Stieber and freshmen put Ohio State in striking position of winning first title

Updated: March 21, 2015

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The day before the start of the 2015 NCAA Championships, Ohio State’s Logan Stieber said the only thing better than becoming just the fourth Division I wrestler to win four individual titles was being a big reason his Buckeyes also claimed their first team title.

The 141-pound senior from Monroeville, Ohio, also learned Friday night that he is getting plenty of help from younger teammates as a pair of freshmen — 125-pound Nathan Tomasello and 197-pound Kyle Snyder — will join their well-known Stieber in the finals of this year’s tournament … and have also put OSU in shot of clinching a first-ever team title.

    NCAA DI Wrestling Session IV Brackets

Stieber, who will join Pat Smith (Oklahoma State), Cael Sanderson (Iowa State) and Kyle Dake (Cornell) if he can defeat Edinboro’s Mitchell Port in the Scottrade Center, advanced to his four national final with a 12-2 major decision over NC State true freshman Kevin Jack.

Tomasello and Snyder, meanwhile, defeated a pair of top-ranked Missouri wrestlers — Alan Waters and J’den Cox, respectively — to all but end any chance of the top-ranked Tigers from clinching a team title.

“I knew from the beginning we had a special team,” said Tomasello, who scored the winning takedown with five seconds. “To have three freshmen captains, it just shows how strong the leadership is and how mature some of the guys are on the team.”

“It’s really amazing, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said Stieber. “I think it would have been more surprising if they didn’t make the finals just from an insider point of view.”

Ohio State leads the field with 86.5 points with two other wrestlers — semifinal losers Bo Jordan (165) and Kenny Courts (184) — with a shot to finish third place.

Just behind the Buckeyes is Iowa with 73 points and one finalist in 133-pound Cory Clark, who defeated Penn State’s James Gulibon, 7-5. The Hawkeyes also saw two wrestlers fall in the semifinals: 125-pound Thomas Gilman, who was pinned by unseeded Zeke Moisey of West Virginia, and 174-pound Mike Evans, who lost 1-0 to Penn State’s Matt Brown.

West Virginia's Zeke Moisey entered the NCAAs unseeded but pinned Iowa's Thomas Gilman at 125 pounds to reach his first final. (Ashley De Jager image)

West Virginia’s Zeke Moisey entered the NCAAs unseeded but pinned Iowa’s Thomas Gilman at 125 pounds to reach his first final. (Ashley De Jager image)

In 2009, Ohio State found itself in a similar position before yielding the team title to the Hawkeyes.

We’ve got to keep winning,” said OSU coach Tom Ryan. “We’ve just got to keep winning. There are a lot of points on the table. We’re 13.5 up. (Iowa) can score that many points and more. They have really good people coming for the wrestle backs. We’ve just got to keep wrestling. So that’s it. We’ve got to keep wrestling.”

“I don’t think you talk about 2009 specifically,” said Iowa coach Tom Brands. “I think you talk about what can happen and what we have to do to control what we can control. The philosophy of our program is our guys have work to do and let’s go out and do our work and do it the way that we are capable of doing it. When that happens, points add up. Next thing you know you’re knocking on the door again.”

Cornell and Edinboro — two teams with little chance of vying for a team title before the tourney began on Thursday — ranked third and fourth, respectively, and each will send two wrestlers to the finals.

The Big Red feature 157-pound Realbuto, who faced a roller coaster Friday by first beating Kent State’s Ian Miller in a quarterfinal — where officials made a scoring error — and winning a semifinal when Minnesota’s Dylan Ness was forced to injury default, and 184-pound Gabe Dean.

The Fighting Scots, who have never earned one of four team trophies presented by the NCAA, are in fourth place and will send both Port (141) and 149-pound David Habat to the championships.

In addition to Stieber, two other 2014 champs have a chance to win a second consecutive championship: Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer, who will battled with another former 157-pound (Indiana’s Taylor Walsh) in the 165-pound final; and NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, who will wrestle Michigan’s Adam Coon in the heavyweight championship.

In addition to West Virginia’s surprise finalist Moisey, a double-digit seeded Cody Brewer of Oklahoma (13th at 133) advance to the finals with a dominating major decision against Minnesota’s top-ranked Chris Dardanes.


Top 10 Teams

Rank Schools Pts Finalists AA
1. Ohio State 86.5 3 5
2. Iowa 73 1 6
3. Cornell 66.5 2 4
4. Edinboro 64.5 2 4
5. Missouri 60 1 5
6. Penn State 58 1 3
7. Oklahoma State 55.5 1 3
8. Michigan 51 1 2
9. Minnesota 49 0 5
9. Nebraska 49 0 2


Semifinal Highlights

125 pounds

#4 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) dec. #1 Alan Waters (Missouri), 4-2

The Buckeye freshman notched a huge team win with a takedown with four seconds left in the match to break a 2-2 tie. Tomasello used a high crotch, and then switched off to a low single for the match-winning score. Waters also scored a takedown about 30 seconds into the period as well. Waters’ two points were a second- and third-period escapes.

US Zeke Moisey (West Virginia) pinned #6 Thomas Gilman (Iowa), 0:52

The unseeded Mountaineer opened the electrical semifinal round with bang cradling up Iowa’s Gilman at 2:25 from the neutral position, then getting a pin 17 seconds later bringing a large portion of the sold-out crowd to their feet. Moisey also got the first takedown 12 seconds into the match as well.

