• Follow us on Twitter @buckeyeplanet and @bp_recruiting, like us on Facebook! Enjoy a post or article, recommend it to others! BP is only as strong as its community, and we only promote by word of mouth, so share away!
  • Consider registering! Fewer and higher quality ads, no emails you don't want, access to all the forums, download game torrents, private messages, polls, Sportsbook, etc. Even if you just want to lurk, there are a lot of good reasons to register!

Buckeyes set school mark with 5 All-Americans in Wrestling


Administrator Emeritus
Buckeyes set school mark with 5 All-Americans
Strong run eases frustrating season
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Ken Gordon


ST. LOUIS — Early yesterday, a few faint cheers trickled down from the upper reaches of the Savvis Center.

Ohio State wrestling fans, banished to section 301 just under the rafters, showed their appreciation as Buckeye competitors successfully fought their way through the morning consolation brackets of the NCAA tournament.

By day’s end, the high-but mighty cheering section was booming out "O-H-I-O" and doing its best to drown out the much larger (and lower) contingent of fans from Iowa and Oklahoma State, to name a few.

They had plenty to get loud about.

All five OSU qualifiers gained All-American honors, setting a school record. The previous high was four All-Americans, done each year from 1991 through 1993, considered the heyday era of the program.

Heavyweight Tommy Rowlands (43-1) will compete for a title today. That was expected of the top seed. He also became the school’s first four-time All-American.

But Jeff Ratliff (149-pound class), John Clark (165), Blake Kaplan (184) and J.D. Bergman (197) all will finish between third and eighth today. The top eight are All-Americans.

Jake Percival of Ohio University (157) also reached the finals.

Coming into nationals, it was considered a disappointing season for OSU, which finished eighth at the Big Ten meet two weeks ago.

The book was rewritten in St. Louis.

"Everyone wrote us off all year," Kaplan said. "Even our biggest supporters of our program have wrote us off. It was something that angered us and motivated us at the same time."

OSU stands in fifth place with 65 points and is just five points out of second (Iowa has 70). Oklahoma State will be the runaway defending champion today — the Cowboys lead with 106½ points.

The Buckeyes haven’t finished in the top five since 1993.

"It’s unbelievable," Rowlands said. "Four of these guys I’ve wrestled with for the past five years (all are seniors except for Bergman, a freshman). For us to be All-Americans together is one of the very special moments of my life."

En route to the five All-Americans, the Buckeyes won 12 of their first 13 matches yesterday. The only loss was Clark getting pinned in the quarterfinals.

But he, like Ratliff, Kaplan and Bergman, all won several consolation matches in a row.

It was Clark’s second All-American berth, and the first for Kaplan, Ratliff and Bergman. Clark and Ratliff said they wrestled with some sense of desperation.

"It’s your last match, and when you realize you might not put on a singlet again, you get a little extra motivation," Clark said. "And to do it for coach (Russ) Hellickson — he’s been under scrutiny — it just means an incredible amount."

Kaplan, too, expressed strong feelings for the coaching staff. "I did it for myself but for Russ, too, because I love my coaches," he said. "They’re like another group of fathers to me." And yes, the Buckeye wrestlers heard their fans. "They screamed their lungs out," Kaplan said. "We have special people."

[email protected]
Rowlands wins the national championship, Buckeyes tie for 3rd--best finish ever

Buckeyes win CCHA championship...

Baseball beats Rutgers...

Lady Bucks advance to 2nd round of NCAA...

What a great day! O-H!
Upvote 0
This is a huge accomplishment for these young men. Grabbing a third behind Okla. St. and Iowa is damn near as good as winning it all for this bunch. Congrats to the "grapplin'Bucks" We Salute You!
Upvote 0
Excellent. I got to watch part of the matches (ESPN coverage). Saw the whole Rowland match against the PSU heavyweight. He (Rowland) basically dominated the whole match. One escape and 2 take downs versus 2 escapes ... well done buckeyes!
Upvote 0
Tommy probably wrestled his greatest match ever today against Cummins who is one hell of a talent. After losing to Cummins earlier in the year, Tommy has defeated him three straight times, but none as convincing as today's, which was the biggest match of the season.
Upvote 0
Did you see the match WW? I thought Rowland would have a hard time later in the match from having to "muscle" Cummings so much in the early going. Tommy had a lot of "riding" time and actually picked Cummings up 3 different times and threw him back down ... impressive strength. And, he had the endurance to boot. Cummings actually seemed the more tired of the two late in the match.

EDIT: I don't know the weights off the top of my head, but Cumming was much bigger. I'm guessing 40 pounds heavier.
Last edited:
Upvote 0
Cummins was supposedly around 265 and Rowlands around 230. Rowlands had no problem lifting him up and slamming him down, also when he dragged Cummins back into the circle was great. Tommy has to get back down to around 210 for Olympic preparations.
Upvote 0
Cleve, is he taking a shot at the Olympics? I get no coverage of TOSU let alone any NCAA wrestling news up here, which is a shame seeing what a Wrestling rich area NEO is.

Any way you or anybody else could post a link to the complete results of the NCAA tournament, all weight classes, all matches from 1st to 8th place. I'd appreciate it.

If Tommy pursues I wish him the best. It'll be a tough road to get past Mocco though. He actually sat out this year at Iowa to specifically train for the Olympics.
Upvote 0