Jennifer Jung / Lantern photographer
The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team improved to 9-2 over the weekend after victories against Big Ten rivals Indiana and No. 19 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes followed a 36-3 trouncing of the Hoosiers last Friday by defeating the Badgers, 29-10, Sunday, improving their conference record to 3-2.
Although proud of the victories, OSU coach Tom Ryan said in a phone interview that the team is still not where it needs to be.
“You know, I don’t think we’re wrestling our best right now, but we’re in the middle of the Big Ten season and we need to pick up our intensity,” he said.
OSU rallied behind nine wins to cruise past Indiana, dropping the Hoosiers record to 6-5 and 0-3 in the Big Ten. The road to victory was a bit different for the Buckeyes against Wisconsin, though the outcome was the same.
The Badgers got off to a quick 4-0 start after Wisconsin redshirt junior Tyler Graff defeated OSU redshirt freshman Kyle Visconti, 25-11, in the opening bout between the 133-pound weight class. The Badgers’ momentum was stopped, however, when OSU sophomore Hunter Stieber pinned redshirt senior Tom Kelliher in 1:22, extending his record to 23-0 and giving the Buckeyes a 6-4 lead.
Wisconsin went back on top 7-6 when redshirt senior Cole Schmitt defeated OSU sophomore Cam Tessari, 8-7, in a close-fought battle of the 149-pound weight class.
Despite the early deficit, the Buckeyes went on to win five consecutive matches.
Winning the next three bouts were redshirt sophomore Josh Demas at 157 pounds, freshman Mark Martin at 165 pounds and redshirt junior Nick Heflin at 174 pounds. OSU redshirt freshman Kenny Courts dominated his match in the 184-pound weight class, going up 16-0 before winning the match by a technical fall in the second period.
At 197 pounds, sophomore Andrew Campolattano followed with a narrow 3-2 victory over Wisconsin’s redshirt junior Jackson Hein.
The streak ended when redshirt junior Peter Capone suffered a 5-2 defeat to redshirt freshman Connor Medbery in the heavyweight class.
For the Buckeyes, though, the match concluded on a high note when OSU senior Nikko Triggas of the 125-pound weight class pinned his opponent, redshirt sophomore Matt Cavarllaris, in 45 seconds.
With the loss, Wisconsin slipped to 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Ryan said that in order to finish the Big Ten portion of the schedule strong, the team needs to improve in several areas.
“There’s plenty of technical stuff, little conditioning things, but we have to get ready for Illinois and we’ll have to put in some hard work for next week,” he said.
The Buckeyes look to continue their winning ways when they take on Illinois on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in Oak Harbor, Ohio.