Updated Mon, Feb 3, 2014 10:07 am
The Ohio Bobcats were within six of undefeated Northern Iowa going into the final two matches, but a pin on Harrison Hightower in the 165-pound match put the meet just out of reach. Ohio fell to Northern Iowa 25-15.
The Bobcats and Panthers split the number of match victories, five and five, but bonus point victories are what sealed Ohio’s fate. The Bobcats gave up two pins and two technical falls in their five losses.
Ohio had the lead after three matches thanks to wins by heavyweight Jeremy Johnson and Phil Wellington, 197 pounds. But after falling behind, Northern Iowa hit right back with a pin, technical fall, and a minor decision victory to take a 13-point lead.
The Bobcats were able to stay in the dual with consecutive victories from Tywan Claxton, 149, and Sparty Chino, 157, as they drew the score to 19-12. Hightower’s fall then came at the hands of Cooper Moore, who is ranked No. 11 in the nation according to InterMatWrestle.com.
Cody Walters, 174, finished the dual with a 6-1 victory over Cody Caldwell. The win marked Walters first victory over a ranked opponent this season. Walters is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation and Caldwell No. 17.
While the loss is not what the Bobcats were hoping for, the Ohio wrestlers ranked in the top twenty continued to shine, going 4-0 against Northern Iowa.
The Bobcats biggest issue was against the Panthers top 20 wrestlers. Ohio went 1-5 against these top grapplers.
Contending with a top ten team going into the final two duals is promising for the Bobcats. The ten-point loss is the second closest meet the 8-0 Panthers have had with any team all season.
The Bobcats will now look to finish up the regular season with five straight home matches. Next weekend they will be taking on Clarion and Old Dominion for their final Mid-American Conference dual of the season. Ohio is now 8-3 overall and 4-3 within the MAC.