Buckeyes Have Strong Opening Session at NCAA Wrestling

The Ohio State Wrestling team had a very pleasant surprise, a close loss to a seeded wrestler and a genuine heartbreak. Badly injured Hunter Stieber gave it a go. Without a single usable arm he nearly missed a dramatic comeback. He looked pretty good on his feet but probably was not healthy enough to escape from the bottom in the second. That led to him getting put on his back. Although he valiantly held off a pin, the period rideout cost him the point he could have used as he gamely came back. A near takedown at the end fell short, sending the hurt fighter to the long wrestle backs, likely against last year’s NCAA runner-up Josh Kindig, who is also hurt.

On the bright side, the Buckeyes send a tournament leading seven wrestlers to the second round as they picked up bonus points on two pins (Tomasello ad Jordan), one tech fall (Logan Stieber) and one major decision (Snyder). Even better, Kenny Courts nailed an overtime takedown to score an upset over a six seed. Kennny’s would be opponent, the eleven seeded Pfarr from Minnesota was also upset, opening the possibility that the very talented but enigmatic Kenny could end up in the quarters with a win tonight.

The Buckeyes did encounter a tough loss at 174, but Mark Martin can redeem himself in the wrestlebacks. He still stands a decent chance of making the All American brackets.

The Buckeyes finished the first session in first place in the team standings. Even better, their main challengers, Iowa and Missouri had significant setbacks. Iowa, in particular lost five (141) and three (285) seeds and have only five wrestlers into the second round. Mizzou fared a little better. Although they scored two minor upsets, they also suffered one minor and one major upset when four seed Eblen lost at 174. Mizzou also sends seven to the second round but will have at least one tough match when three seed Lavion Mayes goes against Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.

The Buckeyes have particularly critical matches at 133 (Johnni DiJulius vs 17-1 thirteen seed Cody Brewrer of Oklahoma), 157, (Josh Demas v. eleven seed Brian Murphy, Michigan) and 184 (Kenny Courts v. unseeded Scott Patrick, Davidson). This is potentially a big night for the Buckeyes, who historically go on a nice run in the first evening session. Buckle up.

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