Ohio is two days removed from its final Mid-American Conference dual of the season and two weeks away from wrestling in the MAC Tournament, which has created a sort of dull space that could cause complacency and a drop in focus for many teams.
The Bobcats insist, however, that they will not be one of those teams.
“Our theme in a way is still to go out and dominate,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “If you look at the last two weekends, from Clarion and Old Dominion to West Virginia, you could see that the big difference was we went out and attacked West Virginia, and good things happened. We’re gonna build off that and try to do it again this weekend.”
On Sunday, Ohio (11-4) will host a tri-meet against Gardner-Webb and Cleveland State, which will begin the day by wrestling each other at noon. The Bobcats will then take on Gardner-Webb at 1:30 p.m. and finish by wrestling Cleveland State at 3 p.m. It will be the Bobcats’ last duals of the season.
Ohio enters the weekend coming off a 26-19 win at home against West Virginia, in which it recorded one pin and totaled three major decisions. Ohio is ranked 29th in the country and still owns four wrestlers ranked among the nation’s top-20 in their respective classes.
The highest-ranked is 197-pound redshirt sophomore Phil Wellington, who moved up in the rankings for the second straight week. Against West Virginia, No. 8. Wellington notched a dominating 17-3 major decision and owns an eight-match win streak dating back to New Year’s Day.
“It shows that someone recognizes the hard work I’ve been putting in,” Wellington said. “I’m excited about it, but it really all comes down to how I wrestle. Right now I’m trying to focus on staying healthy and staying positive.”
Another wrestler set to continue a hot streak is No. 11 redshirt senior Jeremy Johnson in the 285-pound class. Similar to Wellington, Johnson’s last loss came Jan. 1 at the Southern Scuffle, but his win streak sits at ten matches. He also enters Sunday with a perfect 16-0 in duals this season.
Cody Walters, 174-pound redshirt sophomore, and 149-pound Tywan Claxton also have places in the national rankings, sitting at No. 14 and No. 18, respectively.
Gardner-Webb comes into the weekend with a 6-13 record, while Cleveland State sits at 2-10. The teams are a combined 0-4 against MAC teams this season.
Ohio finishing its dual season does not mean its remaining matches are meaningless. Each individual wrestler is still vying for seeding in the conference and national tournaments, while also helping the team finish with the best record possible.
“We stress coaching each guy as an individual,” Greenlee said. “If each guy goes out and does what they need to do, the team aspect will take care of itself.
The thing we want to try to figure is what we’re going to do about bonus points and falls and things like that.”