Freshmen-led Ohio State carries strong lead into NCAA championship finals
ST. LOUIS -- Ohio State will take three finalists and a 13.5-point lead into the NCAA championships Saturday at the Scottrade Center. The Buckeyes were bolstered on Friday evening by semifinal victories from Nathan Tomasello, Logan Stieber and Kyle Snyder.
In the overall team standings, Ohio State stands in first place with 86.5 points, with Iowa in second. Cornell is third with 66.5 with Edinboro had 64.5 points.
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Stieber continued his chase for a historical national title by earning a 12-2 major decision against NC State's Kevin Jack. He will now go against second-seeded Mitchell Port of Edinboro in the finals. Earlier this season, Stieber (28-0) defeated Port 6-3 in a dual meet.
Snyder was able to make it three finalists for Ohio State when he knocked off top-seeded and defending champion J'Den Cox of Missouri in the 197-pound semifinal. Snyder scored a first-period takedown and third-period escape while fending off several takedown attempts by Cox in the final minutes. Now 30-3 on the season, he will face third-seeded Kyven Gadson of Iowa State in the finals.
In the morning's quarterfinal session, Tomasello got things started for the Buckeyes in a big way, jumping out to an early 11-0 lead against Edinboro's Cory Mines before finishing his off in the second period for a 16-1 technical fall. It was his second bonus points victory against Mines in the last month, as he scored a 12-1 major decision against him during Ohio State's 30-7 victory against the Fighting Scots at the National Duals.
Stieber was up next against eighth-seeded Anthony Abidin, and like Tomasello, he left little doubt in a 16-1 technical fall that ended 2:31 into the second period. For Stieber, he ran his streak of NCAA championships bonus points wins to eight of the past nine matches.
Jordan was able to pick up key additional points for the Buckeyes with his fall of Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa in the 167-pound quarterfinals. Moore and Jordan wrestled evenly for the first period, but 1:56 into the second Jordan ended things with his seventh fall of the year.
Shortly after Jordan's win, Courts became the fourth Ohio State semifinalist with a 7-5 sudden victory win against Penn State's Matthew McCutcheon that was capped by a takedown early into the overtime period. Courts, unseeded, upset two ranked wrestlers on his way to the semifinals and came from behind in the third to force overtime.
In a rematch of a closely contested regular season match, Snyder punched his ticket to the semifinals thanks to a 3-2 decision of fifth-seeded Scott Schiller of Minnesota. Snyder scored a takedown in the first period and escape in the second for his three points.