BST: Ok, on to MAC conference mate Ohio.
Lavion Mayes started the dual off and looked to be in a bit of trouble through the 2nd. What happened in the 3rd that got Mayes the MD?
Shaffe: I think what happened in the 3rd is what should have happened from the start – Mayes really taking it to a guy that just isn’t in his class right now. This individual match was an interesting example though in the "any given moment" aspect of wrestling as even a wrestler who is a ton better than his opponent can find himself in a bad position and give up big points. Mayes did just that giving up a 6 point takedown early on in the match before really hitting the gas and coming back for a major decision.
Luke Fortuna had a much better performance against Spartak Chino than he did the night before, but ultimately fell 4-3 to the nationally ranked Bobcat. We all know that Fortuna is being thrown to the fire right now but it was nice to see him finish the weekend on a positive note despite not getting the result he was looking for. Hopefully he can build on this as the year goes on and start picking up some more tangible victories.
BST: Yeah, Lewis went out and did Lewis things. He dominated Reese from Ohio from the get go and picked up a 17-1 tech fall. Honestly I was happy to see Lewis get the full time Tech against a decent level opponent. He had to stay active throughout the match and keep looking for points. Reese did a good job of not getting pinned, forcing Lewis to keep working.
174 had maybe the most competitive match of the dual. Blaise Butler met up with #9 Cody Walters and got the win 5-4. I went back and watched this match. It was some darned good wrestling. Both guys were active on their feet, kept working for take downs and got up after being taken down pretty quickly. Again, glad to see Butler working back towards a top 5 ranking and not letting these close matches slip by him in his senior year.
What did we see out of Willie against Ohio, and I've heard there was a TAD bit of controversy at 197.
Shaffe: After his huge victory over Kenny Courts the night before Willie went out and took care of business very cleanly against Andrew Romanchik. Even though Willie didn’t pick up the major decision like you would hope for against an unranked opponent he was very much in control from the opening whistle.
As you alluded to, the most interesting portion of the dual was yet to come. J’Den Cox and Phil Wellington have a bit of history with each other with Wellington having handed Cox his very first collegiate loss and Cox getting revenge in last year’s MAC championship bout. About 20 seconds into the second period with Cox on top the two wrestlers were both on their feet heading for the boundary as Wellington was attempting to gain the escape. Just as the two hit the edge of the circle J’Den lifted Wellington and the momentum of the late lift carried Wellington into a matside scorer’s table. After evaluating the situation Cox was hit with an illegal move penalty and Wellington was deemed unable to continue, resulting in a forfeit for the match and 6 points to Ohio in the dual.
That pretty well states the facts, how about some analysis of the situation?
BST: Wow that was concise. I'd say that situation, on the edge of the mat did warrant either a point deduction from J'Den or a point awarded to Wellington. The unfortunate circumstance there is that it also allowed the Ohio coach to basically pull his guy aside (after Wellington got up and made an attempt back to the mat to continue the match) and tell him he was no longer fit to continue. This "decision" pretty well results in at least a 9 point change in the team scoring. If it had been a tournament the penalized wrestler could not only be booted from the tournament, but could also lose any team points that had been earned for his team. We saw this very thing last year at the NCAAs.
It’s tough when young men get on the edge of out of control. The refs did a good job and did their job by the letter of the rule book in my opinion. The problem is that this sort of penalty can be more than a tad heavy handed and in many instances, punish the wrestler far too heavily.
Anything else you'd like to add to that?
Shaffe: I think for the most part we are in agreement here. Cox very much deserved the penalty point in the match, but I’m not quite as sure as you are about the gamesmanship put on by the Ohio head coach. We have to remember Wellington did take a pretty nasty tumble out off of the entire mat and into a table/hardwood floor. Thankfully it appeared that Wellington didn’t have any super serious injury as he was able to walk away visually fine, but I think the coach was probably more protecting his guy who could’ve had an injury that couldn’t be diagnosed in the 2 minutes they had to look him over rather than nefariously trying to gain the 6 points in a dual he wasn’t going to win anyway.
As to the ramifications outside of this one instance, that’s a discussion for a whole different time. What’s particularly interesting about the Cox/Wellington incident is that in the very next match Ohio’s Jesse Webb managed to hoist James Romero into a somewhat questionable overhead slam type move which nearly brought about the exact same situation as the match before. I was pretty surprised watching this one live that 1)Romero was able to finish the match and 2)in the end there wasn’t any sort of unsportsmanlike penalty assessed here. Romero landed pretty hard with a lot of weight coming down right on his head/neck area but after some injury time was deemed to not be concussed or otherwise injured beyond continuation. After taking a short breather the Tiger big man was able to finish his weekend off right and beat Webb quite easily 9-4. This was one of the first real signs of life I’ve seen out of Romero all year so hopefully he can take this result and, much like Luke Fortuna at 157, turn this weekend into a springboard for a better season than the overall match record would indicate.
After the excitement at 197 and heavyweight the dual finished off pretty smoothly with Mizzou wrestlers taking the final 3 matches. Care to take us through any observations you have from McGhee, Synon, and Manley against the Bobcats?
BST: I'd probably feel a bit different about Wellington not returning if the Ohio coach had not fully flipped out about his own guy getting hit with a dangerous move penalty. Dude threw such an epic fit he was hit with the first bench penalty I've ever seen in college wrestling.
Anywho. I agree on Romero. Dude had a solid weekend. He showed some real signs of grit and offensive ability before looking like a true frosh and getting pinned by Tavanello. For him to come back the next day against an unorthodox (and the least athletic looking wrestler I've ever seen) Ohio Hwt, powered thru getting bounced off his head and got the win. An almost win against a top 20 guy and a conference win is like you said, real signs of life from the young'n.
I did not see 1 minute of the light weights in this dual. Glad to see the 3 smallest guys picked up wins, including Manley in a tough OT match. Was there anything you saw that warrants mentioning?
Shaffe: Those 3 matches all obviously turned out well for the Tigers, but there wasn’t a whole lot of notable action to come out of them. Of course with a sport like wrestling it’s always good to avoid falling in the trap of underestimating your opponent and getting beat, so that in and of itself was notable that McGhee, Synon, and Manley all were able to do that.
I think we’ve just about drug this thing on long enough, and without Beef’s help to boot. Do you have any other big picture things to add before we break for the holidays?
BST: Nope. I think we captured all the "essence" of this weekend
Shaffe: One last thing I want to add is that for anybody interested both of these dual matches are viewable on replay via ESPN3. There really was some great action last weekend and maybe in a small way getting some more hits out there will encourage ESPN to put more of the nonrevenue sports on their digital platform.
Also, we’ll be holding a candlelight vigil for Beef’s email this Thursday at 3:00.
Beef: Did you guys even preview Kent State this weekend?
BST: Are they still a real university?
Shaffe: Apparently one little email hiccup and we have to do it all now.
Beef: They’ve got one decent wrestler though, don’t they?
BST: Ian Miller at 157 and Mack McGuire at 133. So Synon could have an interesting matchup.
Beef: Did Synon and McGuire face off last year at all? I know Miller was very solid and would expect the same, so it will be interesting to see how Fortuna measures up
BST: According to wrestle stat they did not.
Beef: Well then, that answers that. Do you think we might see a few other guys get some time and give some of the others some rest, or because this is our last dual for a little while, do you think Smith just rolls out the normal lineup?
Shaffe: With it being a conference dual and the break upcoming, I think we see the full lineup.
Here’s a link to last year’s matchup:
Beef: 26-14, but came with a forfeit at HWY since Mellon had not yet been reinstated. The Mikey England pin over Caleb Marsh was a big result