clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State Wrestling: Buckeyes take third at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, prepare to host top-20 Pitt squad

Tom Ryan’s squad also crowned an individual champion and saw two other Buckeyes secure podium finishes in Sin City.

Ohio State Wrestling - X/Twitter, @wrestlingbucks

Nearly two weeks removed from their back-to-back, same-day drubbings of Columbia and Hofstra on Nov. 19, the Ohio State wrestling Buckeyes were back in action this past Friday and Saturday, competing in the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Buoyed by three podium finishes – including one individual champion – Tom Ryan’s young squad would go on to place third (among teams) in the desert, showing little rust and lots of promise.

OSU finished behind only Iowa State and Big Ten foe Nebraska, in an event that has treated the Scarlet and Gray very well over the years. Under Ryan, the Buckeye grapplers have now finished among the top-5 in 12 of the last 14 Keen Invitationals, winning three consecutive team titles from 2016-2018.

This year’s Keen results were generally rather promising for Ohio State, as five wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals. Said group of five included 133-pound redshirt freshman Nic Bouzakis, who was forced to claw his way back into contention via the consolation bracket.

After dropping his opening match to Stanford’s Tyler Knox, Bouzakis then reeled off seven straight wins (!) to secure a third-place podium finish. The latter also earned the event’s Most Pins Award – giving him five on the season, to go with four tech falls – and pushed his overall record to 13-4.

While Bouzakis continues to show serious breakout potential, OSU’s MVP of the weekend was stud sophomore and 2022-23 All-American Jesse Mendez, who was crowned individual champion at 141 pounds. Now 11-0 on the young season, he went a perfect 5-0 in Sin City, including a major decision over fourth-ranked Brock Hardy of Nebraska. Mendez also defeated No. 7 Ryan Jack of NC State and No. 14 Vince Cornella of Cornell (yes, really), putting together arguably the most impressive individual performance of the entire weekend.

Veteran Buckeye Carson Kharchla was Ohio State’s other podium finisher, taking third (like Bouzakis) at 174. The Columbus native took a more traditional route than his younger teammate, winning each of his first three matches. He then slipped up against South Dakota State’s Cade DeVos, before rebounding with back-to-back victories in the consolation bracket. Kharchla finished 5-1 on the weekend, pushing his season record to 6-2.

Lastly, Dylan D’Emilio (149), Paddy Gallagher (157) and Nick Feldman (HWT) were among those who narrowly missed out on a podium finish, coming in fourth, seventh, and sixth, respectively. The latter began his tournament 5-1 but appeared to suffer an injury in the consolation semifinal. Feldman then medically forfeited his fifth-place match. Here’s hoping the promising big man can return to action quickly.

Here are your weekend results for all (Buckeyes) who competed in Sin City:

Brendan McCrone (125) – 3-2, two wins over top-25 opponents

Nic Bouzakis (133) – 7-1, third place

Jesse Mendez (141) – 5-0, first place

Dylan D’Emilio (149) – 5-2, fourth place

Paddy Gallagher (157) – 5-2, seventh place

Isaac Wilcox (165) 2-2

Carson Kharchla (174) – 5-1, third place

Gavin Hoffman (184) 2-2

Luke Geog (197) 1-2

Nick Feldman (HWT/285) – 5-3, sixth place

Ohio State hits the mat(s) again this Sunday, when Ryan’s squad hosts No. 18 Pittsburgh at the Covelli Center. The dual begins at noon, and it should be a good one. Not only is Pitt a top-20 team, but several Panthers competed in the Clarion Open earlier this year, where OSU was also well-represented. And this will be the third dual between these two teams in the last five years.

The battle between the Buckeyes and Panthers will be televised on Big Ten Network, so you’ve got no excuse not to tune in! Go Bucks.