[Editor’s note: This piece was written by Brandon Dodson, who is an OSU wrestling season ticket holder with a passion for the Buckeyes. With a desire to see more Ohio State wrestling coverage on the internet, he decided to take matters into his own hands. If you would like to talk wrestling with him, you can do so in the comments below or on Twitter at @RecruitingBucks.]
Let’s start off by recapping the end of the season for the Ohio State Wrestling team.
After a successful season, Ohio State had a rough ending by going 0-3 in National Title matches.
Joey McKenna (141) lost in OT on a very questionable takedown. Head coach Tom Ryan was very disappointed in the call, stating it cost McKenna a national title.
Micah Jordan (149) had a good first period, leading by one after an illegal hold call on Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault. Jordan chose to go neutral to start the second period and Ashnault was able to get a take down and rack up over a minute of riding time. Jordan was unable to overcome the deficit, leading to his third loss of the season to Ashnault.
Kollin Moore (197) went into the national title match feeling confident after dominating his opponents over the first two days. The defense and scrambling ability of Penn State’s Bo Nickal was too much to overcome for Moore, losing 5-1.
Although it was a disappointing end to the season, Ohio State finished as the national runner up, with five all-Americans, and three in the national title match.
Ohio State now must say goodbye to some Buckeye legends. Joey McKenna was a three time All-American; Myles Martin was a four-time All-American who won a national title his freshman year; and Micah Jordan was a three time all-American.
The Buckeyes are also losing Te’Shan Campbell, who transferred from Pitt. Campbell was inconsistent as a Buckeye, but showed flashes throughout his two years in Scarlet and Gray.
Now that we know who is leaving, let’s talk about who is returning, and take a look at the lineup for the 2019-2020 season. This lineup will have a bunch of new faces as they break in the beautiful Covelli Center.
125: The Buckeyes had a rough season at 125 after four years of dominance from Nathan Tomasello. Ryan made a change halfway through this past season to true freshman Malik Heinselman. Heinselman finished the regular season 23-9. The Buckeyes also signed Jacob Decatur from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, who is fresh off an Ohio State title.
Projection: Jacob Decatur wins a wrestle off to wrestle for the Buckeyes as a true freshman.
133: Luke Pletcher ended the regular season 23-5 and finished fourth at the national tourney. The Buckeyes signed Jordan Decatur, brother of Jacob, from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Jordan won the state title in Ohio and finished the year top 5 in the 132 weight class. He is projected as a 133/141-pounder in college.
Projection: Decatur takes over at 133 and Pletcher moves back up to 141.
141: Buckeyes are losing Joey McKenna, who finished the regular season 20-2. McKenna had an excellent national tournament before losing the title match in a controversial manner. His departure is leaving a large hole in the lineup. The Buckeyes have signed Dylan D’Emilio from Genoa high school who is projected as a 141-pounder in college.
Projection: Pletcher moves back up to 141 and is able to bulk up, adding to his great defensive wrestling. Pletcher wins the job.
149: Buckeyes are losing Micah Jordan, who finished the regular season 25-2 and finished second in the national tourney. His departure leaves another large hole in the roster. The Buckeyes currently have Sammy Sasso, who wrestled unattached and finished the year 19-2.
Projection: Keshawn Hayes could look to move back down to 149 from 157, but ultimately Sasso will win the job and wrestle at 149 for the Buckeyes.
157: Keshawn Hayes wrestled at 157 for the Buckeyes. He finished 20-9 in the regular season and failed to make the podium at the national tournament. Jaden Mattox is a freshman out of Central Crossing high school here in Columbus. He wrestled unattached and finished the year 5-0.
Projection: Hayes struggled at times this year. I believe Mattox will win a wrestle off and wrestle at 157 for the Buckeyes.
165: Kaleb Romero began the year as the starter and finished the regular season 11-6, but eventually gave way to Te’Shan Campbell. Campbell finished the regular season 20-7 and made it to the round of 12 in the national tournament in front of many family and friends. The Buckeyes signed Carson Kharchla out of Olentangy Liberty high school. Kharchla finished his season by winning a state title and being ranked the number one wrestler in the 170 class nationally. Kharchla is projected to wrestle 165/174 in college.
Projection: I believe this will be similar to 125 this year. Romero will begin the year wrestling at 165, but ultimately Kharchla will take over.
174: Ethan Smith had an up and down redshirt freshman year wrestling at 174. He finished the regular season 18-11, but made it to the third round of the wrestlebacks before being beaten by Purdue’s Dylan Lydy.
Projection: Ethan Smith has very little competition at this weight class unless Kharchla moves up to 174, which I find unlikely for his freshman year. Smith was a redshirt freshman this past year and will made some strides this off season and he will wrestle at 174 for the Buckeyes.
184: Myles Martin was 20-0 in the regular season and made it to the semifinals before losing to Cornell’s Max Dean in a heart-breaking upset. Myles’ departure leaves a large hole in the roster as both a wrestler and leader. Gavin Hoffman was a freshman out of Montoursville, PA who wrestled unattached this season, ending the year 22-3.
Projection: Hoffman will wrestle at 184 for the Buckeyes.
197: Kollin Moore will be returning for his senior year. He finished the regular season 19-2 and his only two losses coming to Bo Nickal from Penn State. Moore looked excellent in the national tournament, making it to the finals before he lost to Nickal for a third time, 5-1.
Projection: Moore will be a Captain on the team and wrestle at 197 for the Buckeyes. He will be looking to finally win the elusive national title with Nickal graduating. He will still have Kyle Conel standing in his way, however. Conel pinned Moore in 2018 in the national tournament as an unseeded wrestler. Conel was hurt this year but has since transferred to Penn State for his final year of eligibility.
HWT: Chase Singletary finished the regular season 19-7 as a redshirt freshman. He made it to the third round of the wrestlebacks before getting beat by Ian Butterbrodt from Brown. The Buckeyes also signed Greg Kerkvliet out of Simley High school in Grove Heights, Minnesota. Kerkvliet pinned his way through the state tournament and won a state title. Kerkvliet finished the season as the number one overall wrestler in the country.
Projection: Tom Ryan will redshirt Kerkvliet in order to get another year of separation between Kerkvliet and Minnesota’s Gable Stevenson. Singletary will wrestle at HWT for the Buckeyes. In a recent interview, Singletary hinted that he may move to 197 after Kollin Moore graduates. This supports Kerkvliet redshirting his first year.