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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 96th season of Ohio State wrestling begins on Saturday at two sites separated by approximately 160 miles. The Buckeyes, a consensus top-five team in every preseason poll, will send the majority of its squad to the annual Eastern Michigan Open in Ypsilanti, Mich. In the evening, reigning national champion Myles Martin begins his quest for a second title when he squares off with Cornell's Gabe Dean in the 184 lb. match of the NWCA All-Star Classic in Cleveland.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Three returnees who have won national championships and six NCAA qualifiers from last season headline the Buckeyes' 2016-17 roster.
Of the 86 points scored at last year's NCAA Championships, 83 returns in 2016-17: Nathan Tomasello (17 pts.), Micah Jordan (4 pts.), Bo Jordan (16.5 pts.), Martin (21 pts.) and Kyle Snyder (24.5 pts.).
Ohio State is ranked in the top five in the FloWrestling Tournament rankings (No. 2), InterMat Tournament Power Index (No. 3) and InterMat Dual Power Index (No. 5).
For the first time in the history of NCAA wrestling, an Olympic gold medalist will return to compete collegiately. Junior Kyle Snyder became the youngest Olympic wrestling champion this past August and will headline a Buckeye lineup that features four wrestlers in the top 15 of FloWrestling's Pound for Pound rankings.
Head coach Tom Ryan begins his 11th season guiding the Scarlet and Gray. A three-time national coach of the year, Ryan is 124-45 since arriving in Columbus from Hofstra University.
Two new faces will be on the sidelines for Ohio State this winter - assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev, who has trained in Columbus with the renowned Ohio RTC for eight years and is a two-time Olympian, and volunteer assistant coach Anthony Ralph, one of the architects behind the successful Notre Dame College program.
Eight members of Ohio State's projected starting lineup are ranked by FloWrestling, InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News.
The Buckeyes have a participant in the NWCA All-Star Classic for the fourth consecutive season.
Over the course of the NWCA All-Star Classic, Ohio State has been represented 20 times, most recently by 2015 NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello.
Buckeye wrestlers have gone a combined 10-9 and the first Ohio State wrestler to compete in the event was current Notre Dame College head coach Frank Romano, who wrestled at 118 pounds in 1970.
LAST YEAR AT EASTERN MICHIGAN
Seven Buckeyes were crowned champions, three finished in second place, one was a third-place finisher and one came in fifth at last year's season-opening Eastern Michigan Open.
Champions: DiJulius (133), M. Jordan (141), Burcher (149), Ryan (157), My. Martin (174), M. Martin (197), Tavanello (285).
Second Place: Hayes (141), Haines (285), Moore (197).
Third Place: Courts (184)
Fifth Place: O'Hara (197)
Buckeye vs. Buckeye finals: 141 lbs., 285 lbs., 197 lbs.
|N. Tomasello||133 lbs.||#2||#3||#2||#3|
|K. Hayes||141 lbs.||#14||#13||#12||#15|
|M. Jordan||149 lbs.||#6||#8||#9||#10|
|J. Ryan||157 lbs.||#10||#8||#11||#13|
|B. Jordan||174 lbs.||#1||#1||#1||#5|
|M. Martin||184 lbs.||#2||#2||#2||#6|
|K. Moore||197 lbs.||#16||#16||#15||#17|
Dual Power Index
MARTIN/DEAN: TALE OF THE TAPE
Myles Martin and Cornell's Gabe Dean, the consensus No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers at 184 lbs., will be the feature bout of Saturday's NWCA All-Star Classic at Cleveland State's Wolstein Center. Dean is a three-time All-American and two-time national champion for Cornell who has won 77 of his last 80 matches.
|12-4||vs. Ranked Opponents||13-1|
|Champion - 174 lbs.||NCAA Finish||Champion - 184 lbs.|
NOTING MARTIN'S TITLE
Martin is just the 15th true freshman - and first in Ohio State history - to win a NCAA championship.
Martin also became the first No. 11 seed to win a title since 1979.
His 33 wins was a team-high last year. It was the second straight year that a freshmen led the Buckeyes in wins.
In the last two seasons, four freshmen have earned All-America honors for the Scarlet and Gray: Snyder (2015), Tomasello (2015), B. Jordan (2015) and Martin (2016).
THE SUMMER OF SNYDER
In August, junior Kyle Snyder added the only thing to his trophy case that had been missing: an Olympic gold medal. Along the way, he:
Became the youngest World champion and Olympic gold medalist in United States wrestling history.
Brought home the Olympic gold medal as an active Ohio State student-athlete since Jerry Lucas (basketball) in 1960.
Snyder is 41-4 in two seasons with the Buckeyes, having wrestled an abbreviated schedule last winter but went 11-0 along the way and won the 285 lb. national championship. In international competition, he is 30-3 since the summer of 2015.
Wrestling fans will have more opportunities than ever to see the Scarlet and Gray on BTN this year. A total of four duals - three at home - will appear on the network, starting on Dec. 8 with a showdown against Missouri inside St. John Arena. The Big Ten home opener against Rutgers (Jan. 8) will also be shown, along with the Feb. 3 dual vs. Penn State at the Schottenstein Center. Ohio State's Jan. 27 dual at Iowa will also be on the network.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BUCKEYES
Three Buckeyes will be shifting weight classes in 2016-17: Tomasello moves from 125 to 133 lbs., B. Jordan from 165 to 174 lbs. and Martin from 174 to 184 lbs. Jordan began last season and 174 before moving down to 165 in January.
Redshirt freshman Kollin Moore will slide in at 197 coming off a summer that saw him win the UWW Junior World Team Trials and compete at the Junior World Championships in August. He had a productive redshirt season last winter, going 25-4 with 15 on those wins coming via bonus points.
The probable starter at 141 lbs. - Ke-Shawn Hayes - won 29 of his 30 matches last year at open tournaments. Twenty of those wins were by bonus points, including 15 tech falls.
The six returning NCAA qualifiers went a combined 135-21 with 83 bonus point wins (61 percent) in 2015-16.
All six of Ohio State's returning starters have NCAA Championships experience and placed at last year's Big Ten Championships, where the Buckeyes scored a school-record 126 points.
In seven postseason matches last March, Snyder averaged 16.5 points and finished with four technical falls. He also collected the first pin of his career, which came in the opening round of the NCAA Championships. Snyder was a finalist for the Hodge Trophy, the third straight year a Buckeye wrestler was on the list for wrestling's most prestigious award.
With a 124-45 overall record in 10 seasons, Tom Ryan has the highest winning percentage (.733) of any head coach in program history. He's already coached the most national champions in Ohio State history and is also averaging program-best 3.4 All-Americans per season.
The Buckeyes have multiple Big Ten champions in each of the last four seasons, the longest stretch in program history.
Over the last 10 years, Ohio State has finished in the top-three at the NCAA Championships four times and in the top 10 nine times.