would end that campaign with a 16-4 record. In 2008-09, Sponseller already has totaled 23 wins, with just three losses.
The Glenmont, Ohio, native leads Ohio State with 114 takedowns while also recording five technical falls and four pins.
DOWN YOU GO
Of Nikko Triggas’ nine pins, five have been under two minutes, including a 40-second pin vs. Pete Cole of Alfred State in the Buffalo Open. Triggas owns a team-best nine pins on the season.
Nikko Triggas Pins (under two minutes)
:40 vs. Pete Cole (Alfred State)
1:17 vs. PJ Morales (Edinboro)
1:51 vs. Lou Ruland (Maryland)
1:09 vs. Michael Moreno (NC State)
1:43 vs. Brad Steele (Dickinson State)
With his 21-second pin of RPI’s Dwight Manganaro in the Buffalo Open, freshman Dalton Britt owns the fastest fall time on the team. In second place is sophomore Nikko Triggas with a 40-second pin of Pete Cole of Alfred State, also recorded at the Buffalo Open.
Both of Lance Palmer’s losses this season have come at the hands of NC State’s Darrion Caldwell. Palmer, who owns a 18-2 record, faced Caldwell in the final of the NC State Open and dropped a tight 2-1 decision. Palmer then encountered Caldwell again in the final of the Las Vegas Invitational and was pinned in 1:05.
In his junior campaign, the Columbia Station, Ohio, native has racked up 25 takedowns, six pins and two major decisions, owning a perfect 10-0 dual record.
Sophomore Colt Sponseller has recorded a team-best 12 takedowns in three separate matches this season. He did it in back-to-back contests in the Buffalo Open vs. Matt Coleman of Edinboro (W, 25-10) and Cory Lempka of Buffalo (W, 25-10). The following week in the Wolfpack Open, Sponseller recorded 12 takedowns against Maryland’s Josh Asper (W, 26-10).
Senior Jason Johnstone accumulated 10 takedowns in a 26-10 technical fall win over Corey Carlo of Cleveland State in the Buckeye Duals.
BIG TEN NETWORK COVERAGE
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.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
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.
All eight of the Buckeyes’ league opponents are ranked in the Top 25. Ohio State defeated No. 18T Indiana, 18-16, Jan. 30 before falling, 18-16, vs. No. 8 Minnesota Feb. 1. The Scarlet and Gray will meet No. 25 Purdue Sunday and No. 9 Illinois (Feb. 15) in Columbus. Ohio State will travel to No. 22 Penn State Friday, No. 18T Michigan (Feb. 13), No. 16 Northwestern (Feb. 20) and No. 17 Wisconsin (Feb. 22).
The squad again hits the road for a matchup at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 vs. Michigan in Cliff Keen Arena. The Buckeyes will make their 2008-09 debut on the Big Ten Network as the dual will be broadcast on the network on tape delay at 10:30 p.m. the same day.
Ohio State then hosts Illinois Feb. 15 for a 2 p.m. dual in St. John Arena.
The Scarlet and Gray end the regular season on the road at Northwestern (Feb. 20) and Wisconsin (Feb. 22) before heading to Penn State for the 2009 Big Ten Championships slated for 7 p.m. March 7.