More than six thousand fans packed St. John Arena on a Sunday afternoon to watch the No. 7 Ohio State wrestling team take on No. 1 Iowa. Even Urban Meyer was there cheering on the Buckeyes, but it wasn't enough. For the second straight outing Ohio State lost a close one this time falling 18-14 to the Hawkeyes.
The Buckeyes had opportunities, but ultimately couldn't cash in on enough of them. Hunter Stieber, Kyle Snyder, and Nathan Tomasello all lost one-point decisions to ranked wrestlers. Had the Buckeyes pulled out one of the three matches, it would have been enough to turn the dual in the home team's favor. But they didn't and the Buckeyes are left to regroup and refocus.
Speaking of his teams early-season struggles coach Tom Ryan said, "We need to stick together and lean on each other, hold each other accountable, work harder. Most problems in life can be fixed with working harder. Every man has the same demons; those who conquer them go on to big things, those who don't lose by a point. Overall I'm happy though."
You can find the full match results at the bottom of the article, but for now let's start with a few highlights.
- Bo Jordan is the real deal. It was up in the air whether or not the redshirt freshman would wrestle today. Jordan had been out since November and, according to Coach Ryan, had only wrestled live in practice once since getting injured. Still, with the match close after intermission, Jordan took the mat against No. 7 Nick Moore (Sr.). Jordan dominated the match from start to finish including storming out to a 7-1 lead in the first period. The final ended up one point shy of a major decision with Jordan winning 9-2. Jordan winning wasn't so much a surprise as was the manner in which he won. Moore offered no offense whatsoever and seemed completely overmatched.
- Logan Stieber absolutely decimated Josh Dziewa, a wresler who is ranked as high as No. 5 in some polls. Stieber took him down early and ran his top offense to perfection as he cruised to a 16-0 tech fall victory in the second period. Stieber puts in these sort of performances so often that it is easy to take them for granted. If you haven't seen him wrestle live yet, I suggest getting to a match as soon as you can. He's not here for much longer and we may never see one quite like him again.
- He was the clear underdog going into the match but Johnni DiJulius used an early onslaught to help him notch a 7-5 win over Iowa's Corey Clark. Clark almost turned DiJulius several times with an arm bar, but he couldn't get the Buckeye junior over. After the match coach Ryan commented "I see that happening to him a lot in practice wrestling Logan. Logan usually gets those turns, but Johnni is pretty tough to stop in that position." The surprise victory gave the Buckeyes some early momentum and earned DiJulius Russ Hellickson wrestler of the match honors.
- Eight of Ohio State's ten wrestlers were called for stalling at some point in their match. The two who weren't were Stieber and Jordan.
- Through two matches Hunter Stieber hasn't looked like Hunter Stieber. Against Sorensen today Stieber took an early lead but gave up a pair of third-period takedowns costing him the match. The loss, Stieber's second of the season, represents double his loss total for the entire 2012-13 season. I don't know if it's conditioning, rust, injury, or a combination of the factors, but if Ohio State is going to win a national title, it is going to need Hunter Stieber to get back on track.
- Nathan Tomasello lost another close match this time to Thomas Gilman 2-1 in rideouts. Tomasello has been right in there with some of the top guys in the country this season, but it's time for him to get over the hump and beat one of those top guys.
- Speaking about the team's struggles, captain Logan Stieber said "Some of the guys have to really look at themselves, really fix some things." Coach Ryan agreed "Some guys need to soul search, [because] they're good enough."
- This was the first time all season that Ohio State had its entire starting lineup healthy.
- A little-known rule came into play during Kyle Snyder's match with Nathan Burak. Snyder was injured at the end of the first period, requiring a stoppage. As a result, Snyder lost the right to choose starting position in both the second and third periods (he also received a stalling warning). That meant that Burak was able to start from the down position in both periods. He escaped both times, representing the only two points that he scored. Coach Ryan was sure to emphasize two things when discussing this match after the fact; the rule was applied correctly and Kyle Snyder would never call for an injury timeout unless absolutely necessary. "The least likely human being on the face of the earth to call injury time is Kyle Snyder," said Ryan. "The rule is the rule...There are other places we should've won it and it shouldn't have mattered."
- Much to the delight of the 6,000-plus in attendance buckeye football coach Urban Meyer was in the house serving as an honorary coach.
- Also in the house was Willie Burton, a high school wrestler who competed for four full seasons despite suffering from cerebral palsy. Here's a link to the E:60 story on Burton.
- The Buckeyes won't have much time to recover from today's loss. Next Sunday the No. 4 ranked Penn State wrestling team will be in Columbus for another matchup of top-ten teams.
125: Thomas Gilman (Iowa) over Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) (TB-1 2-1) Iowa 3, OSU 0
133: Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) over Cory Clark (Iowa) (Dec 7-5) OSU 3, Iowa 3
141: Logan Stieber (Ohio State) over Josh Dziewa (Iowa) (TF 15-0 4:37) OSU 8, Iowa 3
149: Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) over Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) (Dec 9-7) OSU 8, Iowa 6
157: Josh Demas (Ohio State) over Mike Kelly (Iowa) (Dec 5-2) OSU 11, Iowa 6
165: Bo Jordan (Ohio State) over Nick Moore (Iowa) (Dec 9-2) OSU 14, Iowa 6
174: Michael Evans (Iowa) over Mark Martin (Ohio State) (Dec 5-2) OSU 14, Iowa 9
184: Sam Brooks (Iowa) over Kenny Courts (Ohio State) (Dec 3-2) OSU 14, Iowa 12
197: Nathan Burak (Iowa) over Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) (Dec 2-1) Iowa 15, OSU 14
285: Bobby Telford (Iowa) over Nick Tavanello (Ohio State) (Dec 4-0) Iowa 18, OSU 14