Ohio may have lost, but its dual meet against Kent State was one that redshirt freshman Jordan Slivka will never forget.
In one of the few bright spots for the Bobcats during their 22-10 loss to the Golden Flashes, Slivka won his first career match in The Convo. His win in the 157-pound class helped keep Ohio in the running until the Flashes began to pull away in the end.
After a scoreless first period, Slivka gained five points in the second to take a commanding lead. However, he went down injured, and the match was briefly stopped. Ohio’s bench held its breath as it seemed the redshirt freshman would not be able to continue. After a moment, Slivka rose to his feet, finished the match and earned three points for the Bobcats.
“Slivka did prove himself to me today,” longtime Ohio coach Joel Greenlee said.
The redshirt freshman had a solid first season last year, going 16-5, and the Bobcats were hoping he would be able to take another step this season.
Between COVID-19 protocols and other delays, Slivka was unable to wrestle at the start of the season and had only wrestled four times going into Sunday’s dual against Kent State.
Slivka’s win came at a crucial time for the Bobcats. They had lost their first two matches of the meet and were fighting to stay within range of the Golden Flashes.
“You’ve got nine other guys on the bench looking at you, expecting you to go out and get a win, and he did it,” Greenlee said.
Slivka earned four points for the Bobcats but was hungry for more. In the midst of his match, the officials argued whether or not to award Slivka two points for a near fall. Greenlee challenged the call to try and award Slivka the extra two points, but he was unsuccessful.
If the call had been made in favor of Ohio, Slivka could have won the match by a major decision. Had Slivka won by major decision, he would have earned an additional point for the Bobcats and pulled them to within just one point of Kent State.
Even though Slivka’s win helped temporarily keep Ohio within arm’s reach of Kent State, it lost four of the last five matches en route to its seventh loss of the season.
The Bobcats are in the midst of preparing for the Mid-American Conference tournament Feb. 27-28. If Slivka continues to perform, he could become a major deciding factor for Ohio in the postseason.
The Bobcats are back in action in Athens against Cleveland State on Feb. 14, when they will once again attempt to capture an elusive second win.