With the regular season coming to a close after a Feb. 12 win at No. 13 Minnesota, the No. 4 Ohio State wrestling team travels to Ithaca, New York, to take on No. 8 Cornell in the NWCA National Duals Championship Series.
Cornell boasts four ranked wrestlers on their team, all of which compete at 165 pounds or higher. OSU’s roster also contains four wrestlers ranked in those weight classes, but will be without No. 1 heavyweight and junior Kyle Snyder, as he will be returning from participating in the Iran Freestyle World Cup.
The Big Red’s most dominant wrestler is No. 1 184-pounder and two-time national champion Gabe Dean. OSU’s No. 7 sophomore Myles Martin will be tasked with taking on the defending champ in Ithaca this week.
Last time the two faced off, Dean wiped the floor with Martin, picking up a 13-4 major decision.
“The more Myles has competed at the weight against the high-level guys, the more confidence he’s gotten,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “His win over (Nebraska’s T.J. Dudley) was kind of a statement internally for him that this weight is a weight that I can be the best in the country at.”
Martin moved to the seventh-ranked spot at 184 pounds after an 11-5 decision over Dudley on Feb. 10.
At 174 pounds, redshirt junior No. 1 Bo Jordan of the Buckeyes against No. 3 Brian Realbuto is expected to have fireworks. Jordan returned to the lineup on Feb. 10 after aggravating a foot injury Jan. 27 against Iowa.
“I didn’t have a lot of chances to test myself this season, so this weekend will be a good chance to test myself,” Jordan said. “I got a really good guy, so just making sure I go out there and get after it, just see where I’m at.”
Jordan tallied a fall and a major decision victory against unranked opponents at Nebraska and Iowa in his return to the lineup.
Jordan, however, is not the only Buckeye battling injury heading into the postseason. Redshirt sophomore 157-pounder Jake Ryan has not seen action since Jan. 27, but Tom Ryan said the team is hopeful to have him back for the dual against Cornell, and if not, at least for the Big Ten Tournament.
If the Buckeyes are without Ryan, they would likely send out redshirt sophomore Anthony DeCarlo to compete at 157 pounds. Redshirt senior Josh Fox will also be in the lineup at heavyweight with Snyder out.
No. 1 redshirt junior and 133-pounder Nathan Tomasello was awarded the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after defeating two ranked opponents, including his first pin of the season over Minnesota’s No. 17 Mitchell McKee. Despite his regular season accolades, including an undefeated record, Tomasello remains focused on postseason success.
“It’s just another time to show what we have as a team and to keep building,” Tomasello said. “Cornell is a solid lineup, they’re a good top-10 team, so it’s exciting to compete over there, in New York, against them.”
After the matchup against Cornell, the Buckeyes will have a week off in preparation for the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Indiana, on March 4 and 5.