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Ohio wrestler, Peyten Kellar (Redshirt Sophmore), celebrates his victory against SIUE wrestler, Caine Tyrus, at the Convo, Ohio University, Feb. 17, 2024.

Wrestling: Peyten Kellar wins individual title at MAC Championship, six Bobcats place

While Ohio saw another year get added onto its MAC title drought, it still experienced a rather successful weekend. Only two wrestlers automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships, but many others put themselves in strong positions to earn at-large bids to The Big Dance. The highlight of the weekend was Peyten Kellar dominating his way to the 157-pound class title for his first individual conference title. 

125-pound class: 

In Ryan Meek’s first match of the weekend against Clarion’s No. 4 Joey Fischer, Meek was held scoreless with a 5-0 mark. Although he was unable to win, he looked competitive against a superior opponent. 

However, in his next match, that would not continue. In the consolation bracket, Meek received a bye before facing Cleveland State’s No. 6 Benjamin Aranda. Meek lost in a major decision, 15-7. The only points he scored were on escapes and stalling calls. The loss for Meek concluded a season that saw him go 6-18 overall with only a single win in duals. 

133-pound class: 

In his first-round match, Mason Brugh faced Lock Haven’s No. 1 Gable Strickland. Brugh lost a 7-1 decision to the eventual champion of the class. Oddly enough, out of the four wins for Strickland, the victory over Brugh was one of two that were regular decisions. 

In his first consolation match, he was able to dictate the pace of the match, winning 9-5. Brugh advanced to wrestle Northern Illinois’s No. 7 Mikey Kaminski, who defeated Brugh in a sudden death victory, 4-1, to end Brugh’s season.

141-pound class: 

Aidan Waszak went through a difficult season, as he was a full-time starter for the first time in his career. The junior won just two matches this season, going 2-12 during the regular season. Waszak was faced with the undesirable task of facing Northern Illinois’ No. 2 Jacob Brya in the first round. Waszak was unable to score a single point, losing a major decision by a 12-0 final. 

In the consolation bracket, Waszak faced Jacob Brenneman from Edinboro after receiving a bye in a more even match. However, the even matchup only existed on paper as Waszak lost by way of a tech fall in the third period, ending his campaign. 

149-pound class: 

As a No. 7 seed, Derek Raike received a first-round bye, Raike subsequently faced Rider’s No. 1 Quinn Kinner. In a barn burner of a match, Raike lost by a narrow 1-0 margin to the eventual champion, Kinner. 

In the consolation bracket, Raike would first meet up with Cleveland State’s No. 8 Douglas Terry. Raike dominated the bout, winning 12-5. Next, Raike took down Kent State’s Matthew Ryan to set up a match with Northern Illinois’ No. 4 Jaivon Jones. In the first meeting between the two, Raike sustained a scary injury. In the MAC tournament meeting, Raike did not get the calls to go his way in the loss. Regardless, he went on to face George Mason’s Kaden Cassidy in the 5th-place match where he would lose by a tech fall to slide into 6th place. 

Raike still has an outside chance at the NCAA Championships, but that would come via an at-large bid. Nonetheless, Raike comes into next season as the entrenched starter at his weight and will look to make more improvements over the course of a full season. 

157-pound class: 

Peyten Kellar has arguably been the most dominant wrestler in the MAC for the entire season. That is why it was not surprising the No. 1 wrestler in his class demolished his competition en route to a MAC title.

He started the competition Friday with three pins to advance to the final. In the final against George Mason’s No. 2 DJ McGee, Kellar won the match 2-0 and earned the first auto bid of the weekend for Ohio in the process. For his performance, Kellar also took home the MAC Most Outstanding Wrestler award.

165-pound class: 

No. 1 Garrett Thompson has been able to win with little trouble throughout the season. He has solidified himself as someone who, regardless of the outcome at the MAC Championships, was likely going to Kansas City for the NCAA Championships.

He started his quest for a MAC title strong with three rather easy and impressive wins. In the final, he faced George Mason’s No. 3 Evan Maag. The two had previously matched up in the dual earlier this season with Thompson winning a 12-10 thriller. This time, Maag got the better of Thompson, pinning him in shocking fashion to claim the MAC title. Despite the 2nd-place finish, Thompson should still hear his name called as an at-large selection for the NCAA Championships. 

174-pound class: 

No. 2 Sal Perrine had a lot to prove this weekend. He wanted to make his 3rd-straight NCAA Championship appearance by getting one of the two auto bids allocated for his class. In the first two matches, he got a pair of regular-decision wins to set up a match with Rider’s No. 3 Michael Wilson.

Perrine appeared to have a takedown late in the third period and overtime against Wilson only to be wiped away by a Rider challenge. Perrine could not overcome the adversity, losing in sudden victory to Wilson. 

Perrine still had a chance for both a rematch with Wilson and the auto bid as long as he won out. He started by getting a major decision victory against Lock Haven’s No. 4 Tyler Stoltzfus. He would face Clarion’s No. 5 John Worthing in the 3rd-place match and come up just short, losing a decision to give him 4th place. He, like Thompson, will have a strong chance at an at-large bid. 

184-pound class: 

No. 3 Zayne Lehman missed the last two duals to help him prepare for the MAC Championships where he was a contender for the title. With only two auto bids, Lehman needed a lot of things to go his way. Lehman got off to a strong start, winning his first match. He would lose a nailbiter to George Mason’s No. 6 Malachi DuVall, putting him in the consolation bracket, where he would lose his second match there to Northern Illinois’ No. 2 Matthew Zuber. In the 7th-place match, Lehman defeated Rider’s No. 5 Isaac Dean. Like Thompson and Perrine, Lehman will hope to hear his name called as an at-large selection. 

197-pound class: 

No. 5 Austin Starr had a very positive season, but the one bugaboo for him has been defeating higher seeds. In the MAC Championships, he had the opportunity to fix those issues. In his first match after his opening-round bye, Starr faced Central Michigan’s No. 4 Cameron Wood, a match that he lost by a score of 10-9 after holding an early 7-1 lead. In that match, Starr injured himself, forcing him to medically forfeit his bout in the consolation bracket, ending his season. 

285-pound class: 

As the season has progressed, No. 6 Jordan Greer has gotten stronger as he returned from his torn ACL that ended his season last year. He also received a first-round bye before facing Northern Illinois’ Jacobi Jackson, a match that Greer won in dominant fashion by a 9-2 final score. The next bout did not go as well for him, as Rider’s No. 2 David Szuba got a major decision win over Greer to send him to the consolation bracket. Greer defeated his next opponent to get to the third-place match. Greer also won that one, clinching the third and final auto bid in his class to go to the first NCAA Championships in his career. 


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