Tom Ryan coaching at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On Friday, Ohio State returned to action for the first time since the holiday break against Maryland in Big Ten action. Ohio State began the match with nine straight wins before No. 10 Youssif Hemida scored a decision at heavyweight to avoid the shutout.
After the match, InterMat spoke with both Ohio State coach Tom Ryan and Maryland coach Kerry McCoy.
No. 1 Nathan Tomasello returns
In the opening match of the night, No. 1 Nathan Tomasello wrestled for the first time this season. He had been out of action after suffering a knee injury in the finals of the U-23 World Team Trials in October. On Friday, the three-time All-American scored three takedowns and 12 back points in the first period to defeat Brandon Cray via technical fall.
"He looks good. It was a long wait for him to be back, " Ryan said. "It is great to have him back in the lineup. He has a couple more matches as a Buckeye. It's his senior year, and it is good to have him back."
Has Maryland become a new stop on the recruiting trail?
Despite not being a traditional high school wrestling hotbed, multiple high-level wrestlers have come out of Maryland in the last few years. Big Ten coaches, including Ryan and McCoy, have taken notice.
"The high school wrestling is really good here," Ryan said. "We love the wrestling in Maryland, and we have done really well with some of the recruits that either came up through high school here like Kyle Snyder, Kevin Snyder among others, and we have a guy who wrestled at a Maryland high school, McDonogh, Myles Martin. We are continuing to recruit this area."
With blue chip recruits, like No. 17 (2018) Aaron Brooks and No. 2 (2019) Kurt McHenry, coming down the pipe in Maryland, McCoy stressed the importance of recruiting his team's home state.
"Recruiting is really important, and we want to get the best guys in the country and obviously we want to keep the best guys in the state at home," McCoy said. "We have made a big effort to get those guys. We went after a bunch of them, and we got a couple. I mean, [Alfred] Bannister, when he came out of high school, was one of the best guys in the state."
Currently there are three wrestlers from Maryland and one Maryland team represented in the InterMat high school rankings. McCoy thinks this is a testament to the advancement of wrestling in the state, and it will continue to improve.
"Maryland has always had a couple of good guys sprinkle in here and there throughout the years, and the last couple years it is just getting better." McCoy continued, "I think it is a credit to all the people in the state who are committed to making wrestling better. I like to hope it is important for us, because we are doing well and the other schools in the state are doing alright, so I think it is a good trend we want to keep on growing."
On instant replay
During the heavyweight match, Kevin Snyder (Ohio State) was in deep on a shot against No. 10 Youssif Hemida (Maryland). The referee awarded a takedown, and Maryland challenged the call. After video review, the replay official ruled that the hip was not down at the time of the takedown call. Thus, the takedown was taken off the scoreboard, and the match was restarted in the neutral position even though Snyder had clearly established control after the referee had awarded the points. Ohio State's coaches were visibly upset with the call during and following the match.
"We are in a state of wrestling that needs serious collaboration among the officials, the coaches and people that use common sense, because with the rules now there is no way an official can manage all the rules there are right now in a split second and what happened tonight is a testament to the problem," Ryan said. "Basically they argued that the ref may have given two a split second early and then we end up riding him, clearly taking him down. They only look at the clip when the two is called, insane. When common sense stops prevailing there is a problem in the world and there's a problem with wrestling right now. So, I am upset about that."
McCoy also explained his decision to challenge the call and his thought on the replay official's decision.
"He put the points up there. We challenged it, because, at the time, when he called the two I didn't think it was two. They reviewed it, and I was right. It kind of stinks, because you never want to have controversy." The coach continued, "What they were arguing, I think, was the action continued so you can't challenge the situation until it completes, which is true, but once you signal the score then that is when the action is completed."