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Wrestling: Chance to end Championship drought motivates Ohio

Every day since Ohio's last match, Joel Greenlee has thought about the possibility of his team winning a Mid-American Conference title. Not winning one in 10 years will do that to a coach.

While the Bobcats are wrestling Eastern Michigan Sunday afternoon, an equally important match will take place hundreds of miles away. Ohio (9-6, 3-1 MAC) can tie for a regular-season MAC championship with a win over the Eagles, but only if Kent State also loses to Central Michigan.

In that scenario, the Bobcats would share the conference title with the Golden Flashes, who squashed Ohio's chances at an outright championship last weekend with a 30-6 dual meet victory over Ohio.

Needless to say, the thought of even tying for their first conference crown since 2001 has the coaches and wrestlers excited.

"It's in my mind every day," Greenlee said. "(The Golden Flashes) are worried about it. They don't think they match up very well with Central. For whatever the reason is, they don't seem very confident about it."

The Bobcats had five wrestlers, including a MAC champion and an All-American, go to the NCAA Championships last season. But the team hasn't won at the MAC Championships since the last year it won a regular-season title in 2001.

Greenlee would like his wrestlers to get a taste of team success. He said not winning a MAC title for so long makes him want it more.

"I want the guys on our team to feel that feeling," Greenlee said. "It's a pretty special feeling to win a MAC Championship, whether it's a regular-season title or a tournament title.

The coach's best memories from his college wrestling days at Northern Iowa were reveling in how his team did rather than how he placed individually.

"I really want these guys to feel that way," Greenlee said.

Greenlee said winning a regular-season title and a tournament title have different meanings.

Winning the MAC Championships requires only a few wrestlers to get hot at the right time, but a regular-season title says more about who had the best overall team.

"You have injuries and illness and everything else over the course of the season," Greenlee said. "And you still got it done over the course of three months. That's pretty special to me."

nm256306@ohiou.edu

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