Wrestling Day One at Nationals

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Through day one of competition at the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, five of the six competing Ohio Bobcats are still alive in their brackets for another day of competition.

The group of five is headed by 149-pounder Tywan Claxton – the only Bobcat still competing in the championship bracket after a 2-0 day.

Claxton earned an 8-5 comeback win in his opening round match. Entering the third period against Matthew Frisch, Claxton trailed The Citadel’s 149-pounder 3-2.

The Bobcat middleweight carried that momentum into a Thursday night match against Stanford’s Garret Schaner. Claxton earned a take down in the first period, a near fall in the second and an escape in the third.

“Today he goes out and wins a hard fought match the first one, he wins another hard fought match and he’s to tomorrow,” Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee said. “And that’s what you do. You just go out there and scrap [against] every one. We don’t care where he’s from, what singlet he has on or who he is.”

Claxton will take on No. 3 David Habat of Edinboro in the quarterfinals.

Also earning first round wins were 157-pounder Sparty Chino and 174-pounder Cody Walters, a No. 9 seed.

Walters’ bout with Cornell’s George Pickett had plenty of drama, as it took tiebreakers to find a winner.

Walters wrestled from behind after Pickett managed a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the match. Ohio’s All-American led 3-2 at the end of the third but a point for riding time in Pickett’s favor sent the match to the first overtime.

An uneventful overtime led to tiebreakers, where a reversal from Walters earned him the win.

Chino’s match marked another Ohio defeat of a grappler from the Citadel, and an upset of a seeded wrestler. He defeated No. 16 Aaron Walker in a 6-4 decision.

Chino and Walters went on to drop their second round bouts.

No. 1 seed Isiah Martinez pinned Chino in the first period to maintain an undefeated record this season.

No. 8 Tyler Wilps of Pittsburgh dashed Walters’ championship hopes in an 8-2 decision.

No. 16 Harrison Hightower, 165 pounds, found himself on the wrong end of an upset with a 3-0 first round loss. He bounced back in the second round with a pin of SIUE’s Conner McMahon. The Bobcat senior pumped his arms in excitement and relief after capturing the first national tournament win of his career.

Like Hightower, 197-pounder Phil Wellington was also upset in round one, but bounced back with a round two victory. The 14th-seed lost in a second overtime period to Eastern Michigan’s Anthony Abro.

The two entered the first overtime tied at 1-1. A scoreless sudden victory period went into tiebreakers, where each managed an escape. In the second overtime, Abro picked up a takedown for a 4-2 win.

Wellington got to day two in another matchup with a Mid-American Conference wrestler, dispatching Northern Iowa’s Basil Minto by a 4-1 decision.

In the 184 bracket, unseeded Andrew Romanchik was eliminated with two losses to top-10 seeds.

Despite a slow start to the day, Greenlee was satisfied with his team’s resolve to advance five of six athletes onto another day.

“I thought we fought hard for the positions we were in,” Greenlee said. “I want our guys to realize that it is a tough road to hoe and there is going to be other guys who want to quit for whatever reason and I don’t want it to be us.”

Dropping to the consolation bracket, Chino will take on No. 15 Justin Staudenmayer of Brown Friday morning.

Also competing in his first consolation match is Walters, who matches up with Ohio State’s Mark Martin – a No. 10 seed.

Hightower and Wellington are continuing on in the wrestleback bracket.

Like Chino and Walters, Wellington will take on a seeded wrestler in No. 13 Shane Woods of Wyoming.

Hightower has a tilt with Nebraska’s Austin Wilson.

Day two competition continues from St. Louis on Friday at 11 a.m. ET.