Buckeyes Snare the Badgers at Home

By Ron John Rinaldi
Dec. 11, 2018

On a crisp Midwest Sunday afternoon, thousands of wrestling fans from central Ohio gathered in the St. John’s Arena, to watch the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes take on the #19 Wisconsin Badgers. The Buckeyes are coming off their 3rd Straight Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational title this year. Myles Martin of Ohio State was named the tournament Outstanding Wrestler out in LV and then followed it up the next week, as Big10 wrestler of the week! As for Wisconsin, the Badgers have the better of the matchups historically, out winning 29 out of the 51 matchups in the all-time series among the two Big10 wrestling powerhouses. A new head coach is at the helm for Wisconsin, replacing 25-year head coach Barry Davis-a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Olympic silver medalist as a wrestler, Chris Bono takes control coming from previously South Dakota State University and Chattanooga years earlier on, bringing along Jon Reader and including Matt McDonough to the staff, who is joining the Badger staff from Hawkeye Wrestling Club. The new gang has a chip on their shoulder, holding a 6-0 dual record coming into Columbus.

Prior to the first whistle, the 2018 BIG10 Championship banner was revealed from the St. John’s Arena rafters, rewarded to the Buckeye wrestlers!

The dual began with the straw weights as Columbus local from Olentangy Liberty, Sophomore Braken Mead, faced South Dakota State Transfer, #20 ranked Connor Brown. Mead struck first at the edge of the mat to rack up 2-points with the backing from the energy of the crowd. Brown then escaped and earned a takedown before the end of the first. Brown eventually caught stride racking up several takedowns, securing the win to open up the dual with the Badgers on the board first.

Next at 133, #7 Pletcher battled with veteran Jens Lantz, a top 8 placer at Universities, to edge out a 4-0 matchup, to knot the dual at 3-3.

Senior Captain, Joey McKenna kicked the home squad into high gear with a dominating 14-2 major decision against #12 ranked Tristan Moran. On his way to a techinical fall, McKenna just fell short of time on the clock.

Following the major at 141lbs, Micah Jordan came out for the Buckeyes for the first time in a while as a 149 pounder to face off #18 ranked Cole Martin, who went the whole bout without showing one sign of offense. Jordan stalked Martin, attacking left and right to grab a major and additional bonus points for the Bucks.

[Photo By: Ron John Rinaldi]

At 157, Zander Wick for Wisconsin centered up to scrap #9 KeShawn Hayes, instead replacement, Elijah Clearly stepped in respectably for the named starter Hayes. Cleary had the chance to be a hero, down by one and needing a takedown, yet Wick One held off the charge.

Wick Two ranked at #2 in the country for the Badgers faced off against Ryan Ferrao, who is another fill-in for the Buckeyes and wrestling his first career dual appearance in the Scarlet and Grey fell short of the returning All-American Wick, decreasing the deficit for the Wisconsin heading into the final four matches. Wick nearly had Ferrao stuck in a cradle but the curly headed Buckeye busts out to avoid to fall.

Dual Score 11-6 Ohio State @ Intermission

Coach Ryan stated, “when the door opens, you have to be ready to bust through”, and Ethan Smith did just that, as he pulled of a wild 10-9 win against a ranked opponent. La Trobe, PA native, Smith ignited the crowd upsetting top-10 ranked redshirt senior, Christensen.

*Ohio State deducted one team point because of unsportsmanlike conduct (bench) during 174-lbs bout*

Captains took control to close the match out in the Buckeyes favor, as Myles Martin snagged misdirection shots back and forth off Mason Reinhardt to secure a 21-8 Major decision and Kollin Moore followed up his teammates triumph with a 2 min PIN to seal the match for the Ohio State Buckeyes!

Concluding the match battled the big boys, as two, top 15-ranked redshirt freshmen squared up, and the bout ending with the traveling #9 ranked Trent Hillger defeating Blair boy Chase Singletary, to pick up his 3rd win against ranked wrestlers and to remain undefeated on the season. Singletary seems to be competing out of the wrestling shape he is used to, moreover lets see the adjustments he will make to adapt to the weight class for the remainder of the season.

The Buckeyes showed mixed feelings to fans as some guys are riding on the coat-tails of the Fab-5 in the lineup.

We need everyone to start stepping up. Our guys have great lives. We need to sacrifice and suffer as a group more to get tougher. Tonight was a great performance, but we need to get better. -Coach Tom Ryan

No. 2 Ohio State will be off for almost a month, and it will play host at St. John Arena in Columbus against North Carolina State on January 6.

As for Bono and his Badgers,

I’m proud of our first semester, the way we’ve come, the way we’ve built this program,” Bono said. “We’ve been sky high all semester and this was our first setback. I’m very excited to see how we come back after the break and compete. Tough night tonight, but these guys are winners and they’re going to return, and we’ll be ready to roll!

Next up, the Badgers will be competing against a lot of high-quality opponents at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30.

No. 2 Ohio State 23, No. 19 Wisconsin 13
125 lbs | No. 20 Connor Brown (Wisconsin) def. Brakan Mead (Ohio State) | D, 7-2; Team Score: 0-3
133 lbs | No. 7 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) def. Jens Lantz (Wisconsin) | D, 4-0; TS: 3-3
141 lbs | No. 2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State) def. No. 12 Tristan Moran (Wisconsin) | MD, 14-2; TS: 7-3
149 lbs | No. 3 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) def. No. 18 Cole Martin (Wisconsin) | MD, 14-4; TS: 11-3
157 lbs | Zander Wick (Wisconsin) def. Elijah Cleary (Ohio State) | D, 7-3; TS: 11-6
165 lbs | No. 2 Evan Wick (Wisconsin) def. Ryan Ferro (Ohio State) | MD, 13-1; TS: 11-10
*Ohio State deducted one team point because of unsportsmanlike conduct (bench) during 174-lbs bout
174 lbs | Ethan Smith (Ohio State) def. No. 9 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) | D, 10-9; TS: 13-10
184 lbs | No. 1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) def. Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin) | MD, 21-8; TS: 17-10
197 lbs | No. 3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) def. Andrew Salemme (Wisconsin) | PIN, 2:04; TS: 23-10
285 lbs | No. 9 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) def. No. 14 Chase Singletary (Ohio State) | D, 6-1; TS: 23-13