Photos: There was plenty of buzz between Penn State (left) and Iowa...
No. 11 Ohio State Holds Off No. 16 Virginia Tech, 23-16
COLUMBUS, Ohio– Trailing No. 16 Virginia Tech, 16-14, with two matches remaining, the 11th-ranked Ohio State wrestling team received a momentum-changing win from senior 197-pounder Nick Heflin Sunday afternoon in St. John Arena. Heflin, a native of Massillon, Ohio, pinned the Hokies’ Brooks Morrison in 1:17 to lift the Buckeyes to a 20-16 lead. The Scarlet and Gray eventually won the match, 23-16, after redshirt-sophomore Nick Tavanello downed Ty Walz, 5-3, in the heavyweight bout.
Up next, Ohio State will compete in the 2014 Big Ten Championships at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., March 8-9.
In addition to the wins by the fourth-ranked Heflin and Tavanello, Ohio State received victories from redshirt-freshman and No. 8 Johnni DiJulius (125 pounds), redshirt-junior and No. 3 Logan Stieber (141 pounds) and sophomore and No. 13 Mark Martin (174 pounds) in the final regular-season match of the 2013-14 campaign.
With Ohio State trailing Virginia Tech, 3-0, following redshirt-freshman and 125-pounder Nick Roberts’ 10-3 loss to Joe Dance, the Buckeyes quickly recovered and took a 6-3 advantage after DiJulius pinned Dennis Gustafson in 4:18. DiJulius owned a 3-0 lead before he put Gustafson on his back in the second period. Stieber followed DiJulius’ pin with a bonus-point victory of his own, a 17-1 technical fall over Erik Spjut.
After dropping three consecutive matches from 149-165 pounds, the Buckeyes trailed the Hokies, 13-11. Kyle Viscontireceived the starting nod at 149 pounds in place of senior Ian Paddock and Visconti lost a 10-2 major decision to No. 16 Zach Neibert. In the 157-pound match-up, redshirt-junior Randy Languis suffered a 4-3 setback to Sal Mastriani. Languis recorded an early takedown in the first period against Mastriani, but the Hokie answered with an escape and takedown in the opening stanza for a 3-2 lead. Choosing bottom in the second period, Mastriani scored an escape for a 4-2 lead. Languis answered with an escape in the third period, but could not secure a takedown for a victory.
After senior and 165-pounder Joe Grandominico lost an 8-2 decision to Chris Moon, Martin propelled Ohio State into the lead with his 2-1 win vs. Austin Gabel in the 174-pound bout. After a scoreless first period, Gabel scored an escape for a 1-0 lead. In the low-scoring affair, Martin notched a takedown in the final period.
Starting at 184 pounds in place of redshirt-sophomore Kenny Courts, sophomore Josh Fox held strong against No. 17 Nick Vetterlein. Trailing, 3-2, in the third period, Fox gave up a takedown, but scored an escape to cut Vetterlein’s lead to 5-3. However, Fox was unable to record the match-winning takedown as time ticked off the clock.
It was with the Buckeyes trailing, 16-14, Heflin and Tavanello won back-to-back matches to help lift Ohio State to its 13th dual win of the season.