The Buckeyes entered the Big Ten Championships as a slight underdog to Penn State and Iowa, but that didn’t stop them from taking home the Big Ten title outright for the first time since 1951. It’s OSU second title in three years.
Four wrestlers were named individual champions, two earned second-place finishes and a seventh earned third place.
Redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello won his third Big Ten title and first at 133 pounds, junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder won his second, redshirt junior 174-pounder Bo Jordan won his first after two finishes as a runner-up and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore took home the 197-pound title.
In addition to the four champions, two others made it to the finals, including 2016 174-pound national champion sophomore Myles Martin, who lost to Iowa’s Sammy Brooks, and 149-pound redshirt sophomore Micah Jordan, who lost to Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen.
At the end of the day, OSU scored 139.5 points as a team — Penn State was their closest competition with 130 — and were crowned Big Ten champions, but not without some drama involved.
Tomasello carried an undefeated record into competition, and was challenged fiercely throughout the tournament. Rutgers’ Scott DelVecchio battled, but Tomasello took him down with a 6-4 decision before beating No. 5 Stevan Micic of Michigan to advance to the finals.
There, Tomasello faced his toughest opponent yet, and one he had little familiarity with this season — Iowa’s Cory Clark. Clark was the second-highest ranked wrestler at 133 pounds at the tournament, and was absent from the Buckeyes’ Jan. 27 matchup with the Hawkeyes.
This lack of familiarity may have been a hurdle for Tomasello, but he emerged victorious with a last-second escape to seal a 5-4 decision victory.
Bo Jordan, who has been battling injury for much of the season, recently returned to the lineup and was defeated by Cornell’s Brian Realbuto on Feb. 19, the Buckeyes’ last competition before the Big Ten tournament. The injury didn’t affect his pre-seeding, as he entered the tournament as the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class.
In the quarterfinals, Bo Jordan notched a 10-8 decision over Indiana’s Devin Skatzka and then a 14-8 decision over No. 4 Myles Amine of Michigan to advance to the finals. There, he faced No. 2 Penn State wrestler Mark Hall in one of his toughest matches to date.
Hall jumped out to a 2-1 lead with more than a minute of riding time accumulated after one period, but Jordan was able to trade blows with Hall in the second, before a scoreless third period sent the match to overtime at 4-4.
Bo Jordan then took down Hall 20 seconds into sudden victory to clinch his first Big Ten championship.
Moore has been impressive all season for the Buckeyes, as he suffered only three losses during the dual meet season — but two of those losses came against Minnesota senior No. 1 Brett Pfarr.
Those dual-meet losses seemed to provide some motivation for Moore heading into the finals matchup, and Moore was aggressive from the start with Pfarr, getting a takedown within the first 10 seconds of competition.
Moore began to take control of the match at the end of the first, as he closed the period with an 11-4 lead and nearly 40 seconds of riding time. It was a lead that Moore wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the match. Moore finished with a 15-11 win over Pfarr for the Big Ten title.
At heavyweight, not only were the two wrestlers the top Big Ten pre-seeds, but they were also the top-ranked wrestlers in the division, regardless of conference in Snyder and Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery.
Snyder, a world champion and defending Big Ten champ, again proved why he continues to claim the top spot in heavyweight rankings.
Snyder pulled away to a 4-1 lead after two periods, but Medbery fought hard in the third, pulling the score to 7-5 in the last 10 seconds to make the match close.
Snyder notched a last-second escape to score the final point of the match, and secured an 8-5 victory in the Big Ten championships.
As for the Buckeyes who lost in the finals, they were not without their impressive moments. Martin upset top-ranked Bo Nickal in the semifinals. Nickal and Martin have quite the history, as Martin took down Nickal to win the 174-pound national championship in 2016, but then Nickal defeated Martin during the Buckeyes’ regular season loss to Penn State Feb. 3.
Micah Jordan also took down an opponent who beat him in the regular season, as he battled for a 2-1 victory over Iowa’s No. 2 Brandon Sorensen. Jordan lost to Penn State’s Zain Retherford in the championship match.