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Wrestling: Ohio tops Eastern Michigan, responds from Friday loss

Following a tough road loss against one of Ohio's biggest rivals on its schedule, the Bobcats were in need of an opportunity to bounce back.

That opportunity presented itself rather quickly, putting the Bobcats back on their home mat just two days later.

On Sunday, Ohio (6-2, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) was able to take advantage of that opportunity, defeating Eastern Michigan 22-13.

“It’s nice to get back on the winning track,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “I still think we left points out there, but overall it wasn’t a bad performance. We really tried to dominate. I saw us get a lot more first takedowns today than I saw against Central Michigan.”

Ohio looked toward its middle weights to set the tone for the match early, as No. 15 ranked 149-pound junior Tywan Claxton and 157-pound redshirt sophomore Spartak Chino each earned one-point decisions and gave the Bobcats an early 6-0 lead. Claxton improved to 17-4 on the season while Chino moved to 12-6.

Eastern Michigan was able to secure a pair of wins in the next three matches to keep the dual close with a 9-6 score entering the two heaviest classes. That is where, as they have many times before, the Bobcats took advantage of their chance to pad their lead.

No. 13 ranked 197-pound redshirt sophomore Phil Wellington went out and dominated his match, securing takedown after takedown en route to a 13-4 major decision over one of Eastern Michigan’s most prolific wrestlers, Nick Whitenburg. Wellington’s record improves to 22-2.

After Wellington’s match, No. 11 ranked 285-pound redshirt senior Jeremy Johnson turned the momentum for the Bobcats up even higher, pinning the Eagles’ Khodar Hoballah in 5:31 and extending Ohio’s lead to 19-6. It was Johnson’s team-high 24th win of the season and his third consecutive fall.

“I know my team depends on me to go out and get those bonus points,” Johnson said. “Today, I felt like if Phil (Wellington) and I picked up those bonus points, we would win. When you’re wrestling in a close dual such as this one, and the one we had on Friday, the bonus points are really key.”

Eastern Michigan attempted a small comeback after that, earning a major decision and a decision in the next two matches to shorten the Bobcats’ lead to 19-13. However, 141-pound true freshman Noah Forrider was able to seal the deal with a 5-2 decision.

“(Forrider)’s been getting better every week,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome to see a true freshman go out there and win. I was proud of him, he stuck to his game plan.”

Eastern Michigan entered Sunday’s dual on a three-match losing streak after starting the season 8-1. The loss drops their record to 8-5, with a 1-2 mark in the MAC.

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