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Wrestling: Bobcats dominate early to defeat West Virginia


After snapping a season-long home winning streak last Sunday, Ohio was eager to prove quickly that they could still dominate in The Convo.

It followed through on that challenge at Sunday’s Senior Day match, opening up a significant early lead and holding on to defeat West Virginia 26-19.

"I think it was a great dual for us,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “Some of those matchups were toss-ups. We didn't have a starter in there at 174, and 184 wrestled a great match for us. It was exciting, I thought we wrestled well.”

Ohio (11-4, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) had its foot on the accelerator from the first whistle. Redshirt sophomore Spartak Chino began the day in style in 157-pound match, notching takedown after takedown to earn a 12-4 major decision.

Junior Harrison Hightower ended his 165-pound match in style as well, but in much quicker fashion. Hightower pinned the Mountaineers’ Ross Renzi in just one minute, 39 seconds. It was his 14th pin of the season, which ranks third among all Division I wrestlers.

Following a brief hiccup at the 174-pound class, where Marshall Willet suffered a first period fall, Ohio got right back at West Virginia with a 9-6 decision by 184-pound Ryan Garringer, which snapped a three-match losing streak for the redshirt senior.

Redshirt sophomore Phil Wellington breezed through his 197-pound match with a dominating 17-3 victory over Leo Trindade. Heavyweight redshirt senior Jeremy Johnson then shut down defending Big 12 wrestler of the week A.J. Vizcarrondo with an 11-0 major decision that ended with Vizcarrondo being disqualified, after the Mountaineer heavyweight racked up five stalling points.

“His strategy was probably to go out and give up as few points as he could,” Johnson said. “I go out there with the mentality to wrestle as hard as I can. He didn’t want any part of it.”

Sophomore KeVon Powell brought his record back to .500 on the season with a 6-5 decision over the Mountaineers’ Cory Stainbrook in the 125-pound match.

Powell earned the decision by getting a takedown as time expired in the third period, getting a six-point swing in favor of the Bobcats that put the Mountaineers in a 26-6 hole.

Powell’s victory was the last one Ohio would get in the afternoon, with West Virginia coming back to win the last three matches of the dual. Two of those wins came against non-starters for the Bobcats, while the third was a 6-4 loss by 149-pound junior Tywan Claxton. It was Claxton’s second straight loss following an eight match winning streak.

“He needs to think about going out and dominating,” Greenlee said. “You look at that match, he wasn’t worried, and was just looking to score when he could score. The other guy snuck a takedown in at the end. We can’t wait around. If you can dominate somebody, dominate.”

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