Jesse Mendez Has Arrived – Relive His Breakout MSU Open

Jesse Mendez had a breakout performance in his first college open tournament for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The true freshman won first place at the Michigan State Open on Saturday and recorded two ranked wins on the day in the process – most notably in the finals over 2-time All-American #5 Lucas Byrd (Illinois). Though it’s only early in the season, Mendez is clearly one of the best wrestlers in the country at 133 pounds. Check out a full recap below, with videos, of Mendez’s performance at the Michigan State Open.

Mendez opened his tournaments with two, dominant wins against Michigan’s Wilfried Tanefeu and Cleveland State’s Cody Moosman. Against Tanefeu, Mendez showed off his high-powered offense with 3 takedowns and two, 4-point turns en route to a 17-2 tech fall win. Then against Moosman, Mendez again racked up the takedowns (6 total), before ending the match in the second period with a pin. Check out those matches below.

Mendez’s win over Tanefeu:

Mendez’s win over Moosman:

Those two wins set up a semi-final match against #19 ranked Haiden Drury – a national qualifier last year for Utah Valley. In their semi-final bout, Mendez controlled Drury from start to finish securing takedowns in the first and second periods while adding a riding time point. In the end, Mendez cruised to a controlling 5-0 decision. 

Mendez’s win over Drury:

Mendez ended his day with his ultimate test against #5 Lucas Byrd – a 2-time All-American for Illinois. For the past two seasons, Byrd has established himself as one of the best 133-pound wrestlers in the country placing 5th at the NCAA tournament in both 2021 and 2022. Their finals match was a tight battle coming down to the final seconds of the match. After a scoreless first period, the two traded escapes to make the score 1-1 late in the third. Then with 10 seconds left, Mendez worked his way to a front head-lock position and secured the match-winning takedown with a whip over to Byrd’s back as the two went out of bounds. Check out their thrilling first place match below:

While it’s early in the season, Jesse Mendez’s performance in East Lansing shows he’s ready to challenge, and beat, the best wrestlers in the country at 133 pounds right now. And lucky for Ohio State fans, they won’t have to wait long to see Mendez back in action against top competition. This Friday, November 11, Mendez is set to take on Virginia Tech’s #10 Sam Latona when the Buckeyes welcome the Hokies to Columbus for a dual. Latona was an All-American in 2021 and should be another exciting challenge for the true freshman Mendez.

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