ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio wrestling team (2-5) will take a break from traveling to host two Mid-American Conference duals over the weekend (Jan. 19-21). The Bobcats will first take on Kent State (10-6) at 7 p.m. on Friday followed by a day to recover then the action starts again at 2 p.m. on Sunday in a battle with Northern Illinois (2-4.).
LAST TIME OUT
The Bobcats earned a big 37-6 victory over VMI on Saturday (Jan. 13). Ohio would take nine out of the 10 matches on the day, with two pins from Cameron Kelly (Bellbrook, Ohio) and Zack Parker (Felton, Del.).
Ohio redshirt freshman Trevor Giallombardo (Gaylord, Mich.) would get the first win of the day in a battle with VMI's Cliff Conway in the 125-class, taking the win with an added point for riding time to earn a 6-1 decision win. Kelly would then earn another victory for the Bobcats in his match against VMI's Hunter Starner. Kelly would earn an impressive win with a pin to take the match in just 2:05.
Ohio redshirt sophomore Kade Kowalski (Nashport, Ohio) would represent the Bobcats in the 149-class where he would face VMI's William Lawrence, where he would take a 6-4 decision win for Ohio. Ohio redshirt senior Cullen Cummings (Woodridge, Ill.) would face VMI's Robert Dupont in the 157-class. Cummings would earn a takedown to start the match and lead 2-0 going into the second period. Cummings would add to his lead in the second with takedown followed by three four-point nearfalls in a row to end the match with a 16-0 technical fall win in 4:47, adding another win for the Bobcats.
Ohio redshirt freshman Joe Terry (Pickerington, Ohio) would meet VMI's Blake Hohman in the 165-class to continue the dual where he would earn a 3-1 decision win. Next up, Ohio redshirt junior Arsen Ashughyan (Vanadzor, Armenia) would face VMI's Cade Kiely in the 174-class. The match would start with a takedown by Ashughyan before Kiely responded with an escape to give Ashughyan a 2-1 lead going into the second. In the second period, Kiely and Ashughyan would each earn a reversal before the third period. Ashughyan would then earn another reversal to add to his lead before Kiely would earn an escape followed by a takedown. Before the match was over, Ashughyan would secure the win with an escape and an added point for riding time to take an 8-6 decision victory.
Ohio redshirt freshman Hunter Yeargan (Williard, Mo.) would represent Ohio in the 184-class against VMI's Christopher Beck. Yeargan would take the match in a 4-2 decision. Ohio freshman Aaron Naples (Brunswick, Ohio) would add another big win for the Bobcats in his match against VMI's Max Gallahan. Naples would start the match with a takedown in the first period, leading 2-0 going into the second. The second period would see Naples earn four four-point nearfalls to secure an 18-0 technical fall win in 4:25. Ohio redshirt junior Zack Parker (Felton, Del.) would tally another win for Ohio before the day was over, facing VMI's Jake Koch. Parker would earn a quick takedown early in the match followed by a pin to take a win by fall in 1:16.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN FLASHES
Kent State is currently 10-6 and 0-2 in the MAC with notable wins over Lake Erie, Virginia, Cleveland State, Columbia and Fresno State. The Golden Flashes' losses in the conference would come from Buffalo and Missouri.
Leading the way for Kent State is Casey Sparkman. Sparkman currently has 97 career victories and has recorded five tech falls and six major decision wins in the 157-class. Tim Rooney has also made his mark on the 2017-18 season with a 24-9 record on the season in the 141-class.
The last time the two teams met, Ohio would record a big 43-2 victory. The Golden Flashes currently lead the series with Ohio, 47-25. The series with Kent State dates back to 1929, making the meeting between the two squads yet another match in "The Grudge Match," series.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Northern Illinois is currently 2-4 and 0-2 in the MAC with wins over The Citadel and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The Huskies' conference losses came from Central Michigan and Old Dominion. Ohio leads the series with NIU 14-10-1, securing a 22-10 win last season. Sunday's contest will serve as the 25th meeting between the two squads.
Leading the way for NIU is Alijah Jeffery. Jeffery has recorded five dual wins in the 133-class and a 14-7 record on the season thus far. At 285, Caleb Gossett holds a 12-8 record in the heavy-weight class while Brock Hudkins holds a 12-5 record in the 125-class.
OHIO IN THE MAC
The Ohio wrestling team was ranked in sixth place in the MAC January rankings while also landing four wrestlers in the top-4 of their class.
The Bobcats will return home next month to continue MAC-contests, hosting Gardner Webb (Feb. 4) and Old Dominion (Feb. 11) in the Convocation Center. Action is set to begin at 1:15 p.m. with Gardner Webb and 1 p.m. with Old Dominion in Athens, Ohio.