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Tywan Claxton waits for time to run out in his match on February 23, 2014. The Bobcats defeated Garnder Webb University in the Convo. 

Wrestling: Filled with optimism, Ohio Set to Battle NIU and Buffalo this Weekend

Despite having just one conference this season, Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee is confident that the Bobcats can make up some ground in the MAC

Despite Ohio having just one Mid-American Conference win on the season, coach Joel Greenlee couldn’t be more confident heading into Friday’s dual against Northern Illinois.

Greenlee looks at NIU’s schedule, which he pointed out is significantly weaker than that of Ohio’s. The Huskies (8-8, 0-2 MAC) have lost three of the four of their latest duals, with their lone win coming against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Ohio’s four total losses have come against three of the top four teams in the conference with the fourth coming against the Michigan.

Greenlee also makes note of his team’s latest performance where they defeated Eastern Michigan, 20-15. He said that although the team struggled against Central Michigan and Kent State, they do have the track record to perform very well.

“There were some bright spots against Central [Michigan] and there are some bright spots against Kent State,” Greenlee said, “But overall it wasn’t our best performance. We havehad some great performances. We had a great performance at Navy [Classics] and we had great performances at Reno [Tournament of Champions]. It’s time for us to come back and really do some damage in these next two duals.”

His confidence doesn’t show just in his starting ten, but throughout the depth of their roster. Ohio (5-4, 1-3 MAC) has struggled with injuries to starters such as 125-pound junior KeVon Powell and 133-pound junior Kagan Squire, but Greenlee knows that the Bobcats have the depth to replace those wrestlers.

“At 125, [redshirt freshman] Zak Hassan has stepped up and done a great job,” Greenlee said. “[Redshirt freshman Joel] Shump just stepped up and beat a great guy from Kent State and then followed up with a pretty good performance at Eastern [Michigan]. I think all our guys are coming into their own a little bit and getting comfortable. Zak didn’t have a lot of experience as far as varsity matches and things like that. Shump didn’t have a lot of varsity experience. [133-pound freshman Josh] Parrett had zero varsity experience and I think he wrestled a pretty darn good guy on Sunday and had a great match.”

After Friday’s match, the Bobcats will head back to The Convo on Sunday for a dual against Buffalo, which sits last in the MAC. Despite the Bulls’ lackluster standing, Greenlee wants to take the schedule one dual at a time.

“We don’t want to concentrate on Northern [Illinois] and overlook Buffalo,” Greenlee said. “I think you take them one at a time and you focus on individual matchups. We build on what we’ve got going so far.”

The Bobcats have a huge chance to make up some crucial ground in the Mid-American Conference standings. They currently sit fifth in the conference, but with a match against the bottom two teams. The Bobcats have a chance to make up some ground.

Advancing through the standings will be critical to Greenlee’s ultimate goal, which has remained constant throughout the Bobcats’ up-and-down season.

But, Greenlee has a new goal for Ohio: Win out.

“We want to win the MAC Championship, we want to send guys to the National Tournament, and then we want to be All-Americans,” Greenlee said. “I think the goal for us right now is that we want to win out in duals. We think we’re pretty good.”


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