Ohio got just the early-season jolt it wanted Saturday when it saw five Bobcat wrestlers place in the top five of their respective divisions at the Michigan State Open.
That group included one champion, redshirt sophomore Phil Wellington, who went 4-0 on the day to secure the 197-pound open division title.
“Phil looked awesome,” Ohio coach Joel Greenlee said. “I think he looked the best he’s ever looked, and he just gets better every time he steps on the mat. We had great matches and great results today, everyone looked like they were in good shape.”
Wellington got a strong start to the day by pinning Indiana’s T.J. Hohenadel in the first round. In the next round, he posted a major decision over Indiana Tech’s Kelvin Jordan before defeating Northern Illinois’ Shawn Scott in the third round. He finished the day by downing Braden Atwood from Purdue with a final score of 6-3.
Finishing runner-up in the 149-pound division was junior Tywan Claxton, who ended the day with a 3-1 record. Claxton cruised through his first three matches, beginning with a victory over Purdue’s Brandon Nelson. He went on to defeat Neal Molloy of Indiana and Ian Paddock of Ohio State in the next two rounds.
Claxton dropped the title match to Ohio State’s two-time All-American Hunter Stieber by a final score of 9-4.
“I though Tywan Claxton did a phenomenal job against a two-time All-American,” Greenlee said. “In all honesty, I wasn’t surprised. He’s got the talent to get it done just like all of our guys. I was pleased, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Redshirt junior Harrison Hightower went 4-1 on the day to earn a fifth place finish in the 165-pound division. Also going 4-1 were redshirt sophomore Spartak Chino and redshirt senior Jeremy Johnson in the 157-pound and 285-pound divisions, respectively. Chino and Johnson each took home third place finishes.
“Jeremy did a great job, he was in a position to win the match and it just didn’t go his way,” Greenlee said. “I think even in a loss, it was a little bit of a confidence boost for him. It could have just as easily gone our way and we could have seen Jeremy win the tournament.”
Highly-touted redshirt sophomore Cody Walters did not compete on Saturday due to concerns that he was not 100% healthy.
The tournament featured 500 wrestlers from a total of 28 schoo