Ohio University redshirt junior Andrew Romanchik grapples with University of Northern Iowa junior Cody Caldwell. The Bobcats defeated the Panthers 20-18 at the Convocation Center on Friday, February 6, 2015.
Ohio’s biggest rival tends to be Miami.
That is widely known around campus, particularly from the T-shirts that display the suggestive phrase “Muck Fiami” across the front.
But one rival that typically flies under the radar, Kent State, will wrestle Ohio (5-2, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) this weekend and look to contend for “Ohio’s biggest rival” moniker.
“Kent State is our biggest rival in the MAC,” redshirt senior Andrew Romanchik said. “We don’t really like each other, so this is a big match for us.”
Romanchik said the two team’s coaches — Joel Greenlee and Jim Andrassy — also aren’t too fond of each other.
Romanchik said the mutual hatred stems from recruiting, as both teams are pursuing the same wrestlers out of high school.
“Obviously you’re not happy if your recruit goes to Kent State, or your recruit goes to Ohio if you’re the opposing school,” Romanchik said. “I know Kent State has said some bad-mouth things about Ohio being a party school.”
Like many Bobcats, the wrestling squad is quick to dismiss the school’s party image, as it believes the home atmosphere will fuel it Friday against the Golden Flashes (8-3, 1-1 MAC).
“We have a great student section,” Romanchik said. “It’s just fun wrestling here, and our teammates, friends and family are all cheering us on.”
Although the Bobcats are locked in for the Golden Flashes, Ohio doesn’t want to look past the Clarion team it wrestles Saturday. Clarion is in Pennsylvania, a state that is a hotbed for wrestling, according to Romanchik.
Ohio rolled Clarion last season, 42-5, but the Bobcats know any team is capable of dethroning them, as well.
“Every one individual in wrestling is extremely tough,” freshman Cameron Kelly said. “I mean, they earn their way here, so you can’t take any matches lightly no matter what the program is or who the guy is.”
Redshirt senior Spartak Chino predicted the Bobcats will win the MAC Tournament and plan on sending many wrestlers to nationals. In terms of the rest of the team’s schedule, one statement may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“We’re just going to take this match, win, lose, draw — it doesn’t matter,” Chino said. “Just go in there, give everything you got and get ready to be an All-American in March.”