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  • Brandon Dodson

The Buckeyes outduel the Fighting Illini

The Buckeyes returned to the Covelli Center on Sunday afternoon to face off against the Fighting Illini. Prior to this dual, Illinois was 4-2 on the year with wins over UT-Chattanooga, No. 13 Missouri, Northern Illinois, and Indiana. Illinois also lost a very close dual to Penn State 22-16 on January 10th. The Buckeyes dropped the first two matches of the dual but rattled off 8 straight victories to defeat Illinois 28-6 to improve their record to 7-1. Please read below for match by match details.


At 125 pounds, Ohio State’s Malik Heinselman, a Sophomore came into the match with a 9-10 record. Heinselman’s opponent, Justin Cardani, a redshirt Freshman and the No. 24 125-pounder in the country came into the match with a 9-5 record. Heinselman got the first takedown of the match but gave up a quick reversal. Heinselman was then able to escape making the score 3-2 Heinselman to end the first period. Cardani chose to go down to start the second period and quickly escaped tying the match 3-3. Heinselman was able to get to Cardani’s leg for another takedown and accrue over one minute of riding time before Cardani escaped making the score 5-4 Heinselman to end the second period. Heinselman chose to go down to start the third period and was able to escape increasing his lead to 6-4. Cardani was able to get a late takedown tying the match 6-6 sending the match to sudden victory. Cardani was able to get a takedown in sudden victory winning the match in a 8-6 decision. Cardani’s victory made the team score 3-0 Illinois.


At 133 pounds, Ohio State’s Jordan Decatur, a freshman and the No. 20 133 pounder in the country came into the match with a 9-3 record. Decatur’s opponent, Travis Piotrowski, a Senior and the No. 8 133-pounder in the country came into the match with a 15-2 record. Piotrowski got the only takedown in the first period making the score 2-0. Piotrowski chose to go down to start the second period and quickly escaped increasing his lead to 3-0. Decatur was able to get to Piotrowski’s leg securing a takedown but Piotrowski got a quick reversal making the score 5-2 to end the second period. Decatur chose to go down in the third period and was unable to get an escape making the final score a 6-2 decision for Piotrowski. Piotrowski’s victory made the team score 6-0 Illinois.


At 141 pounds, Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher, a Senior and the No. 1 141-pounder in the country came into the match with a 17-0 record. Pletcher’s opponent, Dylan Duncan, a redshirt Junior and the No. 12 141-pounder in the country came into the match with a 12-5 record. Pletcher was able to get two takedowns in the first period despite Duncan trying his best to avoid Pletcher’s attacks making the score 4-2. Duncan chose to go down in the second period and was able to escape making the score 4-3. Pletcher was able to get two more takedowns to end the second period with an 8-4 lead. Pletcher chose to go down to start the third period and was able to quickly escape increasing his lead to 9-4. Duncan was then called for his second stalling of the match, making the score 10-4. Pletcher was able to secure one more takedown but was unable to ride Duncan out so the match ended in a 12-5 decision. Pletcher’s victory made the team score 6-3 Illinois. This victory was also Pletcher’s 100th victory as a Buckeye.


At 149 pounds, Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso, a redshirt Freshman and the No. 6 149-pounder in the country came into the match with a 15-2 record. Sasso’s opponent, Mousa Jodeh, a redshirt Senior came into the match with a 2-8 record. Sasso scored the only two takedowns of the first period making the score 4-1. Sasso chose to go down to start the second period and was able to quickly escape increasing his lead to 5-1. Sasso scored one more takedown in the second period increasing his lead to 7-1 and having over 2.5 minutes of riding time. Jodeh chose to go down to start the third period and Sasso chose an optional start making the score 7-2. Sasso got back to his offense with another takedown making the score 9-2. Jodeh was then called for his second stalling increasing Sasso’s lead to 10-2. Jodeh was then able to escape making the score 10-3 but Sasso quickly attacked securing the final takedown of the match. Sasso’s 13-3 major decision made the team score 7-6 OSU.


At 157 pounds, Ohio State’s Elijah Cleary, a redshirt Junior came into the match with a 12-7 record. Cleary’s opponent, Eric Barone, a redshirt Senior and the No. 22 157-pounder in the country came into the match with an 8-7 record. Cleary was able to secure the only takedown of the first period making the score 2-1. Barone chose to go down to start the second period quickly escaped, tying the match 2-2 at the end of the second period. Cleary chose to go down to start the third period. Barone was able to turn Cleary for what appeared to be 2 nearfall points but it was reviewed and no points were rewarded. Barone was then called for his second stalling making the score 3-2 Cleary. Barone was able to ride Cleary out tying the match at 3-3 due to riding time. The match then went into sudden victory. A minute was placed on the clock and wrestlers started in neutral position. Neither wrestler was able to score in this period so the match went into the second over time. Cleary chose to go down with thirty seconds on the clock and was able to escape making the score 4-3. The match then went into the third overtime and Barone chose to go down. Cleary was called for a stalling but was able to ride Barone out wining the match in a 4-3 decision. Cleary’s victory made the team score 10-6 OSU.


