Courtesy OhioBobcatTV

Ohio Wrestling Reviewed And Previewed

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The sting of falling short in the national tournament is something that doesn’t go away for wrestlers.

“I still remember every move, every position from the year I was [All-American] and the year I wasn’t,” Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee said.

Cody Walters had his dreams of being a national champion not only taken away, but he failed to reach All-American status for the second year in a row since earning the honors as a freshman. As a team, Ohio wrestling went without an All-American athlete for the first time since 2011.

But every failure can be seen as learning experience, especially when your team is returning five of its six national qualifiers.

Cody Walters, Andrew Romanchik, Phil Wellington and Sparty Chino will all be returning to Ohio for their senior seasons. Tywan Claxton might just join them if he is granted another year of eligibility.

They will represent Ohio as captains, each bringing different personality traits that make them lead best as a unit instead of as individuals.

“We all learn something from each other, like Tywan brings something special compared to what Romo brings.” Walters said. “Romo is more relaxed where Tywan brings that gangster love feeling, so we all bring something different.”

Ohio is only losing 165-pounder Harrison Hightower. Hightower is a two-time national qualifier and a four-year starter for Ohio. He came to the Bobcats from Virginia Tech and tallied 100 wins in his Bobcat career.

Behind Hightower is freshman Austin Reese. Reese placed in the top five in the state tournament all four years of high school and was crowned champion his senior year. He won the freshman and sophomore division of the 165-pound weight class at the Michigan State Open at the start of the year, and claimed first in several other opens and tournaments. While Reese isn’t the guaranteed starter, he is the only Bobcat returning for 165-pounds.

Should Claxton not be granted another year of eligibility, Cullen Cummings is likely to take command of 149. He’s been learning behind Claxton for the past two seasons, and big things are expected of him from the Ohio coaching staff.

Romanchik will also be a grappler to watch next season. Romanchik reached the national tournament for the first time this year. After making the jump from 157 to 184 this season, he wrestled underweight for most of the second half of the season. With a full offseason to bulk up, he could break out – that’s if qualifying for nationals wasn’t enough of a break out.

The heavy weight slot should also have a lot of improvement next season. Freshmen Zach Parker and Jesse Webb split time for the majority of the season, with Parker finishing just below a .500 record. Freshman year tends to difficult for wrestlers because of the change of weight classes from high school and significantly increased strength of opponents. For these reasons and more, most freshmen red shirt. The advantage of the development of two freshman wrestlers can’t be diminished.

Kagen Squire and KeVon Powell will also have the opportunity to step up next season. Both struggled with injury, but both will also be returning for their senior seasons next year. Squire finished the end of the season strong with a fourth place finish in the MAC tournament.

The 2014-2015 season didn’t end the way Ohio wrestling hoped for or anticipated. But the team’s future looks bright anchored by seven determined seniors coming back with a vengeance, and some young-guns looking to make a statement.