Ohio’s season of Mid-American Conference wrestling has been a bit of roller coaster.
With key victories over rivals Kent State and Eastern Michigan and narrow defeats from the hands of conference powers Central Michigan and Northern Iowa, the Bobcats (9-3) have experienced a little bit of everything in its MAC dual schedule.
All of that will come to a head on Sunday when Old Dominion (7-8) comes to The Convo for Ohio’s final MAC match of the season, but first Ohio will take on Clarion (8-11) on Saturday.
“I think it’s a super important match from the standpoint that it’s the last match we have going into the MAC tournament,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “We have probably two number one seeds on the line, so we have to go into it ready to get the job done.”
Old Dominion enters the weekend as the 27th ranked team in the country, with three individual wrestlers garnering top-20 rankings nationally. The Monarchs began the season with a shaky 3-8 record before its current streak of four straight dual wins brought them back into the national spotlight. Their most recent victory is also their most significant, a 24-7 victory over Central Michigan.
The Monarchs are led by No. 5 Chris Mecate in the 141-pound class, who enters the weekend with a 22-6 record for the season. His matchup with Ohio freshman Noah Forrider (20-13) on Sunday will be a rematch of their previous meeting in the Southern Scuffle, a match that Mecate dominated with a 9-1 major decision.
In addition to Mecate, Old Dominion also has the No. 19 wrestler in the country at 149-pound and the No. 17 wrestler in the 157-pound class. It will be the first time Old Dominion will wrestle Ohio in a dual as a MAC team.
Clarion enters Saturday’s dual coming off of a 28-8 loss to Bloomsburg. It currently owns an 0-3 record on the road, a spell that will be tough to break, as the Bobcats have won seven straight home matches dating back to last season. Clarion is currently 1-2 against the MAC teams it has faced this season.
Ohio rolls into the weekend as the 30th ranked team in the nation. It has four individuals ranked in the nation’s top-20. The Bobcats’ 285-pound redshirt senior Jeremy Johnson (28-4) and 197-pound redshirt sophomore Phil Wellington (25-3) each held onto their No. 11 rankings in the latest polls, while 174-pound redshirt sophomore Cody Walters (8-1) and 149-pound Tywan Claxton (21-4) each fell a spot in the rankings despite 2-0 records last weekend, to No. 10 and No. 15, respectively.
Johnson, Wellington and Claxton will all be chasing an important milestone on Sunday, as they will look to finish the regular season with perfect records against MAC competition. It is the best combined MAC performance between three individuals for Ohio since 2000.
“It’s definitely a sign that we’re going in the right direction with the kids we’re bringing in,” Greenlee said. “Hopefully things continue to go the way we want them to go.”
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
What: Clarion (8-11) at Ohio (9-3)
When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday
What: Old Dominion (7-8) at Ohio
Where: The Convo