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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Top-Ranked 126 lber Davino Picks Ohio State

    Ben Davino at the 2022 Super 32 (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    Ohio State’s Class of 2024 got a huge commitment this evening as #9 overall Ben Davino (St. Charles, IL) gave a verbal to Tom Ryan’s team. In February, Davino won his second consecutive Illinois 3A state championship. The most recent title came at 126 lbs, while he took the 120 lb title in 2022.

    Last summer, Davino took home a stop sign from Fargo, winning a 16U national title in freestyle at 126 lbs. He solidified his top-billing at the weight class by downing Princeton recruit Marc-Anthony McGowan (Blair Academy, NJ) 6-3 at the preseason Who’s #1 dual meet. A couple of months later, Davino earned a championship belt by winning the Super 32. Early in his junior season, Davino held off McGowan in the Walsh Ironman finals, 2-0 to win the nation’s toughest in-season tournament. The previous year, Davino was an Ironman finalist at 120 lbs.

    Another significant national placement for Davino is a third-place finish in 2022 at 55 kg at the UWW Cadet World Team Trials.

    Davino will join a revamped set of lightweights in the Buckeye room. Longtime starter Malik Heinselman is out of eligibility at 125 lbs and Andre Gonzales, a redshirt sophomore, looks like the early starter. The Buckeyes also have a strong incoming freshman in three-time Pennsylvania state champion, Vinny Kilkeary, who projects at 125 lbs. Should Davino grow into a 133 lber, he’ll be the mix with Jesse Mendez and Nic Bouzakis. Mendez AA’ed as a true freshman and Bouzakis redshirted. We’re under the assumption that one of the two will eventually go 141 lbs. That’s a long way of saying, there doesn’t appear to be an immediate need at 125/133 lbs for the Buckeyes; however, 125 is a difficult weight to fill and you’d love to have a recruit of Davino’s caliber.

    In the latest set of national rankings released by MatScouts this morning, Davino comes ranked #1 at 126 lbs and #9 on the Big Board.

    Davino joins Ohio state champion #109 Ethan Birden (Dublin Coffman, OH) as Buckeye recruits from the Class of 2024.

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