No. 6 Buckeyes, No. 11 Fighting Illini Meet Sunday

Dec. 31, 2015

OPPONENT DATE/TIME LOCATION MEDIA
No. 11 Illinois Sunday, Jan. 3/2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST) Champaign Ill./Huff Hall FightingIllini.com

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The curtain officially lifts on the 2016 portion of Ohio State’s schedule this Sunday, as the sixth-ranked Buckeyes (4-1, 1-0) meet 11th-ranked and unbeaten Illinois (8-0, 0-0) at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST) inside Huff Hall.

FOLLOWING ALONG
Sunday’s dual will be streamed live on FightingIllini.com (subscription required). Live updates will also be available on the team’s official Twitter account, @wrestlingbucks.

BUCKYES IN A NUTSHELL

  • Ohio State has been off on a holiday break since opening its Big Ten season with a 27-16 victory at Northwestern on Dec. 18.
  • Three wrestlers in the Buckeyes’ projected lineup are currently unbeaten this year – Nathan Tomasello (125 lbs.), Jake Ryan (157 lbs.) and Bo Jordan (165 lbs.). Johnni DiJulius (133 lbs.) and Micah Jordan (141 lbs.) have just one loss on the year.
  • Tomasello (No. 1) and B. Jordan (No. 2) led a group of seven Buckeyes that are ranked in the Top 20 of their respective weight classes in this week’s InterMat poll. They have a combined record of 74-8.
  • After starting the season at 174 pounds, B. Jordan moved down to 165 for the Missouri match and will stay there the rest of the season. He was an All-American and third-place NCAA finisher at 165 last season. In his last match, he pinned Northwestern’s Luke Norland in just 2:15.
  • Ohio State is one of five Big Ten team ranked in the Top 10 of this week’s USA Today/NWCA poll.
  • In five duals so far this season, Ohio State has outscored its opponents by an aggregate score of 132-75.

MARTIN TO MAKE DEBUT
Highly-touted freshman Myles Martin, who was the nation’s top-ranked recruit at 182 pounds last year and the No. 3 overall prospect, will make his 2015-16 varsity debut on Sunday, head coach Tom Ryan announced earlier this week.

Martin is currently 18-2 this season while wrestling unattached in open tournaments. He is a junior freestyle national champion who won 171 matches over four years at the McDonough School. Martin will wrestle at 174 lbs.

STIEBER EXPECTED BACK SOON
In addition to adding Martin to their lineup, the Buckeyes also expect Hunter Stieber, an All-American for the Buckeyes in 2013-14 at 149 lbs., to make his season debut shortly. Stieber, recovering from offseason surgery, has a career record of 85-14 was injured much of last year but returned for the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. At Big Ten’s, he scored key points for the Buckeyes while advancing to the 149-pound semifinals. In the quarterfinal round, his reversal as time expired in the third period secured a 5-4 decision.

THREE QUALIFY FOR U.S. OYLMPIC TEAM TRIALS
Logan Stieber, Nathan Tomasello and Reece Humphrey all punched their ticket for a trip to Iowa City, Iowa for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by finishing in the top seven of their respective weight classes two weeks ago at the U.S. Senior Nationals/Olympic Trials Qualifier. They will officially continue on their Road to Rio later in 2016.

Stieber was second at 65kg, Humphrey finished third (65kg) while Tomasello was fifth at 57kg. The trio combined for seven tech falls in the 13 matches that they won.

Two Buckeyes – one current and one former – have already qualified for the Trials: Kyle Snyder (96kg) and JD Bergman (96kg). Bergman won the title this past November at the Bill Farrell/New York AC International while Snyder’s explosion onto the freestyle scene has been well-documented – in the last six months, he has won the US Open, Pan Am Games, World Team Trials and became the youngest American to earn gold at the World Championships.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS
Ranked 11th in this week’s USA Today/NWCA Poll, Illinois brings an 8-0 record into Sunday’s dual. The Illini have six wrestlers ranked in the Top 20 of their respective weight classes and four inside the Top-10. No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (14-0), No. 3 Zane Richards (13-0), No. 9 Steven Rodrigues (13-0) and No. 4 Zac Brunson (13-0) have combined for a perfect 53-0 record through the season's first two months. Martinez was the national championship at 157 pounds last year, becoming the first undefeated freshman to win NCAA title since Cael Sanderson (Iowa State, 1999).

IN THE RANKINGS – INDIVIDUAL

WT WRESTLER INTERMAT FLO W.I.N. AWN
125 N. Tomasello 1 1 1 1
133 J. DiJulius 8 7 15 10
141 M. Jordan 9 9 7 8
157 J. Ryan 13 20 18 12
165 B. Jordan 2 2 2 2
184 K. Courts 11 11 11 18
285 N. Tavanello 19 19 NR 19

IN THE RANKINGS – TEAM

POLL TOP 25 TOURNAMENT INDEX DUAL INDEX
USA Today/NWCA #6 N/A N/A
InterMat N/A #7 #7
Flowrestling N/A #8 #6
W.I.N. N/A #9 #8

PROJECTED MATCH-UPS
125: No. 1 Nathan Tomasello (10-0) vs. Francis Edelen (1-7)
133: No. 8 Johnni DiJulius (10-1) vs. No. 3 Zane Richards (13-0)
141: No. 9 Micah Jordan (12-1) vs. Brock Ervin (6-2)
149: Cody Burcher (10-6) OR Hunter Stieber (0-0) vs. Kyle Langenderfer (4-4)
157: No. 13 Jake Ryan (11-0) vs. No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (13-0)
165: No. 2 Bo Jordan (7-0) vs. No. 6 Steven Rodrigues (13-0)
174: Myles Martin (18-2) vs. No. 4 Zac Brunson (13-0)
184: No. 11 Kenny Courts (11-4) vs. No. 16 Jeff Koepke (11-2)
197: Mark Martin (13-4) vs. Andre Lee (10-3)
285: No. 19 Nick Tavanello (13-2) vs. No. 13 Brooks Black (11-2)

BACK POINTS

  • Illinois holds a 33-32 lead in the all-time series, but the last time the two teams met, Ohio State edged the Illini 18-16 with a 3-1 decision from Nick Tavanello in the final match of the night (1/12/14).
  • Ohio State has won four of the last five meetings against Illinois. Tom Ryan-coached teams are 4-3 vs. the Illini.
  • Buckeye wrestlers have totaled 36 pins this year with the fastest coming in just 15 seconds (Tavanello). Eight have occurred in less than two minutes.
  • Eight of the 10 starters in Ohio State’s projected lineup are Ohio natives.