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Bobcat Wrestlers Open NCAA Competition on Thursday

Jeremy Johnson

March 21, 2013

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Ohio University wrestling team begins action at the 2013 NCAA Championships Thursday afternoon inside Wells Fargo Arena. The tournament runs through Saturday, with two sessions per day. Ohio boasts a program-record five competitors in the field.

Redshirt freshman Cody Walters (Macedonia, Ohio) leads the way for the Bobcats at the national tournament after he claimed the MAC title at 174 by posting a perfect 3-0 record. Walters became the second-straight Ohio wrestler to win the 174 league title. In 2012, Nick Purdue won the 174 title. Walters has a team-best 35 wins on the year for the Bobcats.

Freshman Kevon Powell (Romeoville, Ill.) and junior Jeremy Johnson (Broadview Heights, Ohio) also earned bids to the NCAA Championship as they both placed third in at the league championships.

In 2012, Johnson became Ohio's first All-American since 2010 when Germane Lindsay earned the honor. He became the 18th wrestler in school history to place at the NCAA Championships and just the third wrestler to do so in the last 10 years. Johnson will look to become the first Bobcat to earn back-to-back All-America honors since Jake Percival. Percival earned four-straight All-America honors.

Earning at-large bids for the Bobcats were redshirt freshmen Sparty Chino (Wheaton, Ill.) and Phil Wellington (Euclid, Ohio).

The Bobcats' five qualifiers for the NCAA Championships ranked as the third-best total in the MAC. Missouri, Central Michigan and Kent State were the only school that had more national qualifiers. In total, the MAC will send 40 individuals as a league.

Ohio returns to the mat for the first time since the Mid-American Conference Championships where it tied for fifth. As team, the `Cats closed the year with an 11-5 mark, winning their final seven matches.

Championship Schedule (all times Eastern)
Session I - Thursday, Noon (ESPN3)
Session II - Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Session III - Friday, 11 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)
Session IV - Friday, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Session V - Saturday, 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session VI - Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

NCAA Championship Matchups
125 - Ohio: Kevon Powell (8-13) vs. Penn State: No. 4 Nicholas Megaludis (24-3)
157 - Ohio: Sparty Chino (20-13) vs. Harvard: No. 11 Walter Peppelman (17-2)
174 - Ohio: Cody Walters (35-2) vs. Purdue: Chad Welch (21-13)
197 - Ohio: Phil Wellington (23-14) vs. Harvard: James Fox (13-4)
HWT - Ohio: Jeremy Johnson (32-9) vs. Penn State: James Lawson (21-7)