Ohio and Northern Iowa have more history than one would think.
Northern Iowa is Ohio coach Joel Greenlee’s alma mater. The Bobcat coach wrestled at the university from 1986-89. Greenlee was a two time All-American and holds the best career winning percentage (.878) in the program’s history.
Ohio is on a three-match winning streak. That is good momentum with only five matches left in the regular season. But standing in the way is a coach and his former “home.”
“I feel like it’s an important dual just because you don’t want to let him down,” redshirt senior Andrew Romanchik said. “Obviously you don’t want to go to your old school and lose.”
The Bobcats (8-3, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) could easily overlook a team like the Northern Iowa Panthers. The Panthers (3-5, 2-2 MAC) aren’t one of the upper-tier teams in the MAC, sitting at fifth place out of nine teams.
But because of Greenlee’s gripping influence on the team, Ohio is prepared to not let down its coach.
“(The match is) huge for us. It’s huge for him,” redshirt senior Phil Wellington said. “We obviously go out there and perform to our highest potential so that we can get that win.”
Wellington said winning against Northern Iowa would give Greenlee some bragging rights against former coaches and teammates.
Greenlee’s family will also be at the match, because it lives in Iowa.
“Now that he has four actual seniors, now is a great time to get that dual meet win,” Wellington said.
Wellington said the two teams have a similar style: pushing themselves every second of the match.
The Bobcats climb to the top of the MAC standings is still in reach. Only two dual meets separate Ohio from the two teams above it: Central Michigan and Kent State.
“He grew up with that Iowa style he’s trying to implement here, and it’s been working for us so far,” Wellington said.