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Ohio University redshirt junior Andrew Romanchik grapples withUniversity of Northern Iowa junior Cody Caldwell. The Bobcats defeated the Panthers 20-18 at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, on Friday, February 6, 2015. 

Wrestling: Despite Disappointing Finish, Ohio Poised For Success Next Year

With multiple returning seniors, Ohio is poised to make their way back to the NCAA Tournament next year.

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Tywan Claxton remembers every detail of the match that eliminated him from the NCAA Championships.

He led Lock Haven’s Daniel Neff 5-4 with seconds left on the clock. Claxton was on his way to his first-ever All-American honors at the Division I level, but then Neff pulled a move Claxton was not expecting — a two-point reversal that eliminated Claxton from the tournament.

“There was ten seconds left,” the 149-pound junior recalls, “I picked up an ankle, he came up to his feet, wrapped an arm on my waist, and went for a mat return. Textbook wrestling, it’s what you’re supposed to do. He just weaseled his way out and ended up on top.”

Fortunately for he and his teammates, that is most certainly not the last shot for him, as well as several other Bobcats, to earn All-American honors.

Of the six national qualifiers, at least four of them will return as seniors to next year’s squad. Claxton is filing an appeal to the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility.

Spartak Chino (157), Cody Walters (174), Andrew Romanchik (184) and Phil Wellington (197) will be those who are guaranteed to return next year as seniors.

“It’s a good place to start,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “I think it’s a good place to build. It was Romanchik’s first trip to the national tournament. I think that it’s exciting and makes you want to get back. It gives you something to build on. It gives you something to work for in the offseason. It’s unbelievable important to get there. After that, you can look forward to getting on the podium.”

The podium at the NCAA Championships is always the ultimate goal for the Bobcats, but the return of possibly five seniors will help solidify their lineup during regular season play.

Their main problem this year was replacing starters in their lineup who were dealing with injuries. The return of wrestlers like 125-pound KeVon Powell and 133-pound Kagan Squire from injury will most certainly help that problem.

Austin Reese, a 165-pound true freshman, will most likely replace departing senior Harrison Hightower.

Greenlee and the rest of his staff will keep on building onto next year’s roster as they hit the recruiting trail this offseason, something they’ve already done since nationals ended.

“We really need to get cranked up recruiting, as far as recruiting juniors and recruiting incoming freshman for next year as well,” Greenlee said. “ We went to the Ohio state tournament and the high school national tournament this weekend. We’re really focusing on recruiting.”

Even with a handful of young guys joining the roster next year, Greenlee isn’t sure which one of his seniors will assume the leadership next role.

He says that each of his seniors — who are also team captains — bring different qualities to the starting lineup.

Communication, however, may not be one of those qualities.

“I don’t know if we have a single guy that’s a stands out vocal person and everybody is going to be behind that guy,” Greenlee said.

The lack of a spoken leader may not be a bad thing for the Bobcats though, as it may create the opportunity for more than one leader to bring their attributes to the table;

Greenlee is fine with that.

“It takes a lot more than one guy to get us to where we want to go.”

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