No. 9 Ohio State Clips No. 11 Illinois, 18-16, with Win in Final Match
Jan. 12, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio– Trailing No. 11 Illinois, 16-15, heading into the final match, the No. 9 Ohio State wrestling team got the 3-1 win it needed from heavyweight Nick Tavanello to secure its first Big Ten Conference win of the season in Champaign, Ill. Tavanello, a redshirt-freshman, scored a takedown in sudden victory vs. Chris Lopez to lift the Buckeyes (6-2; 1-2 Big Ten) over the Illini (6-3; 0-2 Big Ten), 18-16, Sunday afternoon in Huff Hall.
Down 7-0 early in the match, Ohio State owned the lead only once throughout the afternoon before the final score. After redshirt-junior and No. 3 Logan Stieber put the Buckeyes on the board in the 141-pound match with his 2:02 pin over Dominic Olivieri, senior Ian Paddock followed with a 10-4 win vs. No. 16 Caleb Ervin at 149 pounds to give the Scarlet and Gray their first lead (9-7) of the afternoon.
The Ohio State lead was brief as Illinois won three consecutive matches via decision between 157-174 pounds to take a 16-9 advantage. However, all three matches were close affairs with Buckeyes Randy Languis, Joe Grandominico and Mark Martin losing by a combined score of 16-10. Facing No. 15 Zac Brunson at 157 pounds, Languis dropped a 4-2 decision, while Grandominico lost a 5-2 decision to No. 12 Jackson Morse in the 165-pound match-up. It took an extra two minutes before Martin’s match against Tony Dallago was decided and it was after the first tiebreaker the score was 7-6 in Dallago’s favor.
The Buckeyes answered with three consecutive wins of their own, including Tavanello’s match winner. Redshirt-sophomore and No. 7 Kenny Courts began the run with an 8-1 victory vs. Nikko Reyes at 184 pounds. Down, 16-12, entering the 197-pound bout, senior Nick Heflin, ranked No. 4, faced Jeffrey Koepke and was a 2-1 victor, setting up the heavyweight match between Tavanello and Lopez.
Up next, Ohio State will wrestle No. 16 Northwestern at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Cincinnati Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ohio State’s allotment of tickets is sold out. The Buckeyes will return to St. John Arena Jan. 24 for a 7 p.m. match vs. No. 8 Nebraska. The match vs. the Cornhuskers will be streamed live on BTN.com.