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Ohio University redshirt senior Ryan Garringer is pushed down to the mat by Eastern Michigan University redshirt senior Phillip Joseph. The Bobcats defeated the Eagles 22-13 during their meet at the Convocation Center on Sunday, January 19, 2014. (ISAAC HALE | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Wrestling: Ohio preparing for Kent State matchup

Last weekend Ohio found disappointment and triumph on the mats, as it dropped a dual meet to rival Central Michigan before returning to Athens to defeat Eastern Michigan.

However, the Bobcats (6-2, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) will now turn their attention to arguably the biggest rivalry on their schedule, Kent State (8-6, 2-0 MAC), which Ohio will meet in Athens on Friday.

“I’m excited for Kent State to come into town,” redshirt senior heavyweight Jeremy Johnson said. “It’s a longtime rivalry with them. We don’t like them, they don’t like us, and they’re going to come in here and try to beat us. We better be ready to go.”

Johnson, who’s ranked No. 11 in the country in the 285-pound class, is one of the hottest wrestlers for the Bobcats heading into this weekend’s competition. He will enter with a 24-3 record and consecutive falls in his last three matches. Johnson is also tied with redshirt junior Harrison Hightower for the team lead in pins with nine.

Johnson is one of four Bobcats who have maintained spots in the national rankings this week.

No. 11 Phil Wellington, a 197-pound redshirt sophomore, and No. 15 Tywan Claxton, a 149-pound junior, each held on to the same rankings they held a week ago after each wrestler went 2-0 in last weekend’s duals.

Meanwhile, 174-pound redshirt sophomore Cody Walters (4-1) fell two spots to No. 9 after losing for the first time this season last Friday.

Kent State will enter this Friday’s dual with three wrestlers ranked in the top 20, including No. 6 Ian Miller, a 197-pound wrestler. He will enter the dual with an 18-3 record for the season, but is coming off of a match against Virginia Tech’s Sal Mastriani in which he was pinned just one minute into the contest.

Joining Miller on the national radar for the Golden Flashes is 133-pound Mack McGwire (No. 18) and 184-pound Sam Wheeler (No. 14).

As a team, Kent State enters the dual coming off of a home win against North Carolina State. It has defeated No. 23 Old Dominion and Buffalo in its only two MAC duals of the season. Five of the Flashes’ six total losses this season came in the Virginia Tech duals and Virginia duals, and their one remaining loss was against No. 10 Ohio State.

“We’re going to get a good week of practice in, keep our weight under control, and go out and have fun on Friday night,” coach Joel Greenlee said.

Up next:

Who: Ohio (6-2, 2-2 MAC) vs. Kent State (8-6, 2-0 MAC)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Admission: Free for students

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