Ohio was ready to participate in its first doubleheader since the ’Boro Duals back in November.
This time, the Bobcats were the host, and they had a perfect opportunity to take down a Mid-American Conference opponent, Northern Illinois, along with South Dakota State. Neither team was going to be a pushover, but Ohio was finally on a roll after a rough start to the season, so it wasn’t counting itself out.
Unfortunately, nearly nothing went the Bobcats’ way on Sunday at The Convo as they were soundly defeated by the Huskies 31-6 and the Jack Rabbits 28-9.
The day couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for Ohio (6-8, 4-4 MAC). After the first four matches against the Huskies, it looked as if the Bobcats were going to make the dual a close one. Ohio was only down 8-6 after victories from No. 16 Shakur Laney (141) and Alec Hagan (149), but those were the only highlights for it against the Huskies.
Not a single Bobcat won for the rest of the dual, and many of the matches were completely lopsided. The most devastating loss was when Joe Terry (165) lost by a technical fall to Izzak Olejnik that gave the Huskies a 17-6 lead.
Not even Jordan Earnest (285), usually one of Ohio’s best wrestlers, could end the dual on a positive note for his team when he lost to Max Ihry 3-2.
Northern Illinois won, but Ohio had one more chance to come away from the day with a victory.
“You have an opportunity to come back and redeem yourself that same day,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “You don’t often have that.”
It’s hard to say that the next dual went much better for Ohio.
The dual against South Dakota State looked nearly identical to the last one. While Laney was able to get another victory, the Bobcats lost five of their first six matches against the Jack Rabbits. While Logan Stanley (174) and Earnest both came away with close victories, they didn’t affect the dual results by much.
The best performance for Ohio came from Laney, who was the only Bobcat to win two matches.
“(Laney) is doing a great job,” Greenlee said. “He’s been consistent all year long. He goes out and does the same thing all year long. He scores points, and he gets wins.”
Ohio will have the following weekend off and then participate in three duals the weekend after that. After the tough losses on Sunday, the bye week is well-timed for the Bobcats.
Greenlee sees only one way to improve after the losses.
“The only way I know how to get better is through hard work,” Greenlee said. “We’ve got to get back the drawing board, work hard and go from there.”
Ohio’s next dual will be against Utah Valley on Feb. 21 at The Convo.