Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor
In the wake of a 25-9 setback against Minnesota Friday, Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan might not have been able to detail the Buckeyes’ remedy any clearer.
“(It’s) just effort,” he said. “It’s simple.”
Ryan said he was disappointed with the way his team wrestled against the Golden Gophers. “I think at times, when our guys get tired, it appears to me that it doesn’t mean anything to them,” he said. “The bottom line is, at the five minute mark or the 5:30 mark in some of the matches, (Minnesota’s) pace was good and ours wasn’t.”
In response to that notion and the Buckeyes’ (7-2, 1-2 Big Ten) loss, he posed a question.
“If something means that much to you,” Ryan started, “then what are you willing to do to fight for it?”
Redshirt sophomore Josh Demas said the lack of effort is something easily addressed.
“I just think we need to go out there and get after it more,” Demas said. “We hesitate a little bit. But it’s a small thing we can fix. It’s not a big thing where it’s our strength or something where it’s going to take a while.”
Redshirt sophomore and team captain Logan Stieber said the loss to the Gophers will not set the team back.
“We just have to keep getting better,” said Stieber, who again won’t wrestle after suffering a strained muscle in his leg in early January. “We still are very young, but we have to keep our confidence and keep pushing forward. We don’t really need to change much. Obviously, just little areas, but we don’t have to change everything. We’re all here, and we’ve done all right in our careers.”
The Buckeyes have another opportunity to prove themselves Friday against Indiana (6-4, 0-2 Big Ten), which, too, most recently fell victim to Minnesota, 41-3.
Ryan said he’s been pleased with practice lately and that his team will have to build from its experiences.
“The training has been good but we’ve only had a few days,” he said. “You know, we have (64) days until the national tournament, and I think Minnesota is a team who could win the national tournament. That team at full strength can win it, and we have to learn from it.”
Ryan said that Indiana, while not perhaps as talented as Minnesota, brings plenty of toughness to the table.
“They have a coach that’s a legend in Duane Goldman who won four Big Ten titles and is a four-time national finalist,” Ryan said. “He’s a competitive guy. You know, within a dual meet you always get a couple of guys where it’s going to be a battle.”
Demas sees the match against the Hoosiers as a way to get back on track.
“We’re going from Minnesota who, I think is like (No. 4) in the nation, to Indiana who I don’t even know if they’re ranked,” he said. “I think it should be a good dual meet for us. It’ll be a good way for us to bounce back and clear our heads for the upcoming Penn State and Wisconsin matches.”
There will be several key matchups to watch as Indiana brings in three top-ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes. OSU redshirt junior and 12th-ranked Peter Capone is set to square off against 11th-ranked Adam Chalfant, a redshirt junior, in a battle of the heavyweight class.
The 157-pound weight class will feature 20th-ranked Demas against 13th-ranked Taylor Walsh, a redshirt sophomore.
“I have a pretty good match,” Demas said. “I’m pretty confident that I should be able to beat him.”
Freshman Mark Martin will face off against 14th-ranked Ryan LeBlanc, an Indiana redshirt junior, in the 165-pound weight class. “They have some good individual kids,” Martin said. “I know my weight’s kid is ranked in the top 20, so we all have to act like this is a No. 1 team.”
Since Stieber – the defending NCAA champion and No. 1-ranked wrestler in the 133-pound weight class – will miss his fourth consecutive match because of injury, his replacement will be decided in a wrestle-off between redshirt freshman Kyle Visconti and redshirt sophomore Drew Stone.
OSU will look to even up its Big Ten record against the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. Friday in Bloomington, Ind.