Ohio Wrestling Falls To No. 5 Missouri, 25-18

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Before No. 25 Ohio took on No. 5 Missouri, Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee said the meet would come down to close matches, and that’s exactly how it all shook out as the Bobcats dropped three matches by three points or less to the Tigers, allowing the visitors to leave the Convocation Center with a 25-18 victory.

The meet ended abruptly after the 174-mathcup with three straight forfeits. Missouri’s Mikey England defeated Andrew Romanchik in a 4-1 decision, and the Tigers took a 19-6 lead in the meet’s last match.

 With no wrestlers at 184, the Bobcats forfeited the match. Romanchik, a recent installation at 184, weighed in at just 175 before the meet and Ohio’s regular 174-pounder Cody Walters suffered an injury Saturday morning, so Romanchik took the All-American’s spot. Any other possible replacements at 184 were competing at the Cleveland State University Open.

After Ohio forfeited at 184, Missouri led 25-6 and mathematically claimed the victory.

Missouri started the meet with a tech fall victory at 125. No. 3 Alan Waters managed to keep Ohio freshman Zak Hassan scoreless.

The Bobcats bounced right back with a big win from Kagan Squire, as the Bobcats’ 133-pounder upset No. 16 Matt Manley in a 4-3 decision. The match was tied at 2-2 late in the third and Squire stole the victory with a reversal in the final seconds of the match.

“That’s what Kagan Squire needed,” Greenlee said. “I think Kagan Squire is as good as anybody but he’s got to get some confidence and that is what he needed.”

Missouri took the next three matches at 141, 149 and 157. The Tigers picked up another tech fall from 141-pounder Lavion Mayes, and in the two matchups of ranked grapplers, Missouri got the best of Ohio at 149 and 157.

The 149-bout featured a matchup of unbeaten wrestlers. No. 8 Tywan Claxton fell to No. 5 Drake Houdashelt in a 5-3 decision, dropping Claxton’s record to 13-1. Missouri’s 149-pounder led 4-0 in the second period until Claxton scored a late takedown to keep the match close. Claxton looked like the stronger wrestler at the end of the third period, but he was unable to land anything. He walked off the mat dejectedly, and upon reaching the tunnel of the Convo, threw his headgear in frustration.

“Obviously he is not happy, [but] in all honesty I think it is good for him,” Greenlee said.  The Bobcat head coach said the loss might help Claxton get his mind off of protecting a win-streak or wrestling not to lose.

“I think that was little bit of his mindset,” Greenlee said. “When he went out there you kind of saw him take a back seat, but then when he got behind he really wrestled hard and probably outwrestled the guy for five minutes of the match. Well, lesson learned. I think that is why you wrestle duals and why this isn’t the national tournament.”

No. 12 Joseph Lavallee defeated No. 17 Sparty Chino at 157 pounds with a 3-1 decision.  

“Really what it comes down to is they out hand-fought us,” Greenlee said, citing the 157 matchup as a microcosm of the whole night. “We have to be able to hand-fight [to win].”

Harrison Hightower stopped the bleeding for Ohio at 165 with an 11-4 decision over Cody Johnston, but just a match later it proved to be too late.

The quick end robbed fans of seeing a rematch at 197 between No. 13 Phil Wellington and No. 3 J’Den Cox. Last year Wellington handed Cox his first collegiate defeat in Ohio’s dual meet with Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The two met again in the finals of the 2014 MAC Championship and Cox walked away the victor that time, and went on to win a national title at 197.

With a few wrestlers banged up and a top-five program across the mats, the cards were stacked against the ‘Cats, but Greenlee remains optimistic.

“We’re a good team,” he said. “We have great guys on our team but I think we are like a 10-speed bicycle. We are not using all of our gears right now. If we do that we are going to be really good.”