COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With a pair of champions in Johnni DiJulius (133 pounds) and Logan Stieber (141 pounds), the eighth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team rallied from sixth place to finish third with 119.5 points at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Saturday night. In addition to winning the 141-pound title, Stieber was named Most Outstanding Wrestler. Oklahoma won the team title with 154.5 points, while Nebraska was the runner-up with 130.5 points.
The Buckeyes will return to dual action Dec. 15 when they travel to State College, Pa., to face No. 1 Penn State at noon live on BTN.
In addition to DiJulius and Stieber, six Buckeyes placed in the Top 8 of their respective weight classes. Kenny Courts (184 pounds) finished third, Ian Paddock (149 pounds) was fifth and Nick Heflin was a sixth-place finisher. Nick Roberts (125 pounds) was seventh, while Randy Languis and Nick Tavanello finished eighth at 157 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
DiJulius had one of the more impressive outings of the tournament, defeating the Nos. 5, 1 and 2 seeds en route to the title. After posting a 3-0 record on the first day of competition, DiJulius handed No. 1 seed Joe Colon of Northern Iowa a 6-2 loss before downing second-seed Cody Brewer of Oklahoma in 44 seconds.
Stieber collected his third fall of the CKLV invite and a technical fall to win the 141-pound crown. First, Stieber pinned No. 5 seed Nick Lester of Oklahoma in 2:22. Subsequently, Stieber recorded a 16-1 technical fall over sixth seed Anthony Abidin of Nebraska.
Wrestling seven matches in two days, Courts rallied from a quarterfinal loss and won four consecutive matches to conclude the tournament in third place. Of the four matches Courts won Saturday, two were bonus point victories, including a 4:48 pin of No. 5 seed Ophir Bernstein of Brown in the third-place matchup.
Fifth-place finisher Paddock overcame a 3-1 sudden victory loss to fifth-seed Christopher Villalonga of Cornell in wrestlebacks and defeated third-seed Eric Grajales of Michigan in the fifth-place bout. Injuries forced Heflin to medical forfeit his final three matches to eventually finish sixth.
A redshirt freshman, Roberts was impressive in the tournament as he defeated the Nos. 6, 11, 8 and 12 seeds en route to his seventh-place finish. In his final match-up, Roberts edged 12th-seed Earl Hall of Iowa State, 4-3.
Despite earning wins in wrestleback competition, both Languis and Tavanello were handed setbacks in their respective seventh-place bouts. Languis dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 10 Robert Burg of Navy and Tavanello lost to No. 7 William Smith of Rutgers, 4-2.