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Ohio Shines on Day One of the MAC Wrestling Championships

Cody Walters

March 8, 2014

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KENT, Ohio - The Ohio University Wrestling team sits in third place with 81 points following day one competition at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Championships. The two-day event is being held at the M.A.C. Center on the campus of Kent State University.

The Bobcats will enter the final day of competition with four individuals in the championship final. Junior Harrison Hightower (Strongsville, Ohio), sophomore Cody Walters (Macedonia, Ohio), sophomore Phil Wellington (Euclid, Ohio) and senior Jeremy Johnson (Broadview Heights, Ohio) earned bids to the championship final at the 165, 174, 197 and heavyweight divisions, respectively.

Hightower, Walters, Wellington and Johnson all earned the league's automatic bids the NCAA Championships by advancing to the championship final in their respective weight classes.

Ohio is one of just three teams in the championship that will four-or-more individuals competing for individual league crowns.

Hightower's road to the final at 165 began with a 9-0 major decision over Old Dominion's Devin Geoghegan's. He then defeated NIU's Shaun'Qae McMurtry by fall (4:36).

At 174, Walters cruised past Eastern Michigan's Jacob Davis (5-0). In the semifinals, Walters took part in one of the longest matches in league championship history as he went nine periods with Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger. When the dust finally settled, Walters picked up a 3-2 sudden victory over Ottinger. Walters' win over Ottinger was the first of his career.

Wellington continued his hot streak as he picked up his 11th and 12th-consecutive wins, defeating NIU's Jared Bartel (9-3) and Kent State's Cole Baxter (8-4). Wellington will faceoff against Missouri's J'Den Cox, who he defeated 6-4 back on Dec. 6.

Johnson advanced to the final for the second time in three years. He opened his bracket by posting a major decision win over Buffalo's James Benjamin (9-0). He then edged out UNI's Blaize Cabell (3-2) to claim his 14th-consecutive win. Johnson will meet Missouri's Devin Mellon. Back on Dec. 6, Johnson posted a major decision over Mellon.

Sophomore KeVon Powell (Romeoville, Ill.), junior Tywan Claxton (South Euclid, Ohio) and senior Ryan Garringer (Downers Grove, Ill.) will compete in the second day of competition in the consolation bracket.

Northern Iowa owns the team lead with 97 points. The Panthers have five individuals that will compete in the championship final tomorrow.

Day two competition begins tomorrow at Noon. Doors open at 11 a.m.

Overall Team Standings
1. Northern Iowa, 97 points
2. Missouri, 89.5 points
3. Ohio, 81 points
4. Old Dominion, 79 points
5. Central Michigan, 65.5 points
6. Eastern Michigan, 50 points
7. Kent State, 48 points
8. Northern Illinois, 31.5 points
9. Buffalo, 10.5 points