Tom Ryan got his traffic jam.
The Ohio State wrestling coach said when he arrived in Columbus in 2006, he dreamed of a backup of cars on Route 315 waiting to exit onto Lane Avenue for a dual meet at Value City Arena.
Fans continued pouring into the arena minutes after the No. 4 Buckeyes began their dual meet with No. 2 Penn State, and by night’s end the upper bowl was nearly filled. An announced attendance of 15,338 shattered an Ohio State wrestling record, but it was a footnote to a meet dominated by the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State got a technical fall from 133-pounder Nathan Tomasello and a major decision from heavyweight Kyle Snyder on Friday night but dropped seven of 10 matches in a 32-12 loss in the Big Ten.
“People in this state are gritty and they’re tough people and they love the sport of wrestling. It’s one of the elite (wrestling) states in the country,” Ryan said. “I wish our performance was better. We had a great opportunity there to have some people leaving and talking about how elite the wrestling program is. They saw some elite. They saw a handful of guys that were elite, but they also saw some guys that just have to improve and get better.”
Jose Rodriguez lost by technical fall to Penn State freshman Nick Suriano at 125 pounds, and Ohio State (8-2, 4-2) fell into a 5-0 hole.
That was quickly negated by top-ranked Nathan Tomasello at 133. The two-time All-American didn’t allow Penn State’s George Carpenter any breathing room, surging to a 14-4 lead after one period before scoring a 22-7 technical fall midway through the third.
The Buckeyes then dropped six straight matches — by decision at 141 and 184 pounds, major decision at 165, technical fall at 149 and fall at 157 and 174 — before a third-period escape and takedown earned Ohio State’s Kollin Moore a win at 197 pounds over Matt McCutcheon.
Top-ranked Bo Jordan (174) was held out of the meet with an ankle injury.
Before the heavyweight match, the darkened arena was illuminated by cell phone lights. Kyle Snyder, who didn’t travel with the Buckeyes to Iowa last Friday as he wrestled his way to gold at the Ivan Yarygin Golden Grand Prix in Russia, received a warm welcome back before earning a 19-9 major decision over No. 3 Nick Nevills of Penn State (11-0, 7-0).
Snyder said he’s more motivated by his own ambitions than by attendance, but appreciated the showing as a sort of show-and-tell.
“I love wrestling and I like to score points,” he said. “I want people, Buckeye Nation, to know how hard I work and kind of paint them an image of the suffering that I put myself through and the coaches put me through.”