Friday’s home match against Old Dominion carries potential implications in the Mid-American Conference standings and NCAA Tournament berths, for both the Bobcats and the Monarchs.
After the MAC coaches voted, Ohio had six wrestlers ranked in the top four of their weight class to ODU’s seven.
Four of these wrestlers from each team are set to face each other Friday night, which will greatly affect the standings headed into the MAC tournament.
125- No. 1 Shakur Laney (Ohio) vs. No. 2 Michael McGee (ODU)
This may be the most intriguing matchup of the weekend, as both wrestlers are poised to win the conference.
Laney (11-5) is the favorite in this match over McGee (20-4) as these two have already met this season. In November, Laney took a 4-2 decision victory at the Navy Classic.
McGee, however, has the edge against common opponents with a 14-6 record to Laney’s 11-6. This should be a good match, and likely a precursor to the MAC Championship in March.
141- No. 4 Cam Kelly (Ohio) vs. No. 3 Sa’Derian Perry (ODU)
This match will be pivotal for both Kelly and Perry, since there are only three spots for MAC wresters in the 141-weight class at the national championships.
There is also something more on the line for Kelly, as he looks to keep his undefeated season within the MAC. Kelly is 4-0 in the MAC this season, and Perry is just 3-3.
While these two have never wrestled, over their careers Kelly is 20-8 against common opponents while Perry is just 7-14. Perry boasts an overall 18-4 record this season, while Kelly is 10-2.
149- No. 2 Alec Hagan (Ohio) vs. No. 4 Kevin Budock (ODU)
Hagan and Budock are the two wrestlers that have crossed paths the least. They have never met, and against common opponents Hagan is 4-3, while Budock is 4-1.
Budock has wrestled much more this season, though, holding a 20-13 record to Hagan’s 13-9.
This match will be very important for Hagan, especially as he looks to hold his position in the MAC as a national qualifier. A win would most certainly put him one step closer to that.
157- No. 3 Zac Carson (Ohio) vs. No. 2 Larry Early (ODU)
While this will be the first time the two juniors meet, they have their fair share of common opponents. In their career’s, Carson is 16-9, and Early is 22-9 facing shared opponents.
Both will be looking to stay in position for national qualifying, since the NCAA will allow 3 wrestlers in the 157- weight class to attend the championships this year in Pittsburgh.
Early’s 16-4 record makes him almost exactly even with Carson at 16-5. This may be one of the closest matches of the day, and it could be the most important for each team’s success.
Also placing in the top four of the MAC for Ohio are No. 2 Mario Guillen (133) and No. 4 Colt Yinger (165).
Ohio’s match against ODU will be the penultimate home match of the season, with the final coming the next day against Southern Illinois- Edwardsville.