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Ohio University Jr. Zane Lehman slamming the George Mason player at The Convocation Center at Ohio University in Athens Ohio. January 19, 2024.

Wrestling: Zayne Lehman, Ohio regain dominant form in rout of George Mason

The clock ticked down in the third period for Zayne Lehman. Ohio’s co-captain, NCAA Tournament qualifier and owner of multiple more superlatives closed out a dominant victory that ended with Lehman picking up a tech fall, winning by a 15-0 margin. 

Right after Lehman clinched the dual victory for Ohio over George Mason, Austin Starr shook his opponent’s hand and bull-rushed him. Starr might not have won by the same gaudy margin as Lehman, but he did so in a similarly dominant fashion, defeating Ruben Karapetyan 8-1. 

With everything in hand for Ohio, one match remained. To some in attendance, it was a chance to beat the foot traffic exiting The Convo. To Jordan Greer, it was a chance to prove himself against one of the best wrestlers in the conference, Chad Nix. The No. 2 wrestler in the 285-pound class in the Mid-American Conference was upended by Greer in a statement victory that included a booming takedown by Greer.

The three wins are each imperative for Ohio’s heaviest wrestlers. Lehman, after making the NCAA Tournament last season, has struggled to pick up the results that are expected of someone with his pedigree. Regardless, Lehman has not relinquished his spot atop the conference rankings. His up-and-down start is something that Lehman believes is in the past. 

“We talk a lot in practice about just being a dog,” Lehman said. “(That’s) just going out there and scoring points and that has always been my motto: score points and stay on the guy. Get him tired and then wrestle myself tired because I know if I am wrestling tired, I know he's tired… Today, it was a good day. Finally getting back on track, I felt like myself. I was wrestling pretty well and we had a good week of practice.” 

Lehman’s determination to exhaust and wear down his opponent is evident in how he won. After a burst from the whistle, Lehman scored a quick takedown and near fall to go up 7-0 after the first period. An escape and subsequent takedown made it 11-0 after the second. The rest is history as Lehman kept his foot on the gas and won 15-0. 

As the referee lifted Lehman’s hand to the sky, something uncharacteristic of Lehman occurred: he lifted his index finger to his mouth staring at the George Mason bench. 

“Emotions run high sometimes,” Lehman said. “...That was out of pocket for me and something I definitely don’t want to do too often, but he kind of gave it to us, so I gave it right back. It was a fun little thing, but emotions run high.” 

The ever-aggressive Starr made easy work of his opponent, notching his 14th win on the season, which is tied for the second-most on the team. Starr has quietly become a dependable option for the Bobcats. Ranked No. 3 in the 197-pound class, Starr's stock is moving up rapidly as he settles in during his first season as a starter. 

Greer’s win, like many of the other wins for Ohio on the night, is only going to help in the rankings. Coach Joel Greenlee does not pay much attention to the rankings, but understands the wrestlers want to move as high as possible as the season progresses. 

“I just want every guy to go out there and do their job and have a little bit of fun, and everything else takes care of itself,” Greenlee said. “We don’t necessarily talk a whole heck of a lot about that, but they know … They’re trying to climb up the rankings and they know to climb up you have to beat the guy ahead of you and to maintain your position you have to beat the guys behind you.” 

The standard for Ohio is victory. Nothing else matters to the team. For Lehman, Starr and Greer, though, winning is paramount, but maintaining dominance in conference duals moving forward is imperative. Lehman, in particular, believes that the best is yet to come from him this season as he attempts to go to the NCAA Tournament. 


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