Johnson Leads Ohio On Day One Of Southern Scuffle

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The Ohio Bobcats kicked off the new year at the 2014 Southern Scuffle and ended day one of competition with mixed results. The Bobcats got off to a hot start, but cooled off in the last round of Wednesday’s matches.

Five Ohio wrestlers made it to the round of 16 but it was there that four fell to the consolation bracket with losses, leaving Jeremy Johnson (285) as the only remaining Bobcat in the championship bracket.

After losing in the round of 16, Cullen Cummings (149), Harrison Hightower (165), Ryan Garringer (184) and Phil Wellington (197) joined KeVon Powell (125), who fell to the consolation bracket after his first match. The best all five grapplers will be wrestling for tomorrow is a third place finish.

Johnson, like many of his fellow Bobcats, was dominant early on. He pinned Gerald Johnson of The Citadel in his first round bout and won a 15-3 major decision over Duke’s Brian Self to advance to the quarterfinals.

In Wellington’s last match of the day he lost to Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonacorse by a 3-1 decision in overtime. The match was tied 1-1 in sudden death when Bonacorse got a takedown for the win. The loss is just Wellington’s second of the season.

Hightower and Garringer were off to big starts at the Scuffle before they ran into stiff competition in the round of 16. Hightower picked up pin and tech fall victories before he fell by a 5-1 decision to three-time All-American Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State. Garringer won by major decision and tech fall before he was pinned by Ed Ruth , a two-time-defending national champion from Penn State.

Cummings filled in for Tywan Claxton, who suffered a concussion at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Cummings, a freshman, is redshirting this season, so he wrestled unattached. He went 1-1 in competition.

After an opening round loss, Powell won his next two matches by a tech fall and a pin.

Junior Andrew Romanchik wrestled at 157 pounds in Sparty Chino’s absence. Romanchik, who is also redshirting this year, wrestled unattached and went winless at the Scuffle. True freshman Noah Forrider (141) also was unable to grab a win.

Due to injuries, only eight Bobcats competed on the day. Ohio was not represented at 133 pounds or 174 pounds.

The Bobcats finished the day in 17th with 23.0 team points. With six wrestlers in action on Thursday, they will be in good shape to up their placement and point total in day two of the Scuffle.