Updated Sun, Nov 10, 2013 7:43 pm
The Ohio wrestling team had eight athletes place in the top eight of their weight classes and two finish as champions on Saturday at the Michigan State Open. Noah Forrider won the freshman and sophomore division for the 141-pound weight class and Phil Wellington took first place at 197 pounds in the open division.
More than twenty teams competed in the individual tournament as a way to kick off the regular season. The open division consisted of starters and upper classmen in order to divide up the athletes for better competitive matches.
Forrider's performance is inspiring for the true freshman who is expected to make an impact in his weight class this season. He won his final match 6-2 over Columbia's Ryan Murrdock.
Wellington, 197, dominated his bracket. He outscored his opponents 29-7 and pinned Indiana Tech's Kelvin Jordan in his first match.
Tywan Claxton finished second in the 149 open division after a last-second takedown of Ohio State's Ian Paddock propelled him to the finals. He fell to Ohio State's Hunter Stieber, a two time all-American, by a score of 9-5 in the championship round.
Jeremy Johnson, heavyweight, and Sparty Chino, 157, both achieved third place in their divisions. Their only losses in the tournament came to their weight class champions.
True freshman Cullen Cummings, 149, placed fifth in the freshman and sophomore bracket. Andrew Romanchik, 157, placed seventh in the open division and Harrison Hightower, 165, placed fifth. Hightower pinned Northern Illinois' Sam Bennet in the second round of the tournament before falling to Navy's Peyton Walsh by a 4-0 decision.
Redshirt sophomore all-American Cody Walters did not wrestle in the meet. He did not practice last week due to a skin issue. He is expected to be prepared for Ohio's next match.
The strong performances from the true freshmen are a great sign for the Bobcats. Competition at the 141- and 149-pound weight classes should only help the wrestlers improve over the course of the season.
Ohio's next match will be at the Eastern Michigan Duals on November 16. The Eastern Michigan Duals mark the beginning of team play for the Bobcats. They will take on Drexel, Utah Valley and Indiana Tech.