Ohio State heads into this afternoon’s B1G Wrestling Championship Finals with a once commanding lead.
You can find a complete breakdown of the math here.
SCORING UPDATE: HEADING INTO FINALS BUCKEYES LEAD BY 7. Two titles and a Pletcher 3rd means Penn State would need to be almost perfect or score a lot of pins to make a run. A Bo Jordan win is a near OSU clincher.
As for Iowa, I believe the Pletcher win has virtually eliminated them. Any one Ohio State title surely would.
So watch out for Nathan Tomasello at 133 and Bo Jordan at 174. If those two win, the first sole B1G Championship in living memory will return to Ohio State (Ohio State and Iowa tied for the 2015 title).
So let me offer this thought: Kyle Snyder is so insanely talented he is hardly a collegiate story at times, which is painful to say. The conclusion in the previous paragraph just assumes Snyder will win the 285 title. In this, the best conference wrestling championship in the land, Snyder has hardly needed to break a sweat. But get this: he wrestles at his Olympic Gold medal weight of 213.4 pounds in freestyle. So he dominates while being dramatically undersized at 285.
After a bye in the first round Snyder won by a 26-9 tech fall in the quarters against Razohnn Gross of Rutgers. In the semis, he won by a mere 14-7. While that might sound pedestrian, the only way fourth seeded Michael Kroells (Minnesota) scored was by Snyder letting him up after taking him down seven times.
Snyder faces a very worthy Connor Medbery of Wisconsin in the finals. Second seeded Medbery has earned the right not to be taken for granted. But still. I feel like I am going out of my way to put some drama in this. Poor Kyle. All he does is blow away everyone he faces. The spectacular has become common place. An historic champion is taken for granted because there is no apparent drama. At this point, all you can do is sit back and watch a future legend go to work.
That’s not nothing.
OK, so what about the matches?
Nathan Tomasello has not faced third seeded Cory Clark of Iowa since his move up to 133. An anticipated dual meet-up did not happen when Clark was held out of the lineup. Tomasello has seemingly struggled, eking out a two point and a one point win. But on the other hand, especially against talented Stevan Micic of Michigan, when Tomasello needed to bring the juice he did.
Even if struggling, look for Nathan to capture his third B1G title.
At 149, Micah Jordan finds there is no rest for the wicked. After his spirited upset of Iowa’s Brandon Sorenson, he jumps into the flames to face the uber fierce Zain Retherford of Penn State. As a freshman, Retherford was the only wreslter to beat Logan Stieber in his last two years. Last year, after taking off 2015, Retherford jumped up in weight to win the NCAA title at 149.
A driven and punishing wrestler, Retherford has not been seriously touched in two years. Jordan did hang tough with him awhile in their dual. But Retherford eventually got enough back points to pull away for a major win. If Jordan can stay off his back, perhaps he has a chance, but this is one prohibitively in the Penn State column. Ohio wrestling fans will revel in an historic upset if Micah can reverse the script.
At 174, one seed Bo Jordan faces Mark Hall, an unbelievably talented Penn State freshman. The two have not met previously. As noted, a Jordan win would seemingly put the match out of Penn State’s reach.
At 184, Myles Martin, riding the high of another wild win against Bo Nickal, faces off with Sammie Brooks of Iowa. This one goes either way. Brooks pulled away from Myles late in their dual. But as with last year, Myles is charging when it counts.
At 197, Kollin Moore goes against Brett Pfarr of Minnesota. Pfarr won a close one a few weeks ago, but again, this one could go either way.
Finally, Luke Pletcher prevailed in his consolation match, thus setting up a third place bout against Colton McCrystal of Nebraska. This match up of 4 (McCrystal) and 5 seeds is a redo from yesterday which Pletcher won in a close one.
So there are several matches that can go either way. If OSU just holds its own, the title should be finally their’s–all to themselves.
But Coach Ryan has been there before. In 2009, he stood under the stands in St. Louis with a firm grasp on an NCAA title. He watched Iowa creep up and eventually claim a miraculous win. So he is not counting on anything.
Allowing himself to feel a little better after Pletcher’s consolation semi win an hour ago, that sinking feeling set in again. Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph turned in a late consolation semi pin at 165 to bring Penn State back by 5-1/2 points. That was followed by a Nickal win, a McCutcheon win and a Nevills pin at heavy. A 23 point lead had dwindled to four.
Fortunately a thunderous pin by Jose Rodriguez in the seventh place match started to level out the bonus points. Now with seven Ohio State wrestlers going for a potential 25 placement points in the final matches (to 16 for Penn State), the feeling is, just “win our share.” If the Buckeyes can just break even on the close ones, that seven point cushion should be a mountain for Penn State to climb. We will know soon.