No. 21 Ohio (6-3, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) split this weekend with a tough loss to Kent State on Friday and a blowout win against Clarion the next night.
The loss to Kent, Ohio’s rival, finished 20-15. Redshirt senior Cody Walters also picked up his 100th career win.
The Bobcats followed up with a 40-4 win Saturday night.
“I know for me it’s (Kent State loss) made me hungry,” coach Joel Greenlee, said. “We’re better than them, and we didn’t take advantage of an opportunity.”
Greenlee said dual meets are practice for the MAC Tournament at the end of the year.
The lack of taking advantage of opportunities was the theme of the match Friday. Redshirt senior Spartak Chino lost in a match he was expected to win; Redshirt senior Phil Wellington was blindsided by an underrated Kyle Conel, losing by fall at 197 lbs.
Although the team’s upperclassmen didn’t exploit opportunities against Kent State, the “Freshmen Campaign” consisting of Cam Kelly and Shakur Laney did. Kelly defeated No. 10 Mack McGuire at 133 lbs., and Laney got a key win against Del Vinas.
“We always tell people about the ‘Freshmen Campaign’,” said Kelly. “It’s kind of funny, the freshmen duo, 1-2 punch, but Shakur came up with the Freshmen Campaign, and we’re selling ourselves right now.”
The underclassmen on the team bring a certain swagger, as Cody Walters even said Kelly always says how great his hair is.
This swagger turned into a discrete confidence on Saturday against Clarion. The Bobcats went undefeated in the match’s first seven matches, and won three of them by fall.
“Hopefully (the Clarion win) gives us a little confidence,” said Greenlee. “I just think you follow the course of what you’ve been doing, you wrestle hard and it pays off.”
Clarion was a pick-me-up type match. The wrestlers were considerably more at ease following defeating Clarion, particularly Wellington.
“(Friday) I wasn’t really wrestling like myself,” said Wellington. “(Saturday) I wasn’t only trying to win, but get back into my own wrestling style.”
Wellington said his wrestling style consists of being aggressive and keeping the pace high.
“Turning the corner like that just shows how we get hit with a little adversity, and how you show up the next time just defines your character.” Wellington said.