“Head coach Tom Ryan’s 2018 squad took PSU to the wire. Nickal’s dramatic pin in the 184-pound final on a wild Saturday night in Cleveland sealed the deal and kept the Buckeyes just out of reach.”
Perhaps it comes as no surprise after strong showings in the last several seasons, but Ohio State wrestling is once again near the top of the heap when it comes to the preseason rankings released by the NCAA today. What is surprising is that, for the first time since the Buckeyes won their national title in 2015, they will be without perhaps the greatest wrestler in the world at the moment in Kyle Snyder. They’ll also be missing Nathan Tomasello and Bo Jordan. Tomasello is one of just 15 wrestlers ever to earn four individual Big Ten titles, while Jordan was a four-time All-American.
However, Tom Ryan’s squad will be returning significant firepower to the mat this season. The group is headlined by senior and 2016 NCAA Champion from the 184-pound weight class Myles Martin. All-Americans Joey McKenna, Luke Pletcher, Micah Jordan and Kollin Moore round out the group of veteran leaders.
They’ll need that leadership as the Buckeyes work to topple Penn State, which enters the season as the top-ranked team in the country. The Nittany Lions have been winners of seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments. Just as in previous seasons, the Big Ten represents the epicenter of college wrestling, with Iowa (3), Michigan (T-5) and Nebraska (9) all making the top-10 in preseason rankings.
Last season, Ohio State’s entire starting lineup qualified for the NCAA Tournament, including the aforementioned wrestlers. The Buckeyes finished the season with a second-place finish in the tournament behind Penn State.
The wrestling season kicks off this week as the Buckeyes travel to Denver for the NWCA All-Star Classic Friday. The next day, Ohio State heads to Maryland to take on Navy. Dual matchups are set to begin mid-November. Big Ten matches are scheduled to kick off in December, with the big showdown with Penn State currently slated for Feb. 8 in Columbus.
“The lone Ohioan in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, Ahrens rewrote the record book at Versailles.”
Tipoff for Ohio State basketball is just nine days away, as the Buckeyes prepare to travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats in their newly renovated arena. With the loss of much of last season’s veteran leadership and scoring power, Chris Holtmann’s squad may need to rely on new players to a high degree. One of those crucial players will be freshman small forward Justin Ahrens. Given the loss of Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop and the role he managed to play last season for Holtmann, Ahrens becomes that much more of a crucial piece moving forward to the 2018-19 season.
Ahrens comes to Ohio State from Versailles High School and is the only Ohio product in his recruiting class. A three-star recruit, Ahrens initially committed to play for former head coach Thad Matta, and was part of a class who re-evaluated options before re-committing to the Buckeyes under Holtmann. In high school, Ahrens averaged greater than 20 points per game along with 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He also shot nearly 60 percent from two-point range, and has also been prolific from range.
Ahrens will definitely need to grow this season, but, along with fellow three-star Duane Washington, Jr. of California, he will also provide depth on a team which is lacking in that area this season. Holtmann has already acknowledged that there will be some growing pains as Ahrens, whose high school was Division III-level, transitions to a Division I college game.
“I wanted to come back and share my love of running through campus like I used to.”
It wasn’t a storming of the field in the traditional sense, but Ohio State fans got to hit the field of the Horseshoe Sunday as part of the Ohio State 4-Miler. The race, in its sixth iteration, is the largest four-mile race in the country with 16,000 runners and walkers participating this year. It has sold out every year, given the dual appeal of race fees going to a great cause as well as the opportunity to finish on the 50-yard line. A portion of the proceeds from the race benefit the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer and the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research.
The awesome Brutus medals also don’t hurt.
STICK TO SPORTS
- It’s National Cat Day. Here’s an oldie-but-goodie to celebrate.
- (And don’t forget about the remix)
- This kid has already won Halloween.
- But Prince Harry could give him a run for his money.
- In other scary news, here’s how much Joseph Gordon-Levitt aged during Game 3.