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Ohio University redshirt junior Andrew Romanchik grapples with University of Northern Iowa junior Cody Caldwell. The Bobcats defeated the Panthers 20-18 at The Convo Feb. 6, 2015.

Wrestling: Ohio learns over winter break

Cody Walters won the Ken Kraft Midlands Tournament, the first individual wrestler to win for Ohio. 

Three days.

That’s how long the Ohio wrestling team had off to celebrate the holiday season with their families.

Then it was back to the daily grind of preparation to compete in tournaments and dual meets. 

From Dec. 11 to Jan. 7, Ohio competed in the Midland Tournament, and dual meets against the University of Missouri and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The debacle 

Redshirt senior Phil Wellington was treated with a concussion at the match where Ohio lost to Missouri 27-9 on Sunday, Dec. 13 to open up MAC play. He went on to win off of a disqualification after an illegal slam out of bounds committed by No. 2 ranked J’den Cox.

“In my head I’m thinking I am going to beat this kid,” Wellington said. “In the second he does the illegal move, and I can’t finish the match. After that I went into the locker room, and I don't really remember that much." 

Redshirt senior Spartak Chino was the only other Bobcat to win, beating Luke Fortuna in a 4-3 decision.

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Getting back on track

Ohio put itself back on track in style on Dec. 18 at Tennessee Chattanooga. It won six out of the 10 matches, led by freshmen Cam Kelly and Shakur Laney. 

Laney beat Alonzo Allen in an 11-8 decision, while Kelly won in a 7-6 decision over Cody Hill. 

Sophomore Jesse Webb lost in a major decision 11-0 to Jared Johnson, but looked at the match as a learning opportunity.

“Winter break gives us a good opportunity to focus in on wrestling,” Webb said. “Even with a loss over break like Chattanooga, I can go back to practice and fix those mistakes.”

Walters brings home the gold

Over the break, Ohio had the opportunity to participate in the Ken Kraft Midlands Tournament. 

From a young age redshirt senior Cody Walters has always wanted to win the Midlands, and he accomplished the feat this year, becoming the first-ever Bobcat to win an individual title at the tournament. 

“Going into the tournament I was nervous and anxious,” Walters said. “It’s a tournament that you hear about since you're a little kid, and it's one of the most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country.”

On day one, Walters won three straight with a combined score of 27-2, earning him a spot in the semifinals in the 174 Ibs bracket.

In the semifinals, he matched up against top-seeded Alex Meyer of Iowa in a 3-1 decision. 

In the finals, Walters beat Princeton’s Jonathan Schlepper 1-0. With the win he secured the title and was named MAC co-wrestler of the week. 

“I just wanted to make a statement,” Walters said on the victory. “I’m here and I’m a new person. I’m not the same kid from the beginning of the year, it takes some time to get adjusted to my weight. After I won, it was a pretty incredible feeling.” 


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