In a match that was projected to be closer than it ended up being, Ohio lost in dominant fashion to Northern Illinois Friday night in The Convo.
With a 23-10 defeat in a match in which it dropped each of its first six bouts, Ohio fell to 2-6 overall and picked up their first loss in the Mid-American Conference.
“We need to get tougher,” head coach Joel Greenlee said. “I thought it was going to be a dog fight because I thought we’d go out there and fight them. In some cases we just didn’t do that.”
To start the match at 125-pounds, Ohio’s Oscar Sanchez took on Northern Illinois’ Blake West. Both wrestlers led this bout for similar amounts of time but eventually it was West who came out on top with 1:27 of riding time and a 3-2 decision in favor of Northern Illinois.
At 133-pounds, Ohio’s Paul Woo struggled against Lucian Brink. Woo, a freshman, was never able to find his way in this match against Brink. Woo was shutout 6-0 for a second straight loss to start for Ohio.
In an intense match at 141-pounds, the Bobcats lost their third straight. The No. 9 wrestler at his weight class in the MAC, Kyran Hagan started this bout strongly, leading 6-4 midway through the third period. Things turned south for Hagan when his opponent, Jacob Byra, pinned him to the floor. In the final seconds Byra topped Hagan with a 11-7 victory to make the score 9-0 in favor of Northern Illinois.
In one of the more surprising bouts of the evening, Alec Hagan, who came into the match ranked No. 26 in the nation at the 149-pound weight class fell to unranked Anthony Cheloni by a 1-0 decision. At this point, Ohio’s chances looked bleak, down 12-0 half-way through the match.
At 157-pounds, Ohio had possibly its best wrestler up in Peyten Kellar, who ranks No. 2 in the MAC and No. 22 in the nation. He was set to face off against Anthony Gibson, who is unranked. The match was pretty close with a score of 4-4 after two periods, but Kellar seemed to sustain an injury during the match that hindered his ability to escape late. Kellar ended up falling by decision and putting the Bobcats in a 15-0 hole.
The Bobcats' woes continued at 165-pounds as they lost a sixth straight decision. This time it was Jordan Slivka falling to Izzak Olejnik. The Bobcats were now through their top ranked wrestlers and trailed 18-0.
The best part of Ohio’s night came at the 174-pound weight class as Garrett Thompson got his job done with a dominant 8-0 major decision win over Hayden Pummel, who was the No. 9 ranked wrestler in the MAC coming into this week.
Ohio had finally gained some momentum after a major decision win at 174-pounds, and at 184-pounds the Zayne Lehman came in to make it back-to-back victories for Ohio, defeating Matthew Zuber by decision.
Possibly the most exciting bout of the evening came at the 197-pound class as Ohio's Carson Brewer took on Northern Illinois’ Jacob Christensen. Brewer started out poorly, trailing 9-6 at the end of the first period. He was then able to mount a comeback towards the end of the third period that would send the two heavyweights into a sudden death situation, when Brewer eventually came out victorious, creating a late fall for his opponent.
By the final bout of the evening, Ohio’s late triumphs were too little too late as an 18-10 deficit was too much to overcome with just one match remaining. In seemingly symbolic fashion, Ohio’s heavyweight, Jacob Padilla, was absolutely crushed by Terrese Aaron, losing 17-2. The final bout closed out the evening with a 23-10 victory for Northern Illinois.