Updated Sun, Jan 19, 2014 7:43 pm
In a tight dual, Jeremy Johnson and Phil Wellington do what a team’s star wrestlers need to do – score bonus points. On Sunday, neither Johnson nor Wellington would disappoint when Ohio was in need.
The duo of big men put the team on their backs and put the Bobcats (6-2, 2-2) in a comfortable position to down the Eastern Michigan Eagles (8-4, 1-2), 22-13.
“I have a lot of my team depending on me to go out there and get those bonus points,” Johnson said. “Today I felt like if I got bonus points that we would win, as well as Phil getting bonus points. When you’re wrestling in a tight dual meet such as this one and you really have to get those bonus points to get the victory.”
Up just 9-6 on the Eagles, and coming off of a disappointing loss to Central Michigan on Friday, the Bobcats were in need of a spark. No. 13 Wellington brought it. In the 197-pound bout against Nick Whitenburg, Wellington dominated, taking down his opponent five times for a 12-4 major decision.
At 13-6, the Bobcats needed to add to their lead. To that point the dual had been very much of a back-and-forth affair. Ohio’s team leader and No. 11 Johnson made sure to extend that lead and give the ‘Cats some breathing room. Two takedowns, a reversal and a stalling penalty put the former All-American up 7-0. Sitting in the driver’s seat, Johnson kept his foot on the gas and pinned Khodor Hoballah in the heavyweight slot. Johnson has recorded a fall in each of his last three matches.
“We really tried to dominate and a lot of [the win] is, hey, Johnson goes out and does what he does,” Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee said. “He dominated. Phil goes out and does what he does. He dominated.”
Ohio had a 19-6 lead, but it soon saw that cut to just 19-13, after Eastern Michigan picked up wins from No. 15 Jared Germaine, 125 pounds, and Vincent Pizzuto, 133. KeVon Powell and Kagan Squire suffered the defeats, respectively.
In the final match, the 141-pounders took the mat. The Bobcats could afford to give up no more than a decision to the Eagles. A major decision in favor of the Eagles would have tied the dual and anything more would have clinched a win for the away team.
True freshman Noah Forrider held off the Eagles and their momentum and shored up the victory for Ohio with a 4-2 decision over Nicholas Barber.
No. 15 Tywan Claxton, 149, and Sparty Chino, 157, took the day’s first two bouts for Ohio. Harrison Hightower, 165, suffered a disappointing loss and Dean Vettesse grabbed a win over the ‘Cats pin specialist.
No. 7 Cody Walters, 174, picked up a win after losing on Friday. And Eastern Michigan took the 184 matchup with a loss from Ryan Garringer.
The Bobcats return to action on Friday, when they will travel to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes in Kent, Ohio. The dual is set to begin at 7 p.m.
Slideshow: Johnson And Wellington Help Ohio Down Eastern Michigan
Phil Wellington picked up his 22nd victory of the 2013-14 season in a 12-4 major decision over Nick Whitenburg.
Ohio true freshman Noah Forrider helps seal Ohio's 22-13 victory over Eastern Michigan
Ohio's Sparty Chino takes down in his opponent in the Bobcats' victory over Eastern Michigan.
The Bobcats' 149-pounder Tywan Claxton picks up victory by 5-3 decision in Ohio's win against the Eagles.
Harrison Hightower, who excels at pinning his opponents, shows of his athletic ability.