A pair of Ohio State wrestlers are the Big Ten’s best in their respective weight classes.
Senior Nick Heflin and redshirt-junior Logan Stieber joined exclusive company Sunday, taking home the Big Ten Championship in the 197-pound and 141-pound weight classes at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., according to an OSU press release.
Steiber defeated Penn State freshman Zain Retherford, 7-3, in the 141-pound championship match to capture his third-straight conference crown. He became just the second OSU wrestler in program history to do so, joining Kevin Randleman, who wrestled for the Buckeyes from 1991-93.
Steiber’s victory against Retherford comes as a bit of payback, as Retherford defeated the three-time conference champion in Dec. 15 in what was his first loss in just more than a year.
Steiber is now 25-1 on the season, having won 16 consecutive matches since falling to Zetherford in December.
Heflin was the conference runner up at 174 pounds in 2011, but took down Penn State sophomore Morgan McIntosh, 5-3, to capture the title Sunday.
The senior has now won 14 straight matches, and the victory against McIntosh was the 95th of his career.
With their victories, Steiber and Heflin automatically qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships, set to take place March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.
A total of five other Buckeyes also qualified for the NCAAs with their respective performances Sunday — 184-pound redshirt-sophomore Kenny Courts, 125-pound redshirt-freshman Nick Roberts, 133-pound Johnni DiJulius, 174-pound sophomore Mark Martin and heavyweight redshirt-freshman Nick Tavanello. Redshirt-senior Ian Paddock is set to wrestle in the 149-pound weight class as well after earning an at-large bid Wednesday.
The Buckeyes finished fourth as a team with 86.5 points. Penn State took home the team championship with 140.5 points.