Nick Tavanello (Wadsworth) is ranked as the No. 26 recruit in the country (Bob Tuneberg, BuckeyeWrestling.com)"I felt like Ohio State was the best fit for me to become a great college heavyweight and to get a great education," commented Tavanello on the phone Tuesday night. "From the coaches to the wrestlers and from the alumni to the fans there are a lot of great people that love Buckeye wrestling."
Asked about making an early commitment, Nick was confident he made the right decision.
"I grew up an Ohio State fan, but I did my research and looked around. I talked to some other schools, even though in my heart I knew I always wanted to be Buckeye. I have family and friends down there and I know that I am going to feel comfortable," offered Tavanello. "I enjoyed the recruiting process, but the end of the day they (OSU) had a little more in every way than anyone else and it was an easy decision to make."
A two-time state champion, Nick has gone 137-9 in three years of varsity competition at 215 pounds. As a freshman he went 42-7 and placed third at state, he improved to 47-2 and won his first state title as a sophomore with a 6-4 victory against Kyle Rose, and as a junior he finished the year 48-1 and defended his championship with a 5-2 decision against Ty Walz.
Not only has Tavanello experienced individual success, he has also been a large part of his team's success. In the process of winning his first state title in 2010, he also clinched the team state championship for the Grizzlies. With heavyweight Ben Buzzelli adding another title to end the tournament, Wadsworth outscored Lakewood St Edward 172-167.5 to stop the Eagles run of thirteen consecutive Division I team state championships. The Grizzlies finished fifth in 2009 and third in 2011.
"I think individual success and team success go hand and hand. If you are getting better individually then you are helping the team; if the team gets better, they are helping you to improve as individual. I know that having great coaches and workout partners have helped me, and I think I have been able to help them as well," stated Tavanello.
After a dozen years on the wrestling mat Nick is hoping that his hard work, experience, and confidence will lead to a perfect senior season.
"As a team I want to see us do as well we can and individually I want to win a state championship at heavyweight, I want to win the Ironman, and I want to go undefeated because those are things I haven't done before," responded Nick. "We work hard and wrestle a tough schedule; it is going to be a challenge and I'm really looking forward to getting on the mats this year."
Tavanello finished last year ranked seventh at 215 pounds and was the highest ranked underclassmen at the weight. As a senior on the move to heavyweight he will likely be ranked in the top six behind potential number one, Brooks Black. With Wadsworth and Blair Academy both expected to wrestle at the Ironman Invitational in December his biggest match of the year could be wrestled in the Walsh High School gym.
An honor roll student at Wadsworth HS with a cumulative 3.74 GPA, Nick has also played football the past three years earning Special Mention All-Ohio as a defensive tackle last season.
Asked if he was a wrestler that played football or a football player that wrestled, Tavanello laughed.
"That's easy … I like football, but I love wrestling," responded Nick. "When I was five I was too big to play football so I grew up on the mats. I am definitely a wrestler that plays football."
A 2009 Cadet freestyle All-American, Tavanello had a dominant run in Fargo with four pins; an 8-0, 6-0 technical fall; and a 6-0, 2-0 decision. In the finals he outscored gage Harrah, but finished runner up losing in three periods 1-2, 3-0, and 2-3.
"Freestyle can be fun but I prefer folkstyle right now," offered Nick when asked about his background in the international styles. "The Buckeyes aren't recruiting me to wrestle freestyle; they want me to help them win an NCAA title. If wrestling freestyle helps me get on the podium or the team to do well then that is something I will do."
This summer he has been working out almost every day, working at a Giant Eagle (grocery store), and is getting ready to help the Grizzlies make it back to the state football playoffs to end his gridiron career. Tavanello plans on taking his official visit to Ohio State this fall and is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent in November.
"Before I get to college I have to thank my parents for all the support over the years, they have always been there for me and I wouldn't be where I am without them, as well as Coach Gramuglia and Coach Nadeau, who have been great mentors on the mat and outstanding role models off it. I also need to thank the entire Wadsworth team because they have become family to me."
"With that said I am excited to have the opportunity to wrestle at Ohio State and I am looking forward to learning from Coach Ryan and the entire staff, getting to know and learn from my new teammates, and becoming a part of a new family, the Buckeye wrestling family," concluded Tavanello.
Planning on being a career heavyweight at OSU, Nick has two goals.
"I want to be the best wrestler I can be and I want the team to do as well as we can."
InterMat was granted permission to republish this article from BuckeyeWrestling.com.