• Brandon Dodson

No. 7 Ohio State (3-1) vs. No. 4 Arizona State (5-0) Preview

Updated: Jan 5

After nearly a month off the Ohio State Buckeyes return to the Covelli Center Monday, January 6th to face the undefeated Sun Devils. Both teams last competed in the Cliff Keen Invitational December 6th-7th. The Buckeyes finished in second place with two individual champions and the Sun Devils finished in third place with one individual champion. The Sun Devils have looked impressive this season defeating a very tough Purdue squad and a perennial power in Penn State. They also have convincing victories over Virginia, Augustana, and Mckendree. The Sun Devils also competed in the Journeymen Collegiate Classic on November 10th where they had 3 individual champions.


Probable Match-ups:


125 Pounds: Malik Heinselman (9-7, So.) vs. No. 15 Brandon Courtney (12-4, r-So.)

- In his last dual, Heinselman defeated an unranked opponent from Cornell by an 8-4 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, he lost in the first round to No. 1 Jack Mueller from Virginia then went on to win 3 matches in the consolation bracket before to losing to Joey Prata from Virginia Tech. In his last dual against Penn State, Courtney defeated Brody Teske by a 19-7 major decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Courtney made it to the quarterfinals before being pinned by a Purdue wrestler. Courtney then went to the consolation bracket where he lost in the 5th place match finishing in 6th place. I would give the edge to Courtney in this match winning by major decision making the team score 4-0 ASU.


133 Pounds: Jordan Decatur (4-1, Fr.) or Dylan Koontz (8-8, So.) vs. No. 15 Josh Kramer (7-4, r-Sr.)

- Decatur is a true freshman and was one of the highest rated recruits in the 2019 class for the Buckeyes. Decatur is a two time Who’s Number One event winner, four-time Ironman placer, three-time Fargo freestyle champion, and 2018 Cadet World Team member. Decatur has yet to wrestle in the starting lineup for the Buckeyes due to some reported weight management concerns. Decatur wrestled in the 141-pound weight class at the Cleveland State Open where he finished in 3rd place. Dylan Koontz last competed at the Cliff Keen Invitational where he went 3-3 finishing in 6th place. In his last dual against Penn State, Kramer was defeated by the No. 3 133-pounder in the country by a 7-6 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Kramer was defeated by Koontz in the round of 32 by an 8-6 decision. He then injury defaulted from the tournament.


Coach Ryan officially pulled Decatur’s redshirt Saturday January 4th at the F&M Open where he won the 133 pound weight class. Coach Ryan is attempting to get Decatur the 15 matches needed to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. Decatur is an elite wrestler that has a tremendous training partner in Nathan Tomasello. I say Decatur gets a ranked victory winning by decision making the team score 4-3 ASU.


141 Pounds: No. 1 Luke Pletcher (14-0, Sr.) vs. Cory Crooks (2-3, r-Jr.) or Navonte Demison (2-6, r-So.)

- In his last dual, Pletcher defeated an unranked Cornell opponent by an 8-6 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Pletcher went 5-0 defeating 3 ranked opponents on his way to being crowned champion at 141 pounds. In their last dual against Penn State, Crooks was defeated by No. 3 Nick Lee by an 18-3 tech fall in the second period. Demison wrestled for ASU at the Cliff Keen going 0-2. I would give the advantage to Pletcher in this match winning by tech fall. This would make the team score 8-4 OSU.


149 Pounds: No. 6 Sammy Sasso (12-2, r-Fr.) vs. No. 25 Josh Maruca (7-6, r-Sr.) or Dillon Ulrey (2-0, Sr.)

- In his last dual, Sasso defeated an unranked Cornell opponent by a 12-9 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Sasso defeated three ranked opponents before losing in the finals by a 6-4 decision to No. 12 Brayton Lee from Minnesota. In their last dual against Penn State, Maruca defeated Josh Vanderkleeren by a 5-4 decision. Maruca also competed at the Cliff Keen Invitational where he went 3-2. I would give the edge to Sasso in this match. Sasso has been hard to predict this season but I say he wins by major decision. This would make the team score 12-4 OSU.


157 Pounds: Elijah Cleary (11-5, r-Jr.) vs. Jacori Teemer (4-4, r-Fr.)

- In his last dual, Cleary was defeated by an unranked Cornell opponent by a 3-2 decision in overtime. Cleary did not wrestle at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Jaden Mattox wrestled for the Buckeyes at the Cliff Keen Invitational but he has since posted on social media he intends to transfer from Ohio State. In their dual against Penn State, Teemer defeated unranked Bo Pipher by a 9-4 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Teemer won two matches before losing in the quarterfinals. Teemer then lost in the 7th place match finishing in 8th place. I would give the edge to Cleary in this match due to his defense. Cleary wins by decision making the score 15-4 OSU.


165 Pounds: No. 13 Ethan Smith (11-5, r-So.) vs. No. 5 Josh Shields (10-3, r-Sr.)

- In his last dual, Smith defeated an unranked Cornell opponent by a 12-4 major decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Smith defeated three opponents before losing to No. 4 Isaiah White from Nebraska in the quarterfinals. Smith fought his way back through the wrestle backs and ended up finishing in fourth place. In their last dual against Penn State, Shields was defeated by No. 1 Vincinzo Joseph by a 7-4 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Shields finished second losing to No. 4 Isaiah White of Nebraska in the finals. I think this is going to be a very close match but I would give the edge to Shields, winning by decision. This would make the team score 15-7 OSU.


174 Pounds: No. 9 Kaleb Romero (9-2, r-So.) vs. Anthony Valencia (10-4, r-Jr.)

- In his last dual, Romero defeated No. 11 Brandon Womack by a 6-5 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Romero lost in the quarterfinals by a 2-1 decision to No. 5 Mikey Labriola from Nebraska. In their last dual against Penn State, Valencia was defeated by No. 1 Mark Hall by a 11-3 major decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Valencia went 4-2 finishing in fifth place. I would give the edge to Romero in this match. Romero wins by decision making the team score 18-7 OSU.


184 Pounds: Gavin Hoffman (10-6, r-Fr.) vs. No. 1 Zahid Valencia (13-0, r-Jr.)

- In his last dual, Hoffman was defeated by No. 4 Ben Darmstadt from Cornell by a 5-0 decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Hoffman went 2-2. In their last dual against Penn State, Valencia won by forfeit. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Valencia won his third individual title. I would give the edge to Valencia in this match, winning by tech fall. This would make the team score 18-12 OSU.


197 Pounds: No. 1 Kollin Moore (14-0, r-Sr.) vs. No. 12 Kordell Norfleet (2-2, Jr.)

- In his last dual, Moore defeated an unranked Cornell opponent by a 18-6 major decision. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Moore was crowned champion going 5-0, with a pin, two tech falls, and a major decision. Moore faced Norfleet in the quarterfinals where he won by a 5-3 decision. In their last dual against Penn State, Norfleet defeated Kyle Conel by a 10-4 decision. Norfleet went 2-1 at the Cliff Keen Invitational. I would give the edge to Moore in this match winning by major decision making the team score 22-12 OSU.


HWT: Gary Traub (15-1, r-Jr.) vs. No. 6 Tanner Hall (10-3, r-Sr.)

- In his last match, Traub (Gas Tank Gary) defeated an unranked Cornell opponent by a 4-3 decision. In their last dual against Penn State, Hall was defeated by No. 1 Anthony Cassar by a 9-5 decision. Hall went 4-1 at the Cliff Keen Invitational finishing in second place. I would give the edge to Hall in this match winning by major decision. This would make the team score 22-16 OSU.



Written by Brandon Dodson

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