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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio wrestling team (2-2, 0-0 MAC) will begin the Mid-American Conference portion of its 2081-19 schedule on Friday (Jan. 11), playing host to six-time defending league champion Missouri (10-0, 4-0 MAC) in a 7 p.m. ET showdown at the Convocation Center in Athens. The matchup between the Bobcats and the Tigers will be streamed live on ESPN+.
The Bobcats will continue to celebrate 100 years of wrestling at Ohio on Friday night, welcoming back MAC champions from the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s. Friday is also Youth Wrestling Night at the Convo.
Ohio is coming off of an eighth-place finish at the 2019 Southern Scuffle presented by Compound Sportswear, which was held Jan. 1-2 at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn. Two Bobcats claimed fourth-place finishes at the Southern Scuffle -- redshirt junior Zac Carson (Akron, Ohio) at 157 pounds and senior Cameron Kelly (Bellbrook, Ohio) at 141 pounds. In addition to Carson and Kelly, four other wrestlers advanced to day two of the Southern Scuffle -- redshirt junior Shakur Laney (Canal Winchester, Ohio) at 125 pounds, redshirt sophomore Nick Vestal (Wilmington, Ohio) at 157 pounds, freshman Colt Yinger (Nelsonville, Ohio) at 165 pounds and junior Hunter Yeargan (Willard, Mo.) at 184 pounds.
The Bobcats have won two of their four dual meets so far in 2018-19, most recently topping Chattanooga, 22-19, in the home opener at the Convo on Dec. 20. A pin by redshirt freshman Alec Hagan (Eureka, Mo.) at 149 and a two-point victory by Carson at 157 helped the Bobcats overcome the Mocs. Also earning wins for Ohio were Yinger by a 12-4 major decision at 165, redshirt sophomore Joe Terry (Pickerington Ohio) by an 8-5 decision at 174, redshirt junior Nate Hall (Lewis Center, Ohio) by an 8-3 decision at 197 and redshirt senior Zack Parker (Felton, Del.) by a 3-1 decision at 285.
Friday's matchup at the Convo features the MAC's top-two teams, per the conference's January rankings. As a team, the Bobcats continue to be ranked second in the MAC with 20 points behind Missouri, which is ranked first with 30 points. The Tigers enter the weekend ranked No. 5 in the country according to the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I Coaches Poll. Individually, Laney is still holding down the top spot at 125 while redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) is ranked second at 133, Hagan is ranked second at 149, Carson is ranked second at 157, sophomore Aaron Naples (Brunswick, Ohio) is ranked third at 197, Kelly is ranked fourth at 141, Yinger is ranked fourth at 165 and Parker is ranked fourth at heavyweight. Carson (InterMat) and Kelly (The Open Mat) are both ranked No. 19 in the nation in their respective weight classes.
Ohio finished 2-5 in conference action last year, earning wins over Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois. The Bobcats were picked to finish third in the MAC's 2018-19 preseason coaches' poll. Ohio and Missouri last squared off on Dec. 10, 2017, with the No. 4-ranked Tigers prevailing over the Bobcats, 36-6.
Missouri enters the weekend with a perfect 10-0 overall record in dual meets -- including a 4-0 mark in MAC meets. The Tigers have outscored the four MAC opponents they have faced so far by a 162-11 count. Missouri will be competing for the first time in 2019 calendar year, with the Tigers most recently knocking off Kent State (44-0), No. 21-ranked Lehigh (21-12), No. 13-ranked Purdue (41-3) and No. 8-ranked Cornell (22-9) at the South Beach Duals, which were held Dec. 29-30 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Eight Missouri wrestlers are ranked at the top of their respective weight classes in the January MAC rankings -- redshirt senior John Erneste at 133, redshirt junior Jaydin Eierman at 141, freshman Brock Mauller at 149, redshirt junior Connor Flynn at 165, redshirt senior Daniel Lewis at 174, redshirt junior Dylan Wisman at 184, redshirt sophomore Wyatt Koelling at 197 and freshman Zach Elam at heavyweight. Eierman, Lewis and redshirt sophomore Grant Leeth represent three of the MAC's five returning All-Americans from the 2017-18 season.
Ohio vs. Missouri Probable Lineups
125: Ohio R-Jr. Shakur Laney (7-5) OR R-So. Trevor Giallombardo (3-5) vs. Missouri R-Fr. Dack Punke (6-4)
133: Ohio R-So. Mario Guillen (5-1) vs. Missouri No. 9 R-Sr. John Erneste (12-2) OR No. 18 R-So. Colby Smith (6-2)
141: Ohio No. 19 Sr. Cameron Kelly (6-2) vs. Missouri No. 3 R-Jr. Jaydin Eierman (15-2) OR R-Fr. Allan Hart (9-5)
149: Ohio R-Fr. Alec Hagan (11-8) vs. Missouri No. 14 Fr. Brock Mauller (20-1)
157: Ohio R-Jr. No. 19 Zac Carson (12-4) vs. Missouri No. 19 Fr. Jarrett Jacques (18-5)
165: Ohio Fr. Colt Yinger (10-3) vs. Missouri No. 13 R-Jr. Connor Flynn (13-3)
174: Ohio Fr. Logan Stanley (4-7) vs. Missouri No. 4 R-Sr. Daniel Lewis (15-1)
184: Ohio Jr. Hunter Yeargan (9-9) vs. Missouri No. 15 R-Jr. Dylan Wisman (13-5)
197: Ohio So. Aaron Naples (8-6) OR R-Jr. Nate Hall (4-10) vs. Missouri No. 20 R-So. Wyatt Koelling (12-7)
285: Ohio R-Sr. Zack Parker (11-2) vs. Missouri No. 16 Fr. Zach Elam (15-5)
Ohio will be back at the Convo on Friday, Jan. 18 when it plays host to MAC rival Kent State in a 7 p.m. ET contest at the Convo. The Bobcats will continue to celebrate 100 years of wrestling at Ohio, welcoming back MAC champions from the 1990s and 2000s. The matchup between the Bobcats and the Golden Flashes will be streamed live on ESPN+.