The annual “Grudge Match” between Kent State and Ohio took place in The Convo on Friday night and resulted in a 28-9 Bobcat win. Not only was it this year's edition of this storied rivalry but it was also senior night, celebrating the final home match for the Bobcat wrestling seniors.
Ohio took an early 25-0 lead, winning each of its first six matches in dominant fashion. After that, they never looked back. Here is how Ohio fared during an emotional final home match in The Convo.
Before the match even started Ohio had a chip on its shoulder. After winning the coin toss, Kent State decided to start at the 149-pound class rather than at 125-pounds. At 149-Pounds Kent State showcases one of the best wrestlers in the MAC in Kody Komora. Kent State was confident in Komora taking down Ohio senior Alec Hagan. However, Hagan would not go down in his final bout at the Convo. The senior took the match all the way to the end of the third period tied 1-1 with Komora. In a sudden victory situation Hagan rode the cheers of the crowd and took down Komora in the opening moments of the extra period. Hagan came out victorious by 3-1 decision.
Alec Hagan's victory over one of Kent State's best wrestlers lit a fire in the team that was carried over into the next match at 157-Pounds. Wrestling for Ohio, Peyten Kellar dominated his bout over Keegan Knapp. Starting the match with several takedowns, Kellar came away with a 12-2 major decision victory, extending the score of the match to 7-0 Ohio.
One of the more impressive performances of the evening came from Jordan Slivka, who did more than just dominate in his match against fourth-ranked Enrique Manguia. Slivka came away with an 18-1 technical fall victory, the largest margin of victory all night for either team. Earlier in the season Slivka faced Manguia at the Navy classic, where he came up just short of victory, but on his home turf he made sure to make up for his earlier defeat.
174 - Pounds
One of the most impressive storylines of the season has been the development of redshirt freshman Garrett Thompson. Thompson began the season wrestling at 157-Pounds and has seen success all the way up to now wrestling at 174-Pounds. Friday’s match wasthe most dominant performance that Thompson has shown all year, as in his first match at 174 he won by pin in the first period against Kent State's Michael Feree.
After a pin by Thompson, the Bobcats had more momentum at home then they’ve seen all season. Zayne Lehman came in at 184-Pounds and continued Ohio’s strong performance. Lehman struggled in the first period against his opponent, Tyler Bates, but eventually he figured it out and took control. At the end of the bout Lehman came out victorious with a 9-3 final decision.
At 197-Pounds we saw more of the same from the Bobcats - absolutely out-matching their opponent in every facet of the sport. This time it was sixth-ranked Carson Brewer who came out with a major decision victory over Kent State’s Blake Schaffer. By this point in the night it felt like Ohio had all but sealed up the victory, winning its sixth straight bout and jumping out to a 25-0 lead.
Despite getting out to an early lead Ohio struggled in the 285-Pound class, much like it has all season long. Jacob Padilla struggled to get anything going against Kent States heavyweight Jacob Cover. This bout featured little action, ending with an 8-1 Kent State win.
Following the loss at 285 Ohio also struggled in the 125-Pound class. Oscar Sanchez kept it close all match against fourth-ranked Jake Ferri but was unable to mount anything late, falling by a 3-2 decision making the score 25-6 in favor of Ohio.
Following back-to-back losses, Ohio had lost its early-match momentum and the energy in the Convo had died. Taking on Jacob Houpt, Ohio’s Paul Woo fell once again by a 4-2 decision. After starting out with six straight wins, Ohio had lost three straight.
The rivalry was in full effect between Ohio’s Kyran Hagan and Kent State’s Pablo Castro. It was a hard fought match where both wrestlers had moments of triumph but it was Kyran Hagan who joined his brother Alec in getting the win on senior night. At the end of the match Hagan and Castro exchanged a few words and the two had to be separated by the referee.