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OU wrestler getting grappling with his opponent in the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, on Jan 20, 2023.

Wrestling: Ohio has almost “grit-less” effort in loss to Northern Illinois

For a wrestler, the term “grit” likely sits atop the list of traits necessary to find success. They can train to no end, but having the ability to tap into serves as a massive factor in wrestling. 

After Ohio’s 23-10 loss to Northern Illinois, Ohio coach Joel Greenlee was remiss about his squad’s lack of grit. Only two of Ohio’s wrestlers were able to take home a victory in their respective weight classes. Some of Ohio’s best — such as Kyran Hagan and Peyten Kellar — fell to unranked foes while Alec Hagan was defeated by the No. 12 wrestler in the weight class, Anthony Cheloni. 

“Somebody’s got to be mad, man up and win those titles. We just couldn’t do that tonight,” Greenlee said.

The Bobcats need to continue developing their mat mentalities. The coaches are only able to help them to a certain point. Coach Greenlee has given his wrestlers the tools to succeed, but he’s not able to wrestle for them. The onus falls on them to use those tactics. 

“Bottom line is we’ve got to get tough,” Greenlee said. “We need to have a little pep talk with these guys about having a little grit. We just don’t have a lot of grit right now. (Northern Illinois) did a hell of a job. They came out and they wrestled hard all night. I thought it was going to be a dogfight because I thought we would go out there and fight, and in some cases, we just didn’t.”

The Bobcats fell behind early. Their chance to take hold of the duel was gone. The Bobcats needed a spark to come from somewhere, but nothing was catching. So, Greenlee called upon the oft-used Garrett Thompson in lieu of Sal Perrine to shake things up. The move paid dividends as Thompson got his team on the board with a major decision victory over the No. 9 ranked wrestler in the weight class, Hayden Pummel. 

Thompson displayed the desired grit, however he was one of the few to do so. Only one other Bobcat dug deep for a win on Friday.

Carson Brewer was far from overmatched in terms of talent and pedigree. His opponent, Jacob Christensen, was unranked. However, after falling behind 6-0 early and 9-6 after the first period, Brewer was able to will himself back into the match. He eventually took a 10-9 lead after the second period and was able to craft a sudden-victory win. 

With mere hours until their next duel against Cleveland State, Greenlee and the Bobcats are in need of a huge response. The injuries to the roster have begun to accumulate, but that is far from the Bobcats’ concern. As long as they wrestle with grit and passion, the results will come in due time.


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