CLEVELAND, Ohio – While Ohio State prepares to defend its NCAA Division I wrestling title, several other local wrestlers are looking to make a big splash at this week’s championships in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Led by Parma’s Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State is ranked third behind Penn State and Oklahoma State, which features St. Edward grad Dean Heil. The Buckeyes won their first title last year and return most of that lineup — with the notable exception of four-time champion Logan Stieber.
- LINK: Complete brackets
Tomasello (22-0) is on track to be the Buckeyes’ next four-time champ. He won an NCAA title as a redshirt freshman last year and is ranked No. 1 at 125 pounds. The Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy grad owns a 40-match winning streak and is coming off his second Big Ten championship.
Sophomore heavyweight World champion Kyle Snyder bookends the OSU lineup. Snyder became the youngest U.S. World freestyle champion at age 19 last summer, a few weeks after he placed second at the NCAA tournament. He intended to take an Olympic redshirt this year, but changed his mind and rejoined the team late. Snyder is 6-0 and ranked second after beating Michigan’s Adam Coon for the Big Ten title last week.
In addition to Tomasello and Snyder, four OSU qualifiers are seeded, including four-time qualifier and Walsh Jesuit grad Johnni DiJulius, who is 10th at 133 pounds. Also seeded are freshman Micah Jordan (No. 6 at 141) and returning All-American Bo Jordan (No. 3 at 165) and freshman Myles Martin (No. 11 at 174). Kenny Courts is unseeded at 184, as he was last year when he wound up fifth. Coach Tom Ryan’s son, Jake, qualified at 157.
Jordan lost to his cousin, Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin, in the 165-pound final at the Big Ten Championships. Both are St. Paris (Ohio) Graham grads.
Television: ESPN will broadcast every match on every mat again this year on ESPN3/WatchESPN, in addition to linear coverage of all six sessions. Friday night and Saturday night are on ESPN, all other sessions are on ESPNU. See complete schedule below.
Penn State on top: Despite Ohio State’s strong lineup, No. 1-ranked Penn State is the team to beat. It qualified all 10 of its wrestlers and features three No. 1 seeds. The Nittany Lions saw their streak of four straight championships snapped last year by Ohio State.
Heil leads Cowboys: Oklahoma State also qualified its entire lineup, including Heil, who was fourth as a freshman last year and is the top seed at 141 pounds with a 27-1 record.
No. 1-ranked Alex Dieringer is a returning champion and No. 1 seed at 165 pounds, ahead of the Jordans.
Cleveland State duo: CSU is hoping seniors Riley Shaw and Sam Wheeler (Copley) become the school’s first All-Americans since 1995. Shaw won the Eastern Wrestling League and is competing in his third NCAA Tournament. Shaw (28-5) has a tough draw with No. 4 seed Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State (27-1).
Wheeler (28-8), a transfer from Kent State, was the EWL runner-up at 197 pounds.
Meanwhile, in Michigan: Michigan junior Domenic Abounader (St. Edward) took third at the Big Ten Championships at 184 pounds and is seeded fourth.
DiCamillo returns: Virginia junior George DiCamillo (St. Ignatius) qualified for the third time and is No. 6 at 133 pounds.
Miller qualifies: Redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Miller (Perry) is among Edinboro’s six qualifiers and is unseeded.
MACtion: Ohio University has seven qualifiers, including Cody Walters (St. Peter Chanel), Andrew Romanchik (Independence) and Phil Wellington (Villa Angela-St. Joseph).
Kent State has five qualifiers, led by two-time All-American Ian Miller of Toledo and third-time qualifier Mike DePalma.
It has been a good year for the Mid-American Conference. The MAC’s 45 qualifiers are third among conferences behind the Big Ten and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association.
Nick Barber (St. Edward) is among Eastern Michigan’s four qualifiers.
Session I: Noon (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3)
Session II: 7 p.m. (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3)
Quarterfinals: 11 a.m. (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3)
Semifinals: 8 p.m. (TV: ESPN/ESPN3)
Championship Medal Round: 11 a.m. (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3)
Finals: 8 p.m. (TV: ESPN/ESPN3.com)