Big Ten Wrestling: Buckeyes to Face NU Here in Lakewood

Junior Kevin Lenahan fights against getting pinned in his first match
Lakewood has hosted numerous major sporting events over the years. However, on Sunday February 4th, something new will come to town. Ohio State University will be hosting Northwestern University in a collegiate dual wrestling meet at St. Edward High School at 2 p.m. This is the first-ever Big Ten athletic event ever held in Lakewood, and it features two programs from collegiate wrestling’s most prestigious conference.

Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan credits St. Edward varsity coach Greg Urbas for bringing the event to Lakewood. “Coach Urbas reached out to us about wrestling a college match at St. Eds” says Ryan, “Coach is willing to do anything possible to promote the sport of wrestling”. Ryan, currently in his first year at Ohio State, liked the idea of coming to Lakewood. This area is widely considered to have the best high school wrestling in the country, and is a prime recruiting ground for collegiate wrestling coaches. Ryan hopes to showcase OSU’s program to Cleveland area fans and wrestlers in the hopes that it will further boost OSU recruiting.

The meet will be a homecoming for many wrestlers on both teams, including five former St. Edward wrestlers. Ohio State features five Cleveland area wrestlers, including former Eagles Chris Vanduskra (a senior 165 pounder) and Lance Palmer (a freshman 149 pounder). Within the Big Ten, Vandruska and Palmer are ranked third and seventh in their respective weight classes. Northwestern, whose program is ranked in the top ten nationally, features three former Eagles. Kevin Sulzer (133 lbs.) and Kyle Bertin (157 lbs.) are both freshmen. Junior Ryan Lang (141 lbs.) is ranked first in his class and is a favorite to win the NCAA title in March. Coach Ryan says his former Eagles are excited to be coming back to St. Edward. “They both have very strong feelings about their experience at St.Eds academically, athletically and socially.”

The match will be a major challenge for OSU, as Northwestern features one of the top teams in the entire country. “They are a quality team with several outstanding individuals” says Ryan, “we will have to wrestle extremely well to beat Northwestern.” In addition to Ryan Lang, NU has another wrestler ranked first in his weight class. Junior Jake Herbert went 36-1 last season, losing only in the NCAA championship final. He is currently undefeated this season.

The event will bring a lot of excitement to Lakewood. “The gym holds 2,000 people and we expect it to be a packed” says Ryan. Mayor Tom George has even declared February 4th “OSU Wrestling Day” in Lakewood. “Thanks to St. Edward High School for hosting this event” says George, an OSU alum and lifelong Buckeye fan, “clearly St. Edward's reputation is countrywide and this key wrestling matchup is further proof of the respect St. Edward’s wrestling program enjoys.” Tickets, which cost $8 for adults and $5 for kids, still remain for the event. To purchase tickets, contact the OSU ticket office at 1-800-GOBUCKS


Of course, St. Edward isn’t the only wrestling program in town. The Lakewood High School varsity wrestling team won two matches on January 12, beating Lutheran West 58-16 and Westerville North 38-30 at the Lakewood High School gym. This pushed the team’s record to 8-1 on the season. The Rangers were led by 103 lb. sophomore Christian Cerda-Smith, 125 lb. sophomore Tony Sclimenti, 130 lb. junior Pat Duffy, 140 lb. sophomore Peti "The Hungarian Hammer" Tapolyai, 160 lb. junior Vinny Fox and 189 lb. sophomore Madhi Doud. Each of these wrestlers went 2-0 on the day. The Westerville North match came down to the final bout at 103 pounds. Lakewood 's Christian Cerda-Smith dominated the match winning 7-0 and giving the Rangers the 38-30 victory. Other big matches for the Rangers were 215 lb. Gahad Suleiman getting a first period pin and sophomore 189 Madhi Doud edging out a 5-4 decision. To learn more about the LHS wrestling program, visit their website at


Lakewood High Sschool girls basketball player Kayla Kovach has become the second leading scorer in program history, surpassing Ranger legend Summer Erb. Erb, who led the team to a 26-1 record and the state championship game in 1995, scored a total of 955 points in her Lakewood career. Erb went on to star at North Carolina State University, and had a three year career in the WNBA. Kovach, currently a senior, surpassed Erb during the January 6th game against Shaker Heights. "Her accomplishments are a result of her hard work, dedication, and desire to be the best she can be” says LHS coach Nicole Anderson. Kovach has signed a letter of intent to play Division I college ball at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. Danielle Mueller remains the leading scorer in LHS history, with a career total of 1,179 points.
Read More on Sports
Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 4:04 PM, 01.17.07