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NORFOLK, Va. -- The final day of the 2019 Mid-American Conference Championships saw two members of the Ohio wrestling team punch tickets to the 2019 NCAA Division I Championships, with senior Cameron Kelly (Bellbrook, Ohio) earning a spot at 141 pounds after placing third and redshirt senior Zack Parker (Felton, Del.) taking the fourth spot at 285 courtesy of a thrilling win in a challenge match to wrap up the two-day tournament today at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
As a team, the Bobcats finished fifth with 99.5 points, placing ahead of Northern Illinois (98), SIUE (68.5) and Kent State (66). Missouri clinched its seventh-straight MAC title with 180 points. Buffalo (113.5), Central Michigan (112.5) and Old Dominion (111) rounded out the top four.
Kelly defeated Old Dominion redshirt junior Sa'Derian Perry in the consolation semifinals with a 4-3 win by decision, then won the third-place bout with a 13-2 victory by major decision over Central Michigan redshirt freshman Drew Marten. Kelly clinched his second-straight trip to nationals and the third of his career.
"It feels good to finish out strong," said Kelly. "I didn't get what I came here to get, but I fought back. I had tough match in the consolation semis against a returning All-American, so that was a good win. I finished up strong in third place, so I'm pretty happy with it."
Parker clinching the second trip to nationals of his career in his final conference tournament was perhaps the highlight of the weekend for the Bobcats. Parker lost to Missouri freshman Zach Elam by a 6-0 decision in the consolation semifinals but bounced back by earning a win by fall in 6:55 over Northern Illinois redshirt junior Caleb Gossett. Elman defeated Buffalo redshirt senior Jake Gunning in the third-place bout with a 3-0 win by decision, forcing Parker and Gunning to square off in a challenge match to decide who would claim the MAC's fourth and final qualifier to nationals at 285. Parker delivered in the pressure-packed moment, coming away with a 6-4 win by decision to punch his ticket to the national tournament and claim fourth place.
"It means everything," said Parker. "I feel so great right now. It was great to have my team there cheering me on while I'm out there battling it out to try to go to NCAAs. Considering I didn't have the best senior year I would've liked, it just means so much to be able to go out and turn it around and be an NCAA qualifier again."
In his first MAC tournament, freshman Colt Yinger (Nelsonville, Ohio) finished as the runner-up at 165 after falling to Buffalo junior Troy Keller in the finals.
Redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) and redshirt freshman Alec Hagan (Eureka, Mo.) both earned fourth-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Guillen notched a 3-1 win by sudden victory over Northern Illinois redshirt senior Alijah Jeffery in the consolation semifinals at 133 but fell in the third-place bout to Kent State junior Tim Rooney in a match that ended in a 4-2 win in double overtime for Rooney. Hagan logged a win by fall in 4:32 over Northern Illinois redshirt junior McCoy Kent in the consolation semifinals at 149 but fell in the third-place bout as Central Michigan sophomore Dresden Simon won by a 17-7 major decision.
Two Bobcats earned wins in the fifth-place bouts of their respective weight classes. Junior Hunter Yeargan (Willard, Mo.) won by medical forfeit over Old Dominion junior Antonio Agee in the fifth-place match at 184 while graduate student Derek Hillman (Woodhaven, Mich.) earned a win by fall in 7:42 over SIUE senior Christian Dulaney in the final match of his collegiate career.
The 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be held March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The NCAA will announce the 330 qualifiers for nationals next Tuesday (March 12), then host the selection show that will reveal the seeding and brackets for the championships on Wednesday (March 13) at 6 p.m. ET.