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  • Brandon Dodson

No. 3 Ohio State (8-2) vs. Maryland (2-11) Preview

After a short road trip over the last week, the Buckeyes return to the Covelli Center Friday night to face off against the Maryland Terrapins. The Buckeyes have gone 3-1 in Big Ten action over the last two weeks with their loss coming to No. 1 Iowa, where Ohio State was able to win 3 matches. In their last match, Ohio State Defeated No. 14 Minnesota 22-13 after winning 6/10 matches. Maryland is currently 0-5 in the Big Ten with their two victories coming against Fresno State and Southern Virginia. Ohio State has a big dual against Nebraska on Sunday. Will they be able to stay focused and take care of business Friday night in front of a home crowd? Please read below for match by match previews.


Projected Match-ups:


125 Pounds: Malik Heinselman (9-12, So.) vs Brandon Cray (3-13, r-Jr.)

- In his last match, Heinselman was defeated by the No. 13 125-pounder in the country Patrick Mckee from Minnesota by a 5-1 decision. Heinselman was able to get to Mckee’s legs on multiple occasions but was unable to score takedowns due to Mckee’s superior size and strength. Unfortunately, that has been a reoccurring pattern for Heinselman this season, often giving up back points to stronger opponents. In Maryland’s last dual, Cray was defeated by an unranked Indiana opponent by a 13-4 major decision. I would give the advantage to Heinselman in this match. He has had a tough season but has also faced much stiffer competition. I view this as a match for Heinselman to get back on track, winning by major decision. Heinselman’s victory would make the team score 4-0 OSU.


133 Pounds: No. 21 Jordan Decatur (10-5, Fr.) vs. King Sandoval (9-11, r-Fr.)

- In his last match, Decatur defeated an unranked Minnesota opponent by a 16-6 major decision. Decatur has shown an elite ability to take opponents down early in matches scoring early takedowns on Gross and Desanto. Decatur will need to continue working on his conditioning and bottom defense to become a true threat in this weight class. In Maryland’s last dual, Sandoval was defeated by an unranked Indiana opponent by a 7-1 decision. I would give the advantage to Decatur in this match, winning by major decision. Decatur’s major decision would make the team score 8-0 OSU.


141 Pounds: No. 1 Luke Pletcher (20-0, Sr.) vs. Hunter Baxter (6-14, r-So.)

- In his last match, Pletcher defeated the No. 5 141-pounder in the country Mitch Mckee from Minnesota by a 12-6 decision. Pletcher is now 11-0 versus top-25 opponents this season. In Marylands’s last dual, Baxter was defeated by an unranked Indiana opponent by a 6-4 decision. I would give the advantage to Pletcher in this match, winning by Pin. We have only seen one pin this season at the Covelli Center so I am looking for another one in this match. Pletcher’s pin would make the team score 14-0 OSU.


149 Pounds: No. 2 Sanny Sasso (18-2, r-Fr.) vs. Garrett Burnham (3-4, r-So.) or Ryan Garlitz (3-4, Fr.)

- In his last match, Sasso defeated the No. 4 ranked 149-pounder in the country Brayton Lee from Minnesota by a 4-2 decision. In the match prior to that, Sasso defeated the No. 1 149-pounder in the country Pat Lugo from No. 1 Iowa by a 2-1 decision. Sasso has been on a tear over the last few weeks and appears to be wrestling with great confidence. In Maryland’s last dual, neither Burnham or Garlitz wrestled. Burnham last wrestled in the Patriot Open on December 7th where he went 2-2 failing to make the podium. Burnham also competed in the AU Round Robin on November 9th where he finished in 5th place. I would give the advantage to Sasso in this match, winning by tech fall. Sasso’s victory would make the team score 19-0 OSU.


157 Pounds: Elijah Cleary (13-9, r-Jr.) or Quinn Kinner (9-4, r-Fr.) vs. Lucas Cordio (13-9, r-So.) or Jahi Jones (11-4, r-Sr.)

- In his last match, Cleary was defeated by the No. 21 157-pounder in the country Ryan Thomas from Minnesota by a 3-2 decision. Cleary has shown excellent defense this season but has struggled offensively. In Maryland’s last dual, Jones defeated an unranked Indiana opponent by a 3-2 decision. I think Ryan gives the nod to Kinner in this match. Kinner is a team first guy that decided to make the large jump from 133 pounds to 157 pounds. Kinner last competed in the Purple Raider Open January 19th where he was crowned champion of the 157-pound weight class. I would give the edge to Ohio State in this match regardless of who wrestles. I think OSU wins by decision in this match increasing their lead to 22-0.


165 Pounds: No. 13 Ethan Smith (14-8, r-So.) vs. Kyle Cochran (11-5, r-So.)

- In his last match, Smith defeated an unranked opponent from Minnesota by a 12-4 major decision. In Maryland’s last dual, Cochran defeated an unranked Indiana opponent by a 12-0 major decision. Smith has had a great season despite his record. The 165-pound weight class may be one of the toughest in the Big Ten. I would give the advantage to Smith in this match, winning by major decision. Smith’s victory would make the team score 26-0 OSU.


174 Pounds: No. 7 Kaleb Romero (14-3, r-So.) vs. No. 24 Philip Spadafora (14-9, r-So.)

- In his last match, Romero defeated the No. 7 ranked 174-pounder in the country Davin Skatzka from Minnesota by a 2-1 decision. In Maryland’s last dual, Spadafora defeated an unranked Indiana opponent by an injury default. Spadafora last competed against No. 2 Dylan Lydy of Purdue on January 24th where he was defeated by a 12-4 major decision. I would give the advantage to Romero in this match, winning by decision. Romero’s victory would make the team score 29-0 OSU.


184 Pounds: No. 24 Rocky Jordan (22-6, r-Fr.) vs. Kyle Jasenski (9-11, r-So.)

- In his last match, Jordan was defeated by the No. 18 184-pounder in the country Owen Webster from Minnesota by a 5-4 decision. In Maryland’s last dual, Jasenski was defeated by an unranked Indiana opponent by a 7-2 decision. I would give the advantage to Jordan in this match, winning by major decision. Jordan’s victory would make the team score 33-0 OSU.


197 Pounds: No. 1 Kollin Moore (20-0, r-Sr.) vs. Niko Cappello (4-9, r-Jr.) or Jaron Smith (8-7, r-Jr.)

- In his last match, Moore defeated an unranked Minnesota opponent by a 19-3 tech fall. In Maryland’s last dual, Smith defeated an unranked opponent from Indiana by an 8-3 decision. Capello last competed against Purdue, where he was pinned by the No. 7 197-pounder in the country Christian Brunner. I would give the advantage to Moore in this match, winning by Pin. Moore’s pin would make the team score 39-0 OSU.


HWT: No. 23 Gary Traub (17-5, r-Jr.) vs. Parker Robinson (1-16, r-Fr.)

- In his last match, Traub was defeated by the No. 1 heavy weight in the country Gable Steveson from Minnesota by a 13-2 major decision. In Maryland’s last dual, Robinson was defeated by an unranked Indiana opponent by an 8-3 decision. I would give the edge to Traub in this match, winning by decision. Traub’s victory would make the final team score 42-0 OSU.


We are officially under 50 days from Nationals in Minneapolis and Ohio State is wrestling the best they have all season. Can we continue to improve while staying healthy? I do not know about you but I cannot wait to wrestle someone else other than the studs in the Big Ten.


Written by Brandon Dodson

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Photo Credit given to @wrestlingbucks