The 2014-15 Ohio State wrestling season has been more than a year in the making, ever since the Buckeyes decided to redshirt a handful of wrestlers of all ages last fall knowing what could happen this season. Redshirting a two-time all-American like Hunter Stieber is never an easy call, but it has its benefits once the year of waiting has actually passed.
So it was only fitting that a redshirt freshman trotted out to the mat for Ohio State’s opening match in the first dual meet of the season. Nathan Tomasello, wrestling at 125 pounds, bludgeoned Edilberto Vinas into a 20-5 technical fall to start the night. The rout of Kent State was on.
Nine matches later, the No. 4 Buckeyes closed the book on a 38-3 rout of the Golden Flashes.
Amazingly enough, the Buckeyes did it without two of their better wrestlers. Stieber (149) and redshirt freshman Bo Jordan (165) both sat out with lingering injuries, and Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan described their statuses as “day-to-day” after the win. This is the best roster that Ryan has ever had, and that statement carries some weight considering he piloted the Buckeyes to a pair of NCAA runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009.
“What’s cool about tonight is that you have two starters out – Hunter Stieber, a two-time All-American, and Bo Jordan, who’s itching to get out there – and you have two backups step in,” Ryan said. “One gets a pin and one wrestles a real tough guy and struggles a little bit on bottom. Up and down the lineup, this is the best team that I’ve coached.”
While nine wrestlers won, two stole the show on Thursday night. Three-time national champion Logan Stieber saw another banner unfurled at St. John Arena and then promptly went out and claimed a 15-0 technical fall over Kyle Bauer at 141. It was his first match of the season after he weighed in but wasn’t medically cleared to compete in his scheduled All-Star Classic match on Nov. 1.
“It felt great,” he said. “I haven’t wrestled a competitive match since May, so it’s been a long time. It felt good to go out there and, like coach said, make weight for the first time and wrestle. It felt good. I love St. John Area, so it’s nice to be back.”
And then there was true freshman Kyle Snyder, a three-time high school state champion in Maryland who compiled a 179-0 record as a prep wrestler and won every meaningful tournament at that level before skipping his senior year of high school to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
The Woodbine, Md., native was named a team captain before he wrestled a single match at Ohio State and showed a glimpse of the promise he holds on a night when he made his St. John Arena debut. His 11-6 decision over Cole Baxter at 197 pounds in the penultimate match ensured his collegiate dual meet record got off to a flawless start.
“The walkout was pretty amazing,” Snyder said. “Everybody who set that up did an amazing job. The crowd got really excited throughout each of the matches. With my match, I wish I could have scored a couple more takedowns and a couple more points in the first period.”
Even the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history – who happens to be his teammate – sees unlimited potential in Snyder.
“I think he’s going to win everything,” Logan Stieber said, before adding, “but he can’t win them all today.”
So it goes for 2014-15 Ohio State. The national championship wasn’t won on Thursday, but the Buckeyes showed they’ll be in the conversation once March rolls around.
Ohio State 38, Kent State 3
125 – Nathan Tomasello (OSU) tech. fall Edilberto Vinas, 20-5 (5-0 OSU)
133 – Johnni DiJulius (OSU) dec. Mackenzie McGuire, 2-1 (8-0 OSU)
141 – Logan Stieber (OSU) tech. fall Kyle Bauer, 15-0 (13-0 OSU)
149 – Michael DePalma (KSU) maj. dec. Blake Riley Hawkins, 12-0 (13-4 OSU)
157 – Josh Demas (OSU) inj. def. Ian Miller (19-3 OSU after KSU penalty)
165 – Justin Kresevic (OSU) pinned Tyler Buckwalter in 6:44 (25-3 OSU)
174 – Mark Martin (OSU) dec. Caleb Marsh, 3-1 (28-3 OSU)
184 – Kenny Courts (OSU) maj. dec. Cory Campbell, 17-5 (32-3 OSU)
197 – Kyle Snyder (OSU) dec. Cole Baxter, 11-6 (35-3 OSU)
285 – Nick Tavanello (OSU) TB-1 Mimmo Lytle, 3-3 (38-3 OSU)