Updated Fri, Feb 7, 2014 1:00 pm
The Mid-American Conference announced its first poll of Feburary and its third of the season on Thursday. Six Bobcats appeared in the rankings of the top-four wrestlers at each weight class, which are decided on by MAC coaches.
Heavyweight Jeremy Johnson, Phil Wellington, 197 pounds, and Tywan Claxton, 149, highlighted the poll for Ohio by earning first place spots. All-American Cody Walters, 174, came in at No. 2. He was joined by Harrison Hightower, 165, and Sparty Chino, 157, who were slotted at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
Three polls have been released since Jan. 9, and all three have had Johnson and Wellington in top spots. The heavyweight class has remained unchanged since the initial poll and the top three spots at 197 have remained the same as well. Kevin Beazley of Old Dominion, a new addition at No. 4, will likely face Wellington in Ohio’s upcoming dual against the Monarchs.
Claxton claimed the top spot at 149 for the first time this season. He had been behind Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt in the first two polls, even after beating the junior from Missouri in December. Old Dominion’s Alexander Richardson grabbed the fourth spot.
Walters was ranked No. 1 in the initial voting but since losing to Central Michigan’s Mike Ottinger earlier in the season, he has been at No. 2 in consecutive polls.
Hightower was in a familiar spot Thursday, as he has been ranked third in all three polls.
Chino was slotted fourth for the second straight week. Right in front of him at No. 3, is the Monarchs’ Tristan Warner.
Ohio’s six grapplers helped it earn 18.0 points for a second-place team ranking. Northern Iowa came in at No. 1 with 22.0 points. Missouri and Central Michigan came just behind Ohio with 15.0 and 14.0 points respectively. The Bobcats have lost to all three programs this season in duals, but their second-place ranking might be an indicator that the Green and White could be better suited for a tournament setting.
The ‘Cats will get the chance to prove it at the MAC Tournament in March, but next on the schedule for Ohio are two weekend duals. The Bobcats will take on Clarion on Saturday at 11 a.m., and Old Dominion on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Both duals will be at the Convocation Center.