133 pounds

#13 Chris Brewer (Oklahoma) major dec. #1 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), 15-3

Brewer dominated the top-seeded Dardanes from start to finish, turning him twice for five points (in the first and second periods). Brewer had had three takedowns and over two minutes of riding time for the Sooner who looked to be taking his frustration out on Dardanes for his #13 seed with a 20-1 record.

#3 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. #7 James Gulibon (Penn State), 7-5

Clark’s critical takedown came at the 1:26 mark of the second period countering a Gulibon takedown attempt on the edge for a takedown of his own to lead 6-2. Gulibon got a takedown after a third-period escape to get to 6-5, but Clark held off Gulibon late in the match and added riding time for a 7-5 win.

141 pounds

#1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) major dec. US Kevin Jack (NC State), 12-2

Stieber led 6-1 at the end of the first after a takedown and a couple of two-point near-fall turns and never looked back. He added a chest-lock for three near-fall points, a third-period reversal and over four minutes of riding time for a dominant win.

#2 Mitchell Port (Edinboro) major dec. #11 Chris Mecate (Old Dominion), 14-2

Mecate reversed Port with a minute left in the first period to tie the score 2-2, but it was all Port after that. Port reversed Mecate and got a three-point turn to end the first period. Port added a third-period takedown and over two minutes of riding time.

149 pounds

#1 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) dec. No. 5 Chris Villalonga (Cornell), 4-0

Houdashelt became the only finalist for host Missouri as the Tiger’s lone takedown came at the :38 mark of the first period. He then added an escape and a riding-time point with 2:31 on top.

#3 David Habat (Edinboro) dec. #2 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern), 3-2

The only offensive points of the match came when Habat took the 2014 champ down with a low single at the 1:44 mark of the second period. Trailing 3-2 in the third, Tsirtsis nearly had a takedown at the 1:28 mark, and coach Drew Pariano officially protested the no-takedown call, but officials upheld the call. Habat was warned for stalling with :28 left, and nearly picked up another stalling call late in the match, but held on for the win.

157 pounds

#1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) dec. #4 James Green (Nebraska), 3-2

Just over a minute of riding time was the difference in the Illini freshman’s first trip to the finals in a 3-2 win between two normally high-powered 157 pounders. Green got a takedown with 35 seconds left in the second. Martinez escaped after that takedown, then granby rolled out to start the third period to tie the match 2-2.

#2 Brian Realbuto (Cornell) won by injury default over #3 Dylan Ness (Minnesota), 2:28.

Realbuto opened the match with a takedown over the two-time NCAA runner-up. Ness responded with a reversal. But after Realbuto got a pair of escapes, one after going down after Ness took injury time, Ness finally injury defaulted with about 20 seconds left in the first period after Realbuto got a second takedown.

165 pounds

#1 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) dec. #5 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), 6-1

Dieringer controlled the match from start to finish, getting takedowns in each of the first two periods. The Buckeye freshman’s only point came off an escape to start the second period. Dieringer’s 1:48 riding time gave him the 5-1 win.

#6 Taylor Walsh (Indiana) dec. #15 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina), 5-0

Walsh became Indiana’s first NCAA finalist since 2008 with first- and second-period takedowns to take a 4-0 lead. His 3:29 in riding time gave him the final point.

174 pounds

#8 Tyler Wilps (Pitt) dec. #12 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State), 3-1 sv

Wilps broke a 1-1 deadlock in sudden victory with a takedown in the edge with :16 to go. The two traded escapes in the second and third periods.

#3 Mike Evans (Iowa) dec. #2 Matt Brown (Penn State), 1-0

Brown escaped in the second period to take the 1-0 lead. The Hawkeye then chose neutral in the third period but was unable to get a takedown, giving Penn State their first finalist of the night.

184 pounds

#1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) dec. #13 Victor Avery (Edinboro), 4-3 tb2

A 12-second advantage in riding time in the second set of tiebreakers was the difference for Dean. After trading escapes in regulation, Avery nearly had a takedown on the edge in the second sudden victory period but was unable to score after a great scramble and an athletic Dean counter. Avery got out first in the second set of tiebreakers, but Dean was able to get out sooner to secure his trip to the Saturday-night stage.

#7 Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) dec. US Kenny Courts (Ohio State), 4-0

After taking the lead on a second-period escape, Brown iced the win with a third-period takedown for the 3-0 win. Courts nearly had a takedown in the first period, and coach Tom Ryan challenged the call, but officials upheld the original call and no points were awarded.

197 pounds

#4 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) dec. #1 J’den Cox (Missouri), 3-2

The Buckeye freshman ended Cox’s bid to become a four-time champ. A Snyder ankle pick 36 seconds into the match were the only offensive points scored. Cox added a pair of escapes after the takedown and to start the second period, but Snyder’s escape to start the third gave him the 3-2 lead. The Buckeye was warned with :32 left, but he was able to hold off the late-charging Tiger.

#3 Kyven Gadson (Iowa State) dec. #10 Conner Hartmann (Duke), 4-1

Gadson controlled the match from start to finish. He got a takedown 15 seconds into the match and rolled up more than two minutes of riding time.


#1 Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) dec. #5 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 6-3

The defending Wolfpack national champ controlled the match from start to finish. He used single legs for takedowns in the first and third periods, and added 1:36 in riding time for the 6-3 win and his second straight trip to the big Saturday-night stage.

#6 Adam Coon (Michigan) dec. #2 Mike McMullan (Northwestern), 3-1 sv

Any fan who didn’t stay for the final match of the semifinal round missed the best scramble of the session, and it came from two athletic heavyweights battling for a trip to the finals. Tied 1-1 after regulation, Coon got a takedown off a 10-second scramble where both big men looked like they had the match-deciding takedown.

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