At 165 pounds, Ohio State’s Ethan Smith, a redshirt Sophomore and the No. 12 165-pounder in the country came into the match with a 12-7 record. Smith’s opponent, Danny Braunagel, a redshirt Freshman and the No. 14 165-pounder in the country came into the match with a 15-4 record. There was very little action in the first period ending 0-0. Braunagel chose to go down to start the second period and was able to escape making the score 1-0 to end the second period. Smith chose to go down to start the third period and was able to quickly escape tying the match 1-1. Smith was able to break through Braunagel’s defense late in the match with a takedown, winning the match in a 3-1 decision. Smith’s victory made the team score 13- 6 OSU.


At 174 pounds, Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero, a redshirt Sophomore and the No. 8 174-pounder in the country came into the match with a 12-2 record. Romero’s opponent, Joey Gunther, a redshirt Senior and the No. 16 174 pounder in the country came into the match with an 11-3 record. Romero was able to secure two takedowns in the first period making the score 4-2. Gunther was then called for two stallings increasing Romero’s lead to 5-2 after the first period. Gunther chose to go down to start the second period and was able to escape making the score 5-3 to end the second period. Romero chose to go down to start the third period and quickly escaped increasing his lead to 6-3. Gunther was unable to get a late takedown ending the match in a 6-3 decision for Romero. Romero’s victory made the team score 16-6 OSU.


At 184 pounds, Ohio State’s Rocky Jordan, a redshirt Freshman came into the match with a 21-4 record. Jordan’s opponent, Zac Braunagel, a redshirt Freshman and the No. 11 184-pounder in the country came into the match with a 13-5 record. Jordan scored the first takedown of the match making the score 2-0. Jordan accrued over 1.5 minutes of riding time before Braunagel escaped making the score 2-1. Jordan got back to his offense and scored a late takedown ending the first period with a 4-1 lead. Braunagel chose to go down to start the second period quickly escaping making the score 4-2. Braunagel was able to get to Jordan’s legs tying the match 4-4. Jordan quickly escaped, ending the second period with a 5-4 lead. Jordan chose to go down to start the third period and Braunagel chose an optional start making the score 6-4 Jordan. Braunagel was unable to break through Jordan’s defense ending the match in a 6-4 decision for Jordan. Jordan’s victory made the team score 19-6 OSU.


At 197 pounds, Ohio State’s Kollin Moore, a redshirt Senior and the No. 1 197-pounder in the country came into the match with a 17-0 record. Moore’s opponent, Matt Wroblewski, a redshirt Sophomore came into the match with a 7-8 record. Moore scored the only two takedowns of the first period ending the period with a 4-1 lead. Wroblewski chose to go down to start the second period quickly escaping making the score 4-2. Moore score two more takedowns increasing his lead to 8-3. Wroblewski was then called for his second stalling increasing Moore’s lead to 9-3. Moore was then able to secure both of Wroblewski’s arms and turn him for a pin. Moore’s victory made the team score 25-6 OSU.


At heavy weight, Ohio State’s Gary Traub, a redshirt Junior, came into the match with a 16-3 record. Traub’s opponent, Luke Luffman, a Freshman came into the match with an 11-4 record. Traub scored the only two takedowns in the first period making the score 4-2 after one. Luffman chose to go down to start the second period, Traub accrued one minute of riding time before Luffman escaped making the score 4-3. Traub got one more takedown before the period ended making the score 6-3 after two periods. Traub chose to go neutral to start the third period. Luffman was unable to break through Traub’s defense but Traub was able to score two more takedowns ending the match in an 11-6 decision for Traub. Traub’s victory made the final team score 28-6 OSU.


As Ohio State moves into the meat of their schedule it appears the lineup may still be unsettled. Rocky appears to have taken over the 184-pound spot and Cleary is starting to show promise at 157 pounds. My largest concern in this lineup is at 125-pounds. At this point, I am not sure Heinselman will qualify to wrestle in Minneapolis.


Written By: Brandon Dodson

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Photo Credit given to @wrestlingbucks