No. 19 Buckeyes Complete Action at Vegas Invite with 12th-Place Finish
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 19 Ohio State wrestling team completed competition at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Saturday tied for 12th. Behind Top 7 showings by four Buckeyes, Ohio State compiled 63.5 points at the Las Vegas Convention Center to tie Arizona State. Cornell won the team title with 140 points. Wisconsin finished second after amassing 101.5 points, while Boise State collected 100 points for third.
As the fifth seed, Logan Stieber faced quite the test in No. 2 seed Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma in the semifinals at 125 pounds. The Buckeye from Monroeville, Ohio, was undefeated in the young season (5-0) before suffering his first defeat in 179 matches after going 184-1 during his high school career at Monroeville. The setback was a close 2-1 decision that dropped him to wrestlebacks where he lost 5-0 to No. 8 Jason Lara of Oregon State. Contending for a fifth-place finish, Stieber, the No. 3 seed, had to settle for sixth following a slim 9-8 loss at the hands of 10th-seed Frank Perrell of Cornell.*
The No. 3 seed, Colt Sponseller too came up short of advancing to the championship round after losing, 5-2, to Boise State's and No. 2 Adam Hall. A season ago, Sponseller, a native of Glenmont, Ohio, was the 165-pound runner-up. Sponseller looked to finish as high as third at 157 pounds, but a second-consecutive loss, this time to No. 11 Walter Peppelman of Harvard placed him in the fifth-place bout, where he won courtesy of a medical forfeit by Cornell's 10th-seed DJ Meagher.
After defeats Friday, sophomore Ian Paddock and redshirt-freshman Nick Heflin were sixth and seventh-place finishers at 133 and 174 pounds, respectively.
The seventh-seed, Paddock continued his bid for a Top 3 finish when No. 8 Flint Ray of Utah Valley University was forced to take a medical forfeit. Hailing from Warsaw, N.Y., Paddock downed Jose Mendoza of Cal State Bakersfield, 11-3, before encountering sixth-seed Lou Ruggirello of Hofstra and dropping a 3-0 decision. In the next match, Paddock medical forfeited and ended the tournament in sixth place.***
At 174 pounds, No. 11 Heflin was victorious vs. Michigan's eighth-seed Justin Zeerip, 5-1, thus advancing to a bout vs. Jordan Blanton of Illinois. Against Blanton, Heflin of Massillon, Ohio, lost, 4-2, but answered the loss with a 5-2 win over No. 6 seed Luke Manuel of Purdue for a seventh-place finish.**
Redshirt-junior Sean Nemec was eliminated from contention Saturday following his 8-5 loss to Coulthurst Schmitt of Wisconsin in wrestlebacks.
The Buckeyes will compete two more times during the month of December. Ohio State will travel to Edinboro for a 2 p.m. match Dec. 12 before opening the Big Ten Conference season at Penn State at 2 p.m. Dec. 19.
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