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Wrestling: No. 4 Ohio State tops Nebraska, Minnesota to round out dual meet season

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Sophomore Myles Martin looks to control Bo Nickal of Penn State on Feb. 3 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 32-12. Credit: Nicholas McWilliams | Sports Editor

The fourth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team reestablished itself as a top team after losing two of its last three meets, topping both No. 5 Nebraska and No. 13 Minnesota in a pair of away bouts.

On Friday, the Buckeyes traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers. Last season, OSU topped Nebraska 21-17 with a little help from the return of then-sophomore Kyle Snyder.

The Buckeyes did not have any surprises up their sleeve this time, but the result was the same. The team secured a 24-13 victory, and won seven of 10 matchups against the Cornhuskers, including four wins over top-10 opponents.

Sophomore Myles Martin came through with one of the biggest upsets this season, picking up a huge 11-5 decision victory over No. 3 T.J. Dudley. Martin has faced top-five opponents in three of the past six meets, losing the first two before capturing a victory over Dudley.

No. 1 ranked 174-pounder Bo Jordan also returned to the lineup Friday, getting a major decision victory over Nebraska’s Micah Barnes and a fall over Chris Pfarr of Minnesota Sunday. Jordan had been kept out of the lineup in the last two bouts with an injury.

No. 1-ranked 133-pounder Nathan Tomasello finished the dual meet season undefeated, going into the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Championship Dual Series with a spotless 15-0 record. Over the weekend, Tomasello took down No. 5 Eric Montoya (NEB) with a 5-2 decision and pinned Minnesota’s Mitch McKee, which was his first fall of the season.

After two grueling bouts against Penn State and Rutgers, No. 4 Kollin Moore captured a 3-2 decision over Nebraska’s No. 6 Aaron Studebaker at 197 pounds before suffering a decision loss of his own at the hands of No. 2 Brett Pfarr of the Golden Gophers. Moore and Pfarr had met earlier in the season at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, where Pfarr picked up a 15-7 major decision victory.

For the Minnesota matchup, the Buckeyes were without world champion Kyle Snyder, who traveled to Iran to participate in the Freestyle World Cup on Feb. 16 to 17. In his absence, the team was still able to fight to a 24-20 victory.

OSU redshirt freshman and No. 18 125-pounder Jose Rodriguez, who has been battling injury and illness for the past few meets, bounced back in a big way against Minnesota. After struggling to find points against ranked opponents, Rodriguez fought to a sudden victory win over Minnesota’s No. 6 Ethan Lizak.

Trailing 6-0 after the first, and only finding two points in the second period, Rodriguez fired off five takedowns in the third, including one in the final seconds that pushed the match to overtime. He took down Lizak once more to secure a 12-10 win.

The Buckeyes won 12 of a possible 20 matchups, seven of those victories coming via bonus points.

The Buckeyes’ next matchup is in Ithaca, New York, against No. 8 Cornell for the NWCA National Championship Dual Series on Feb. 19. Cornell boasts three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their weight class, including two-time defending national champion No. 1 184-pounder Gabe Dean.

OSU is 6-6-1 all-time against Cornell, with the Big Red picking up a 27-6 decision in 2011 the last time either side squared off. A win against Cornell would solidify the Buckeyes as one of the top teams in the country, heading into championship season.

The NWCA duals begin on Feb. 17 with Purdue squaring off against No. 17 South Dakota State. OSU’s dual begins on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. in the Friedman Wrestling Center in Ithaca, New York.

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