Ohio Wrestling Travels To Eastern Michigan Duals

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As the wrestling season is just getting underway, the No. 24 Ohio Bobcats get a tough test early on as they will compete in their first duals of the season on Saturday.

The Green and White travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., where they will take part in the Eastern Michigan Duals and take on a 12th ranked Michigan squad, along with Lock Haven and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The Bobcats’ dual with the Michigan Wolverines is one that pits ranked programs against each and with Michigan bringing six ranked wrestlers to the mat, 11 total ranked wrestlers will compete.

Ranked grapplers will clash at 165 and 197 pounds.

Ohio’s Harrison Hightower, ranked 17th by InterMat Wrestling, faces off with No. 10 Taylor Massa. The bout will be a rematch of the 165 semifinals at the Michigan State Open on Nov. 2. Hightower will be seeking revenge after dropping the semifinal match, 3-1, to Massa.

At 197, No. 8 Phil Wellington is slated to go for the Bobcats and he will face 17th-ranked Max Huntley.

Other ranked wrestlers for the ‘Cats are No. 12 Tywan Claxton, 149 pounds, No. 20 Sparty Chino, 157, and No. 9 Cody Walters, 174.

The Wolverines bolster No. 20 Conor Youtsey, 125, No. 9 Rossi Bruno, 133, No. 11 Dominic Abounader, 184, and No. 4 Adam Coon, 285.

Claxton, Walters and Coon claimed individual titles in this year's Michigan State Open.

Coon will be hard test for both of Ohio’s freshmen heavyweights, Zack Parker and Jesse Webb. Coon’s 2014 season ended in the NCAA Championships with a loss to former Bobcat heavyweight, Jeremy Johnson.  

Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee knows Michigan to be a formidable foe, but he feels his wrestlers match up well with the Wolverines.

As important a dual with Michigan is, Greenlee also knows it is important not to overlook Ohio’s other opponents, especially Lock Haven.

“They’re going to wrestle with attitude, smash you in the mouth and ride the snot out of you,” he said. He believes that style will be a benefit to the Bobcats, moving forward.

“We need to get in a street fight here and there to find out where we are,” he said. “Right now I know think we are pretty good [and] I think we need to figure out how we’re going to react if someone comes out and punches us in the mouth.”

Greenlee’s plan for Saturday is to wrestler his starters in all three duals. He’ll weigh in one wrestler at each weight class, except for 125, where he will weigh in two Bobcats. There will be an open running simultaneously with the duals, so Ohio will be able to pull a wrestler from the competition should they be needed in a dual situation.

Ohio squares off with SIUE first at 9:30 a.m. on Nov 15. Tilts with Michigan and Lock Haven will follow, respectively.