• Brandon Dodson

Ohio State Wrestling Lineup Prediction

The last 9 months has been a very trying time for everyone in this country. We have all sought out some sense of normalcy amongst all the chaos. Sports has been able to provide a small reprieve the last few months.

As Buckeye Nation prepares for the National Championship game, I find myself looking forward to wrestling. This season may look different, but as of now our Wrestling Bucks are slated to start their season on January 17th when they travel to Champaign, Illinois for a tri-meet against Illinois and Wisconsin. What will the lineup look like this season for Tom Ryan and the Ohio State Buckeyes?

Ohio State will also have many redshirt freshmen vying for spots in the lineup. Dylan D’Emilio battled through injuries last season but managed to go 6-2 on the season. D’Emilio went to Genoa High School where he was a four-time Ohio high school state champion (D-III) with a 208-6 high school record. Carson Kharchla wrestled unattached at 165- and 174-pounds last season. He went 16-0 with titles at the Michigan State Open, Ohio Intercollegiate Open, Storm Open, and Purple Raider Open. Prior to Ohio State, Kharchla went to Olentangy Liberty High School where he was a back to back state champion (D-I) with a 101-4 high school record.

125 Pounds

- In my opinion Ohio State has two viable options at 125 pounds for this season; Malik Heinselman and Dylan Koontz. I do have reservations as to whether Koontz can make 125 again but for the sake of argument, Koontz went 12-9 last season and made two dual starts. He was crowned champion at both the Storm Open (133 lbs) and Edinboro Open (125 lbs), he was also Ohio State’s 133-pound representative in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational placing sixth. Heinselman went 18-15 last season. He finished the season strong with back to back top 20 victories at the Big Ten Championships. Heinselman has a lot of offense but needs to spend the offseason working on his strength and nutrition. At the end of the day, I believe that Heinselman will continue to develop and keep his spot at 125.

133 Pounds:

- If my hunch is correct, I believe this battle will be between Dylan Koontz and Jordan Decatur. Decatur went 14-10 last season failing to qualify for Nationals. Decatur struggled adjusting to his new weight class last season but showed flashes of excellence. If Decatur is able to maintain his weight, I believe he will be the 133 pounder for Ohio State.

141 Pounds:

- Barring weight issues this may be the easiest weight to predict. Anthony Echmendia joined the team last spring. I wrote an article about Echemendia earlier this year but here is a quick recap. He is from Cuba where he won a record 6 Cuban National Championships at the Cadet and Junior levels. In 2018, Echemendia defected from Cuba while at a training camp in Guatemala. In late 2018, he moved to the United States to live with his uncle who enrolled him into Sunnyside High School located in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to attending school in the United States, Echemendia did not wrestle folk style but won the Arizona State title in the 152-pound weight class with a 22-0 record. Afterwards, he traveled to the USMC Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota and won both Greco and freestyle in the 145-pound weight class. If Echemendia does not make 141 pounds, then that could shake up the entire lineup because he is too good to not be in the lineup immediately.

149 Pounds:

- Unless Echemendia struggles to make 141 pounds I only see one option here and that is Sammy Sasso. Sasso went 24-3 last season and was runner up at the Big Ten Championships. Sasso also earned the number 3 seed for Nationals prior to it being cancelled. If Echemendia struggles to make 141 pounds that could mean Echemendia moves up to the 149- or 157-pound weight class. This would leave the 141-pound weight class open for Dylan D’Emilio or possibly Jordan Decatur is he struggles making weight at 133.

157 Pounds:

- The 157-pound weight class was one of two weight classes that failed to qualify for Nationals last season. I believed this weight class was going to come down to Quinn Kinner and Elijah Cleary. Cleary went 18-12 last season and Kinner went 22-8 while wrestling matches at both 133 pounds and 157 pounds. Kinner had 6 pins in limited action which tied for the team lead. Kinner has decided to take the semester off so I believe this weight will go to Cleary unless a freshman like Isaac Wilcox or Bryce Hepner can take over.

165 Pounds:

- This is the point where predicting becomes very hard because there is going to be at least one great young man left out. I think this weight will come down to Carson Kharchla and Ethan Smith. Smith went 19-13 last season in a very tough weight class receiving the 12 seed for the National Tournament. Smith also received the “Black Shirt” last season which is rewarded to wrestlers who are leaders on and off the mat. As mentioned above Kharchla went 16-0 last season wrestling unattached. This offseason, Kharchla has represented Ohio RTC multiple times racking up impressive wins against National Champion Mekhi Lewis 9-2 and Jevon Balfour from Spartan Combat RTC 6-0.

I think Kharchla takes this weight class and is a National Title threat.

174 Pounds:

- I think whoever does not get the nod at 165 pounds will compete for the 174-pound weight class. Romero is the returning starter at 174 pounds where he went 19-7 last season receiving the 6 seed for the National tournament. I believe if the battle is between Smith and Romero, Romero wins. If it is between Kharchla and Romero, I believe Kharchla wins. Kharchla is an elite wrestler and has to be in the lineup.

184 Pounds:

- If Romero does not win the 174-pound weight class I believe he will move up to compete for the 184-pound weight class. Rocky Jordan is the returning starter at 184 pounds. He went 29-9 last season with 3 wins over top 20 opponents after bumping up from 174 pounds mid-season. Jordan secured the 14 seed for the National tournament. Jordan missed the entire 2018-2019 season due to injury and was unable to really train last offseason. I believe Jordan will take a major leap this coming season and ultimately win this weight class.

197 Pounds:

- This weight class could also go multiple ways, but I believe it is Chase Singletary’s weight if he is healthy and can maintain the weight. I believe Singletary at 197 pounds would make the best lineup but if he cannot or does not make the cut then it would go to Gavin Hoffman, Tyler Stein or maybe whoever does not fill the 184-pound weight class.

Heavy Weight:

- This is another crowded weight for Ohio State. They have Gas Tank Gary Traub, Nicholas Boykin, and Tate Orndorff (transfer). If the lineup goes the way I think it will come down to Traub and Orndorff. Traub stepped into the lineup last season when Singletary was injured early in the season. Traub went 23-9 last season and received the 19 seed for the National Tournament. Tate Orndorff is a redshirt Junior that transferred from Utah Valley University in the offseason. In the 2019-2020 season, he went 18-4 and finished as the No. 11 ranked heavyweight in the country. I think Orndorff wins this weight.

Ohio State looks very young and talented for this season but Coach Ryan will have to make many tough decisions in regards to the lineup. No matter what happens Tom Ryan has a room full of great young men that will succeed on an off the mat.

Written by Brandon Dodson

Follow on Twitter @recruitingbucks

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