Three Ohio Wrestlers Earn NCAA Tournament Berths After MAC Championships

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The Mid-American Conference Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., have concluded and the Bobcats have a new name to place on their list of MAC Champions.

Cody Walters is the MAC Champion at 174 pounds, and he is just one of three Bobcats that will be heading to Des Moines, Iowa, for the NCAA championships.

“It means so much to me because it shows that all of the extra workouts and everything paid off,” Walters said on being a conference champion.

KeVon Powell (125 lbs.) and Jeremy Johnson (285 lbs.) both finished third in their respective weight class and punched their tickets to Des Moines along with Walters.

Ohio as a team finished with 63.5 points, which tied them for fifth place in the MAC with Northern Illinois.

According to Ohio coach Joel Greenlee, his team had a rough opening round.

“I thought we wrestled ok overall … we finished about where we did in the regular season,” Greenlee said.

Other Bobcats with notable finishes were Phil Wellington (197 lbs.) and Andrew Romanchik (149 lbs.) at fourth place in their respective weight classes, and Michael Duckworth (184 lbs.) at fifth. Unfortunately for Wellington and Duckworth they finished just one spot short of qualifying for the national tournament. Wellington injury defaulted in the semifinals, and was pinned in the third place match.

Because of his successful 32-2 season, Walters earned an early-round bye and needed just one win to earn a spot in the semifinals. In the semi’s, Walters defeated Kent State’s Sam Wheeler. In the finals, in a matchup of ranked wrestlers, No. 16 Walters defeated No. 17 John-Martin Cannon of Buffalo by a 5-3 decision.

Powell lost in the semifinals, but the true freshman was not rattled. He put together a major decision and a 9-6 decision over Max Soria of Buffalo en route to a berth to the national tournament.

2012 MAC Champion Jeremy Johnson lost to No. 7 Jarod Trice of Central Michigan in the heavyweight semifinals. He finished strong, and earned a trip to the national tournament with a pin in the third place match.

The tournament-bound ‘Cats now have 10 days to prepare for their trip to Des Moines. With just a few wrestlers still competing, practice changes a bit.

“From here to nationals we won’t practice too hard but we will work a lot individually one-on-one with guys on specific stuff,” Greenlee said.

The successes of Walters and Johnson do not come as a surprise, but Powell amassed a 5-12 record during the regular season. Now however, the regular season does not matter.

Powell, along with Johnson and Walters, is in the big show now, and as Johnson often tells the Bobcat wrestlers, “Anything can happen.”