One could have heard a pin drop in St. John Arena as redshirt sophomore Nate Tomasello started his match at 125 pounds. All eyes were on the national champion, and “pin” was exactly what he did to start the night.
The Ohio State team (11-3, 7-2) picked up another win this year in its final dual meet in St. John, taking down Edinboro in a National Wrestling Coaches Association dual-series bout. With six individual victories, the Buckeyes battled their way to a hard-fought team win, 26-13.
It was the second time in two seasons the Scarlet and Gray faced the Fighting Scots in a NWCA dual and the second time OSU came out on top.
Tomasello earned his third pin of the year, while maintaining an unblemished record for the season. The Parma, Ohio, native remains one of two undefeated OSU wrestlers, along with sophomore Kyle Snyder.
Tomasello hasn’t lost since January of last year.
There was a surprise absence at 133 pounds for the Buckeyes, as senior Mike Manuche competed in place of redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius. Manuche went up against redshirt junior Anthony Rivera.
In his 10th match of the year, Manuche struggled against Rivera, unable to secure any takedown or escape. Eventually, Rivera won 6-0, pulling Edinboro into striking distance, with OSU only up 6-3.
Redshirt junior Micah Jordan quickly turned the tide for the Buckeyes, with a good performance against freshman Tyler Vath. Even though Jordan got caught in a bad position and had to sprawl and tumble away from a near fall, he would go on to pick up a 22-9 major decision.
After noting that he needed to create more energy and open up earlier this week, Jordan seemed to fix the issues. He now has eight major decisions on the season, which leads the team.
After an injury in sudden victory in the previous match for redshirt senior Hunter Stieber at the 149-pound weight class, redshirt freshman Cody Burcher re-entered the lineup. Burcher was the starter for OSU at the beginning of the season against Virginia.
Burcher drew a tough opponent in freshman Patricio Lugo. Lugo is the 19th-ranked wrestler in the nation at 149 pounds. With a tight contest into the third, Burcher gained a 1-0 lead on an escape, before being taken down with little time left.
Burcher scrambled with eight seconds left looking for an escape, but was unable to capitalize. Lugo went on to win 2-1. OSU coach Tom Ryan said he felt Burcher performed well overall, even with some issues earlier this week with making weight.
“The door opened, and (Burcher wasn’t) quite ready to run through it,” Ryan said. “But, he gave a good effort overall.”
Buckeye fans got a treat once again at 157 pounds, as redshirt freshman Jake Ryan took another match down to the wire, this time against redshirt sophomore Austin Matthews.
A tight contest throughout, things came picked up near the end of the last period. After a takedown was thwarted by Matthews, it was initially ruled that two points went to Edinboro. However, after a video replay, the call was reversed, and the match came down to riding time, which gave Jake Ryan the 4-3 win.
With the ball now in their court, the Buckeyes looked to increase their 13-6 team lead. Redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan was just the man for the job.
After a shaky outing in the previous match, Bo Jordan started off in a bit of trouble, as his opponent, redshirt senior Casey Fuller, nearly got Bo Jordan’s shoulders down for a fall. However, Bo Jordan rolled out of danger and proceeded to control the rest of the bout.
Midway through the second, the St. Paris, Ohio, product secured Fuller and earned the fall. That pin was his fifth of the year.
“Last week I couldn’t get my opponent’s feet moving at all,” Bo Jordan said. “I really focused on, this week in practice of, getting guys feet moving.”
The adjustment paid dividends for him.
Up next at 174 pounds, freshman Myles Martin looked to continue his stellar rookie year. After securing the first takedown, the lead would remain firmly in his hands.
After a few more takedowns, one more by Martin gave him a 14-4 major decision win. Martin now has a season win total of 24, which is ranks third on the team.
Tom Ryan went to a different wrestler at 184 pounds than he did last week, turning to redshirt sophomore Dominic Prezzia. The absence of the usual competitor, Kenny Courts, should not raise any concerns about the redshirt senior’s status for the rest of the year, the coach said.
“Kenny had something come up today,” Tom Ryan said.
Prezzia made a valiant effort against fifth-ranked redshirt senior Vic Avery, but he was outmatched as the bout wore on. Avery won 19-7, while Prezzia fell to 13-10 on the year.
After a strong outing in the previous match, senior Mark Martin had a much tougher go against senior Vince Pickett. With a team win seemingly in hand, Martin looked to earn another win for OSU to pad the team’s stats.
Although he picked up a takedown in the first, Martin could not respond with any more scoring, and he was forced to defend for the rest of the match. Pickett earned an escape but failed to score again, giving Martin a 2-1 decision win.
Redshirt junior Nick Tavanello was the last man out for the Buckeyes, and he faced redshirt freshman Billy Miller. The two Ohio natives clashed in a tough, grind-it-out bout.
Tavanello struggled to create any separation or scoring chances and could not secure any of his numerous takedowns. Miller would go on to win 5-1.
Even with the loss in the final match, OSU won with ease, 26-13.
Although Tom Ryan had a smile on his face and was celebrating the NWCA dual-series victory as he made his way into the press conference, he noted what he felt his wrestlers seemed to need to change moving forward.
“Fear is debilitating,” the coach said. “We gotta find a way to wrestle fearless.”
Postseason play awaits the Buckeyes next, as they are set to head to Iowa City, Iowa, to compete in the Big Ten Championships. The event is scheduled to take place on March 5 and 6.