Ohio’s “wrestle hard” mentality came to fruition at the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend.
Ohio (13-3, 5-3 MAC) placed third in the tournament with a score of 76 behind Missouri and Central Michigan. Missouri won the tournament for its fourth-consecutive time with a score of 127.5
Wrestlers Phil Wellington, Cameron Kelly and Austin Reese enjoyed individual successes. Wellington, who competes in the 197 lbs class, competed in the championship at his respected weight class, albeit losing to Missouri’s J’Den Cox 9-1.
Though Wellington lost in the championship, he qualified for the NCAA Championships. Kelly, Reese, Spartak Chino and Cody Walters qualified for the NCAA Championships as well.
The NCAA Championships will be held in New York City from March 17 to March 19.
“We let some matches get away from us but then we came back and wrestled pretty hard,” coach Joel Greenlee said. “Bottom line, I don’t think we believed in ourselves the way we should have and that cost us.”
Although the wrestlers gained individual accolades, Walters, who wrestles at the 174 lbs class, came up short in an attempt to win his fourth MAC title. He placed third in his weight class, picking up his fourth national qualifying bid.
Kelly (133 lbs) would place fourth in his weight class, losing to Kent State’s Mack McGuire. Along with Kelly, Chino (157 lbs) and Shakur Laney (125 lbs) placed fifth in their respected weight classes.
With the Bobcats sending five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, this will give them confidence heading into the last legs of the postseason.
The Mid-American Conference Championships will take place on March 5.
All five of the wrestlers have the potential to do well at the national level, as they have shown to be solid throughout the season.
Chino, Wellington and Walters have participated in the NCAA Championships before. It will be the first time for Kelly, a freshman, and Reese.
“I thought we finished well and overall I thought it was a great tournament for us,” Greenlee said. “We got five automatic qualifiers and I think we have the chance at a few more at-large bids.”