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Year in review: National titles roll in for Ohio State athletics

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Then-redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee celebrates during the national title game against Oregon Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. OSU totaled four national titles throughout its athletic department in 2014-15. Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographer

Then-redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee celebrates during the national title game against Oregon Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. OSU totaled four national titles throughout its athletic department in 2014-15.
Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographer

While a few sports are still in the running for more titles, 2014-15 has already been a successful academic year for Ohio State athletics.

Four teams have already locked up national titles, while four won Big Ten championships as well.

National Champions

From the quarterback trio to sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott’s exposed abs, the OSU football team stole headlines throughout its 2014-15 campaign. That all culminated with the program’s eighth national title in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Buckeyes’ final record was 14-1, with sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa leading the way as the team’s only unanimous first team All-American for the year.

Less than three months after OSU locked up an eighth title on the gridiron, the Buckeyes picked up their first national championship on the wrestling mats. Redshirt-senior Logan Stieber led the way with his fourth straight individual title as the Buckeyes outdueled second-place Iowa with a final score of 102.0.

Along with Stieber, redshirt-freshman Nathan Tomasello picked up an individual title as well, helping OSU to its first title in the program’s 94-year history.

In stark contrast to the wrestling team’s lone championship, the OSU pistol team won its seventh overall and second-straight national title this season. OSU locked up the title on March 26, while freshman Irina Andrianova earned an individual first-place finish as well.

In total, the co-ed pistol team had six free pistol All-Americans, five standard pistol honorees and seven air pistol All-Americans. Andrianova was an honoree for standard and air pistol, while also locking up a first-team finish in sport pistol.

Just two days after the pistol team set the national standard, the OSU synchronized swimming team locked up its 29th national title. The March 28 championship came in Columbus when the Buckeyes defeated defending champion Lindenwood, 93.0-89.0.

“I don’t have the words to truly say what this means,” coach Holly Vargo Brown said in a post-title press release. “We have a new coaching staff and we’ve fought for a couple of years to find our path. To have it culminate at home in this championship is indescribable.”

Big Ten Champs

While the pistol and synchronized swimming teams don’t compete in the Big Ten, both the Buckeye football and wrestling teams locked up conference titles before taking on the best in the nation. The football team defeated Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, 59-0, before making a run in the College Football Playoff.

The wrestling team was able to beat Iowa at the national championships, but tied the Hawkeyes in Columbus for the conference title. It was OSU’s first Big Ten wrestling championship in 64 years.

OSU’s football and wrestling Big Ten titles were split by a victory by the women’s indoor track and field team. The Buckeyes finished first with 84 points — 15 ahead of second-place Michigan.

The Buckeyes added another Big Ten championship to their links Sunday, and came up just short of two. OSU’s women’s golf team shared the conference title with Northwestern, as both teams shot a one-under at the Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships at the Fort Golf Resort in Indianapolis. The men’s golf team finished tied for fifth in its conference tournament after beginning Sunday tied for second at the Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind.

The OSU men’s tennis team had a shot at another Big Ten title on Sunday, but the Buckeyes fell to Illinois, 4-0, in the conference tournament final. OSU also saw its record home winning streak snapped at 200 earlier this year.

Ongoing efforts

OSU’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, the softball team, the women’s rowing team and the baseball team all have ongoing opportunities to push for a Big Ten title.

The Buckeye baseball team is currently third in the Big Ten with a 12-3 conference record, but OSU has nine more conference games to make up ground before the Big Ten Tournament begins May 21.

OSU’s softball team has a steeper hill to climb than its baseball counterparts, as the Buckeyes hold an 9-11 conference record with just three games to play. The softball tournament is scheduled to be held from May 7 to 9 in Columbus.

Big Ten lacrosse

Like the baseball and softball teams, OSU’s lacrosse teams have some time left before they call it a season.

While the men’s team lost a shot at a regular-season title in the first season of Big Ten lacrosse after falling to Maryland and Rutgers in the final two regular season games, the Buckeyes still finished third in the conference with a 3-2 record. OSU is set to face Maryland on Thursday in College Park, Md., for a chance to play in the first Big Ten men’s lacrosse title game.

The women’s team concluded its regular season on a low note as well, as the Buckeyes fell, 16-6, to Northwestern on Saturday. But a 2-3 Big Ten record was still enough to make the conference tournament, where OSU is scheduled to take on Rutgers on Thursday in Piscataway, N.J.

Men’s volleyball

While not part of the Big Ten, OSU’s men’s volleyball team still has a shot at a conference title, too. The Buckeyes finished the regular season 22-8 overall and 12-5 in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

OSU topped Ball State in a 3-0 sweep in the MIVA quarterfinals on Friday, and is now set to play in the semifinals on Tuesday against defending national champion Loyola.

Rowing

The Buckeye rowing team is ranked No. 1 in the nation after winning each of its six races on Saturday against No. 13 Michigan, No. 17 Syracuse and Michigan State.

In total, the Buckeyes won 43 of their 61 races this season, while the first varsity eight completed its second-straight undefeated run with a perfect 10-0 record. The second varsity eight lost just once this season, while the first and second varsity fours finished with 8-2 records.

OSU has won two straight Big Ten titles, and is set for a shot at a third in a row on May 16 and 17 in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes have also won two straight national titles, and will set their sights on a third after the conference championships. The NCAA Championships are scheduled for May 29 to May 31 in Sacramento, Calif.

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