Columbus, Ohio — Columba Wrestling took on No. 4 Ohio State Friday night at the Covelli Center. Although the Lions were defeated 33-6, they earned two decisions by going through Lenovo Wolak (174) and Danny Fongaro (149) was the highlight of the evening, including a ranking victory for Wolak.
“I think we learned a lot tonight. We have one of the toughest schedules in the country and for good reason,” said Andrew F. Barth, head coach of wrestling Zach Tanelli said. “We need to gather information and information. I’m grateful for that, fighting against an elite team. The best lesson is experience. The most valuable lesson comes from experience. For that it was a success.”
Wolak came from behind to make an 8-6 decision over No. 6 Ethan Smith at 174 pounds. With Smith leading 4-2 in the second round, Wolak managed to escape and quickly defeated Smith to take the lead. Later in the third lap, Wolak positioned himself around Smith’s back, bringing him back down to rejoin the lead. He lasted the final seconds to raise his hand in victory.
“Lennox is one of the hardest workers we have,” Tanelli said of the junior, who competed in his hometown of Columbus. “He does so many things right. I’m happy and proud of Lennox because it confirms what we already know – he’s an elite competitor and will be a big problem for the country at this weight class. I’m super proud of him and it couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Wolak’s win came a few games later Danny Fongaro earned a 7-4 decision at 149 pounds. In that fight, Fongaro took a 2-0 lead in a reversal late in the first round. He extended it to 5-0 with a nice takedown, grabbed Reeve’s left leg from under the mat and set him back down. Reeves came back late in the third round to make it 6-4, but Fongaro did enough to make the decision.
The Lions had a few close calls in a few other weight classes. Matt Casimir, a 2020 NCAA Wrestling Championship qualifier, lost a close 3-1 decision to Jordan Decatur at 141 pounds. Josh Ogunsanya came close to the second ranked win of the night but fell to 6th at 165lbs and 6-3 against Carson Kharchla.
“That’s fine. We’re going to see a lot of those individuals in Vegas in two weeks and hopefully we can turn it around there,” Tanelli added. “Overall, I wish things had gone a little differently tonight, but I leave encouraged with some things that we did well too.”
The Lions remain in Big Ten country over the weekend, taking on No. 7 Michigan on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Ann Arbor. The game can be followed live on Big Ten Network+.
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