Photo By Sara Liptak

Viking Mike Carlone takes down Buckeye Mike Hozan in the 141-pound weight class match on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at Cleveland State University.


December 7, 2015

Wrestling team plays historic match against Ohio State University

The Cleveland State University wrestling team competed against the national champion and No. 7 ranked Ohio State University in a dual meet Tuesday, Nov. 24 at the Woodling Gymnasium, falling to the Buckeyes in a close score of 26-18 in front of a near-capacity crowd.

The competition was a major match as the two teams have not met since Nov. 22, 2009, and left the Vikings at 4-3 and the Buckeyes at 3-0 for the season.

Viking wrestling head coach Ben Stehura, in his eighth season at Cleveland State, said the team is not where it wants to be, but is making good progress.

“There’s a lot of young guys [freshmen] on the team,” Stehura said. “For five out of the 10 guys, this is their first time in the lineup regardless of age so that takes a little getting used to. It’s a different animal to be in the starter.”

As of Nov. 23, pre-sale tickets were at around 800, which is a big number in wrestling, according to Stehura. That’s not including the walk-ins or students who attend for free with their CSU ID. The Woodling Gym has a maximum capacity of 2,400 and the overall turnout for the match was 1,811.

Opening the match in the 165-pound weight class was Cleveland State junior Nathan Wynkoop who competed against Ohio State freshman Justin Kresevic in a 10-3 decision. The crowd set the scene for Wynkoop chanting “Let’s go Koop” during the scoreless first period, resulting in Kresevic making a quick takedown in the final two minutes of the match.

Cleveland State junior Gabe Stark in the 174-weight class faced the No. 1 ranked Buckeye, Bo Jordan, falling to a pin made by Jordan in just 28 seconds.

In the 184-pound class, Viking freshman Jacob Worthington and Buckeye Jack Rozema went head-to-head, which ended in the Buckeyes continuing to lead the scoreboard 13-0.

Things started to switch direction after Ohio State forfeited at 197-pounds, leaving Viking senior Sam Wheeler not competing in a match against the Buckeyes, and a score of 13-6.

Undefeated 12-0 and nationally ranked No. 8, Viking senior Riley Shaw won the first, most contested match-up of the night against Buckeye junior Nick Tavanello in the 285-pound weight class. This was Tavanello’s first loss of the season, leaving him at 7-1.

Next to hit the mat was Viking freshman Evan Cheek against Buckeye sophomore Nathan Tomasello in the 125-pound weight class. Cheek fell to Tomasello, but came out strong with his initial takedown.

Viking senior Alfredo Gray held his own in the 133-pound match against Buckeye Johnni DiJulius in a 3-3 tie before DiJulius scored a one-point escape, leaving the takedown point going to the Buckeyes. The score at this point was 21-9.

The crowd was on their feet when 141-pounder Viking senior Mike Carlone led Cleveland State in a 21-12 decision against Buckeye Mike Hozan in a reverse takedown at the end of the third period, giving him a 4-3 win for his record.

Viking junior Nick Montgomery kept the spirit alive in his win over Buckeye freshman Cody Burcher in the 149-weight class, pinning Burcher at five and a half minutes into the match. Buckeyes still lead 21-18, but the men’s two-in-a-row win made a comeback for the Vikings.

Ending the match series was the 157-weight class with Viking freshman John Vaughn and Buckeye freshman Jake Ryan with a now 9-0 record, leaving the final score Ohio State, 26 and Cleveland State, 18.

Stehura said after the wrestling program was refunded this semester — following an announcement by the university March 30, 2015 that the program would be defunded in favor of starting a new men’s lacrosse team and an undetermined women’s sport — he and the team want to give back to the student body and Cleveland for their support. Students voted to pay an athletic fee to keep the program alive.

“Nowhere in the country has a student body ever voted to pay for wrestling,” Stehura said. “I mean these are big deals and if wasn’t for that, we’d be gone.”

The wresting team will host the Cleveland State Open tournament over winter break Saturday, Dec. 12 in the Woodling Gym at 9 a.m. and will also host nationally ranked Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference) championships Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Woodling Gym.


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