The No. 10 Ohio State wrestling team is looking to build upon its early season success this weekend against the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Buckeyes are 3-0 this season after defeating Utah Valley, Old Dominion and North Carolina by a combined score of 102-9 last weekend at the Wrestle for a Cure Duals in Harrisburg, Pa.
“We were pleased with their performance,” said coach Tom Ryan. “But there is certainly room for improvement.”
The young OSU team lost only two matches in the meet and won 28, led by redshirt freshman Logan Stieber, the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the nation at 133 pounds. Stieber had two pins in his three matches for a perfect 3-0 finish.
The Buckeyes finished the meet with four falls, one technical fall and four major decisions.
Stieber echoed his coach in saying the team has some work to do to be competitive.
“We need to pick up intensity,” he said. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but we wrestled pretty well.”
The probable starters for the Buckeyes this weekend include five freshmen, two redshirt freshmen, two redshirt sophomores and one redshirt junior. There is only one senior on the roster.
Ryan said the youth of the team is its biggest challenge.
“We’re trying to do the toughest thing that I’m aware of in college sports, and that is to have a freshman perform at a national level,” he said. “And that is extremely difficult.”
The team will have to grow up in a hurry, as Ryan said Virginia Tech represents the team’s biggest challenge of the season, and this is only the third week of the season.
Stieber will be involved in the featured match of the dual as he faces No. 5 sophomore Devin Carter , who finished in the Top 12 at the 2011 NCAA Championships as a true freshman.
“Every match is going to be tough in that dual; we’re very similar in rankings in each weight class, so all 10 matches will be tough,” Ryan said. “But (Stieber’s match) is a doozie. Either one of those guys could be in the national finals, or both of them.”
Fans are encouraged to wear black to the meet, which will start at 4 p.m. Sunday from St. John Arena.