Heflin, Stieber Will Vie for NCAA Titles Saturday
March 22, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Nick Heflin and Logan Stieber, members of the Ohio State wrestling team, will vie for NCAA titles Saturday night after winning their 197 and 141-pound semifinal matches, respectively, Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. Heflin, a two-time All-American, will make his first appearance in an NCAA final. Stieber, who won back-to-back NCAA titles at 133 pounds in 2012 and 2013, will seek to become Ohio State's first three-time national champion.
Already 2014 All-Americans, Heflin and Stieber join select Buckeye company as three-time Buckeye All-Americans. The Ohio State pair join six other Buckeyes in the elite group - Adam DiSabato (1990, 91, 93), Kevin Randleman (1991-93), Robert Sessley (1999, 01, 02), J.D. Bergman (2004, 07, 08), J Jaggers (2007-09) and Mike Pucillo (2008-09)
The finals of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will air live on ESPN starting at 8 p.m. ET. The finals also will be streamed at www.espn3.com.
As a team, the Buckeyes moved up to fifth place with 52 points. Penn State continues to lead the field with 91 points. Minnesota is in second place with 90.5 points, while Oklahoma State rounds out the Top 3 (87.5 points).
Stieber, a redshirt-junior from Monroeville, Ohio, secured his place in the 141-pound final first after posting a 7-3 victory over Penn State's and No. 3 seed Zain Retherford. The Buckeye jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first period behind a pair of takedowns. Stieber, the No. 2 seed, then extended his advantage with a takedown with 45 seconds left in the second before adding one final point on riding time.
"I just kind of wrestled my match better," Stieber said of this match vs. past matches vs. Retherford. "I controlled the pace of the takedowns, rode him when I needed to ride him. He got on a single leg, like he did the first match and I fought it off. So that was probably the big difference."
Stieber will face No. 4 seed Devin Carter of Virginia Tech in the final. Carter enters the match with an 18-0 record and Stieber is 29-1 overall.
Heflin's semifinal match vs. Minnesota's and No. 4 seed Scott Schiller was a dramatic affair that extended into a 2-1 tiebreaker win. Heflin, the No. 1 seed, wrestled Schiller to a scoreless first half before escaping in the second period after choosing bottom to open the stanza. Schiller answered with an escape of his own to eventually send the match into sudden victory. After a flurry of scrambles towards the end of the extra period, both wrestlers matched-up for a pair of 30-second tiebreakers. Schiller began the first 30 seconds on bottom and despite continued attempts to escape, Heflin held on for the shutout. In the next 30 seconds, Heflin managed to escape Schiller as the seconds ticked off the clock and secure his bid for an NCAA title.
"I could sit here and tell you it was fight, it was heart," Heflin said of his match vs. Schiller. "I'd be lying to you because I guarantee if you put that kid up here he would say I wanted it just as bad, fought just as hard. I'm just fortunate I came out on top and thank Christ for this opportunity to be there."
Heflin will enter his final match of his Buckeye career vs. No. 2 seed J'Den Cox of Missouri with a 28-1 record. Cox is 37-2.
A pair of Buckeyes in Kenny Courts (184 pounds) and Nick Tavanello (HWT) were eliminated from competition after suffering losses in their opening Friday night matches. Courts lost to Ophir Bernstein of Brown, 9-4, while Tavanello dropped a 10-2 major decision to No. 7 Mike McClure of Michigan State.
2014 Division I Wrestling NCAA Championships
Team Scores Pl. Team Score