Kollin Moore took the mat for the 197 title bout vs veteran Brett Pfarr of Minnesota. When he finished, the freshman had given Ohio State its first outright B1G Wrestling title since before the the Nash was a thing. Action just completed at famed Assembly Hall on the Indiana University campus.
Despite a creeping Penn State effort to within half a point, dramatic title wins by Nathan Tomasello, Bo Jordan and Moore gave the finishing edge to add the latest historic achievement of the Tom Ryan era!
Kyle Snyder, so good it’s not even news anymore, went on to put the exclamation on a remarkable team title run by beating respected and game to the end senior Connor Medbery of Wisconsin. Despite being outweighed by what looked like 60 pounds, Snyder won a man sized battle of strength and quickness at both ends, 8-5.
Today started with Ohio State boasting a robust 18-1/2 point lead. But it was clear that would change. While Ohio State had six wrestlers in the finals, Penn State had four in the consolation semis, which preceded the finals. Also Penn State’s sure fire champions were at weights that preceded four Buckeye finalists.
So nerves were a little tight when the Ohio State lead, which had actually bulged to about 23, had shrunk to a half point when Bo Jordan took the mat for the 174 title bout.
Jordan faced off against the gifted freshman Mark Hall of Penn State. Hall jumped out to an early lead but increasingly Jordan’s strength became the story. First it was simply working out of deep shots that Hall usually would expect to convert.
But by the third period it was evident Jordan had simply worn young Hall down. When Jordan nearly converted a cross face takeover as a counter of another deep shot, you could tell the match was done. It did go to overtime but Hall couldn’t stop the onslaught. Jordan, no longer worried about Hall’s ability to counter, hit the takedown and Ohio State’s team title was effectively won.
Kollin Moore hit an instant takedown and started a surprising mauling of the older Pfarr. Moore and Pfarr contested a later takedown, each wrestler appearing to be in danger of losing by fall. Moore eventually did get control earning more than just the takedown. From my vantage point looking right at Pfarr’s shoulder I’m pretty sure he was pinned. The ref, twisting around for the angle was not able to catch it. No matter. The damage was done.
While falls cannot be challenged, the point was moot. Ohio State had exhausted its challenges the night before in the Nickal/Martin match. That appeared to be a problem when a few close calls went against the Buckeyes in the finals.
On the mat next door to Moore/Pfarr was Matt McCutcheon. The PSU wrestler needed a pin to keep mathematical possibility alive for Penn State. But young Kollin Moore didn’t wait. He won the OSU title on his own.
Ohio State number crunchers were fairly confident of an Ohio State win because nearly all had already banked Kyle Snyder’s first place points. From that perspective, most fans had already assumed the team win after Jordan’s win.
Still, Snyder took the mat knowing his team had already won the title. Not that he probably minds. Heavyweight matches are often overlooked for two reasons: outcomes are usually decided by that time and often enough the matches are not all that entertaining. Often, just to keep the excitement of the meet or tourney going, the order is shifted to put the most entertaining match at the end.
That is not the case in the Snyder era. In whatever meet he competes, young Kyle is the sensation. People tend to stay in their seats to watch the Olympic champion put his talent on display. Few wrestlers have done for the sport and the weight class what Kyle Snyder is doing.
No match this weekend was more exciting than Nathan Tomasello’s earlier 133 title bout. Tomasello effectively won the title on a locked hands penalty against Iowa’s Cory Clark. Tomasello surrendered a tying takedown with 15 seconds left. Not to be denied, Tomasello twisted free as time expired. The point stood after a challenge and Nathan Tomasello became the rare Ohio State three time B1G champion.
Luke Pletcher failed in his 141 third place match, but fourth is quite an achievement for the true freshman who was called into emergency service when Ke-Shawn Hayes was injured and out for the year. Luke wrestled a class heavier than his preferred weight. Luke is going to be quite a champion. Like the great Ohio State champions of recent years Pletcher relentless presses the action. He s not afraid of a move failing–which they sometimes did this weekend–but as he grows and learns that confidence with parlay into pressure match winning points.
Micah Jordan and returning NCAA champion Myles Martin came up short in the title bouts. After the greatest win of his collegiate career in the semis versus Brandon Sorenson, Jordan learned he is still no match for Penn State’s Zain Retherford. Retherford was ruthless in his domination. As was true in their first encounter, Jordan held Reterford off for a bit, but then the punishment began and Jordan was dispatched by a tech fall.
Martin also entered the finals after another epic win in a semi-final rematch with the similarly brutal Bo Nickal of Penn State. But when Sammy Brooks hit an early six point move to nearly pin Martin, the match was effectively over. It ended at 12-2.
Kollin Moore won B1G freshman of the year and Tom Ryan won coach of the year.
The legacy of Tom Ryan only grows. No doubt there was still a bitter taste from having to share the title with Iowa in 2015. Now he and his Buckeyes can say they alone are the best. No argument here.