CLEVELAND, Ohio – In front of a near-capacity crowd at Woodling Gym, the Cleveland State wrestling team gave it all they had against the defending national champion and No. 7 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, falling in a close 26-18 decision.
The match was held Tuesday, Nov. 24.
The loss drops CSU to 4-3 while OSU improved to 3-0. Though the Vikings were on the short end of the final result, it was a memorable night for many.
No. 8 ranked senior Riley Shaw, who remained undefeated (12-0), said, “It was awesome. I’ve never seen the gym this packed for anything. I wasn’t sure how the turnout would be but the more the match went on and the more we fought, we heard fans cheering so hard for us.”
Shaw continued, “Had we come out and not done well it would be a different story, but we came out and fought our butts off. Look at Alfredo (Gray), he stuck toe-to-toe with the No. 5 kid in the country.”
Shaw’s description of Gray’s 133 pound match was not far from the truth.
Against No. 5 Johnni DiJulius, Gray held strong the entire match, bringing fans of both sides to their feet for the final period. DiJulius squeaked out a 4-3 decision over Gray.
Perhaps the most exciting match of the night, though, immediately followed the 133 pound bout.
Senior Mike Carlone, down for the first two periods, found himself on the right end of a reversal with just two seconds left in the match to go ahead and eventually win, 4-3 over Ohio State’s Mike Hozan. Carlone improved to 4-3 on the year.
Of the win and the atmosphere, the senior explained, “The crowd was what we needed. It was what I needed to get this win.” Following Carlone’s reversal, nearly all of the 1,811 in attendance were on their feet applauding the effort. “It was nice to have people pack the building regardless of who they were rooting for. It’s great to wrestle and get those butterflies in front of a great crowd.”
The next match, at this point to nobody on the Cleveland State bench’s surprise, was just as fun. Nick Montgomery, trailing by as many as five points in the second period, fought back for a pin at the 5:34 mark. The Cleveland State bench erupted and, what seemed to be an inevitable Ohio State win, turned into a Viking fan-frenzy. Cleveland State head coach Ben Stehura called Montgomery’s match, “a testament to his will power to be down 5-0 and come back and get us six points. Nick continues to give us all he’s got each match.”
In Shaw’s heavyweight bout, the fans were ready for a fantastic fight from the start. With two wrestlers in the top-20 and both undefeated, each realized what was on the line. Shaw, though, remained calm, cool and humble and despite giving up a few points found himself once again on the winning end in a 6-4 decision. Shaw’s win puts him at 84 for his career.
“Ever since the Ohio Duals, we’ve worked just a little bit harder,” Shaw proclaimed, “we weren’t slacking, but it was just a wake-up call for us as a team. We’re excited to get a chance to come back home again for the CSU Open and for our first EWL match vs. Edinboro. I’m proud of our team, even our guys that lost gave it everything they had.”
Falling for the Vikings was Nathan Wynkoop in the opening 165 match, a 10-3 decision. Wynkoop’s aggression, though, set the stage for the rest of the match.
In the 125 pound match, CSU’s Evan Cheek faced a tall task vs. the defending national champion of the weight class and currently No. 1 ranked Nathan Tomasello. Within the first minute, Cheek sent Tomasello a message; he was not backing down. Though eventually falling by 23-7 tech fall, Cheek came right out and scored a takedown, sending the CSU crowd to its feet.
Going into the final match of the night, the 157 pounder, the Vikings were within striking distance to win the meet. CSU’s John Vaughn, though, eventually fell in another full-effort match against a ranked opponent.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Stehura said. “We fought hard all night.”
The Vikings will have a brief period off before returning to the mats. In the middle of a four-meet home stand, CSU will host its annual Cleveland State Open on Dec. 12 at Woodling Gym before they welcome EWL foe Edinboro to town one week later on Dec. 19.
125 – Tomasello tech fall Cheek (23-7)
133 – DiJulius dec. Gray (4-3)
141 – Carlone dec. Hozan (4-3)
149 – N. Montgomery FALL Burcher (5:34)
157 – Ryan tech fall Vaughn (21-6)
165 – Kresevic dec. Wynkoop (10-3)
174 – Jordan FALL Stark (0:28)
184 – Rozema maj. dec. Worthington (12-4)
197 – Wheeler WIN by FORFEIT
HWT – Shaw dec. Tavanello (6-4)