MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite getting pins from junior Jim Fowler (Valley City) and senior Jeremiah Beltran (Olathe, Kan.) and a decision by senior Mike Allen (Springfield), a depleted Ohio wrestling team lost a dual meet at No. 20 West Virginia 25-15 Friday night.
The Bobcats (9-11-1) were forced to compete without three-time All-American Jake Percival (Elyria), who is ranked fourth in the nation at 157 pounds with a 22-2 record, and fellow senior Ed Willis (Liberty Township) at 174 pounds. Percival was too ill to make the trip while Willis is suffering from respiratory problems.
The meet started with a pair of freshman squaring off at 125 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Ohio’s Caleb Metcalf (Waterville) collected 1:11 in riding time before giving up the escape in the second period. The third period ended with a 1-1 tie and neither wrestler was able to score in overtime until Shawn Cordell recorded another escape during the second ride-out period to win the match 2-1.
Codie Gustines gave West Virginia a 6-0 lead with a 5-0 decision over Bobcat sophomore Matt Smith (Sandyville, W.Va.) at 133 pounds. The Mountaineer freshman scored a takedown just a minute in and then earned a three-point near fall for the match’s only points.
At 141 pounds, Fowler evened the score with a pin of Vince Gioiella after trailing the freshman 5-0 after the first period. Fowler’s third pin of the year came with 43 seconds left in the second period, improving his record to 8-7 on the season and 20-24 for his career.
“Jimmy was behind early but he stuck in it, stayed tough and stayed after the guy,” said Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee. “He ended up grinding him down and pinning him. He’s done a heck of a job this season because he trains the way he wrestles. When he wrestles, he fights every step of the way and he trains that way, too.”
The first Bobcat lead came at 9-6 when Allen provided an 8-3 win over West Virginia sophomore Teddy Adams. The senior from Springfield registered a takedown in each period and added an escape and riding time for his 11th victory of the year.
“Mike has really gotten smarter and smarter as the year has gone on,” Greenlee said. “He wrestles smart and he does the right things. He’s not always super, super flashy but he gets the job done.”
The Mountaineers regained the lead at 157 pounds as Matt Lebe, ranked seventh in the nation, scored an 18-6 major decision over Ohio sophomore Aaron Gomoll (Bay Village), who was filling in for Percival.
West Virginia then increased its advantage to 13-9 with a 13-6 decision by Zac Fryling over Bobcat senior Tony DeAnna (Westlake). Like Gomoll, all of DeAnna’s points came on escapes following Mountaineer takedowns.
With freshman Ryan Knapp (McConnelsville) replacing Willis in Ohio’s starting lineup, the Bobcats fell behind 16-9 after a 5-1 loss at 174 pounds. The Mountaineers then secured the team victory with a pin of sophomore Brian Cesear (Amherst) by Greg Jones, the top-ranked 184-pounder in the country. It was the 40th straight win for the two-time NCAA champion, improving his season record to 14-0 and his career mark to 114-4.
At 197 pounds, West Virginia sophomore Jared Villers managed a 3-0 decision over Ohio senior Joel Weimer (Waynesville). It marked only the fourth loss of the season for Weimer, who is recovering from an ankle injury while also battling the flu.
Beltran capped off the evening with a pin of sophomore Matt Holsopple in the heavyweight contest. Beltran was leading 8-4 when he secured the fall with just 14 seconds remaining in the match, improving his record to 14-9 on the year and 58-41 for his career. It was his team-leading sixth pin of the season.
“That last match turned into a brawl more than a wrestling match there for a while,” Greenlee described. “The guy he was wrestling headbutted him a couple of times and stuff like that. It took Jeremiah a while but once he got him in a body lock in the third period, he threw him to his back and pinned him after about 45 seconds.”
The Bobcats must now travel to Kent, Ohio, for a Mid-American Conference dual meet against the Golden Flashes at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Ohio will then close out the regular season with a 2 p.m. home dual against No. 9 Central Michigan on Feb. 20, which will also be Senior Day in the Convocation Center.
No. 20 West Virginia 25, Ohio 15
125 – Shawn Cordell (WVU) dec. Caleb Metcalf (Ohio), 2-1 OT 133 – Codie Gustines (WVU) dec. Matt Smith (Ohio), 5-0 141 – Jim Fowler (Ohio) fall Vince Gioiella (WVU), 4:17 149 – Mike Allen (Ohio) dec. Teddy Adams (WVU), 8-3 157 – #7 Matt Lebe (WVU) major dec. Aaron Gomoll (Ohio), 18-6 165 – Zac Fryling (WVU) dec. Tony DeAnna (Ohio), 13-6 174 – Eric Mullen (WVU) dec. Ryan Knapp (Ohio), 5-1 184 – #1 Greg Jones (WVU) fall Brian Cesear (Ohio), 5:21 197 – Jared Villers (WVU) dec. Joel Weimer (Ohio), 3-0 HWT – Jeremiah Beltran (Ohio) fall Matt Holsopple (WVU), 6:46