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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio wrestling team (3-4, 1-1 MAC) will compete in its first Mid-American Conference road dual meet of the 2018-19 season when it faces host Northern Illinois (5-6, 1-2 MAC) on Sunday (Jan. 27). Action will get underway at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT from NIU's Convocation Center.
The Bobcats split their first two MAC matches of the season. Ohio fell to No. 5-ranked Missouri, 30-12, on Jan. 11 but earned a 24-12 victory over rival Kent State on Jan. 18 in the annual Grudge Match between the two programs.
The win over the Golden Flashes saw the Bobcats take seven of the 10 weight classes, with sophomore Aaron Naples (Brunswick, Ohio) winning by a 3-0 decision at 197 pounds, redshirt junior Shakur Laney (Canal Winchester, Ohio) winning by a 10-4 decision at 125, redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) winning by a 10-1 major decision at 133, senior Cameron Kelly (Bellbrook, Ohio) winning by an 18-3 technical fall at 141, redshirt freshman Alec Hagan (Eureka, Mo.) winning by a 4-3 decision at 149, redshirt junior Zac Carson (Akron, Ohio) winning by an 11-4 decision at 157 and freshman Colt Yinger (Nelsonville, Ohio) earning a 3-1 overtime victory at 165. Laney, Guillen and Kelly all sport 2-0 records so far in conference dual meets.
Ohio enters Sunday's matchup with the Huskies maintaining a No. 2 ranking in the MAC per the conference coaches' second January rankings, which were released on Thursday (Jan. 24) in conjunction with the league office.
Based on the individual rankings, Ohio boasts seven student-athletes ranked in the top-four of their respective weight classes in the league. Laney remains ranked in the top spot at 125. Maintaining a No. 2 ranking in their respective weight classes are Guillen at 133 and Hagan at 149. Carson is now ranked third at 157. Naples remains ranked third at 197. Yinger moved up one spot to No. 3 at 165. Kelly remains ranked fourth at 141.
Thursday also saw the release of the first of four 2018-19 NCAA coaches' panel rankings, and five Bobcats made the cut. Laney is ranked 20th at 125, Carson is ranked 20th at at 157, Kelly is ranked 23rd at 141, Guillen is ranked 25th at 133 and redshirt senior Zack Parker (Felton, Del.) is ranked 28th at 285. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine qualifiers and seeding for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches' rankings to earn allocation spots for their qualifying tournaments for the championships. The coaches' rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. To be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents in the weight class and have wrestled within the last 30 days.
Laney is 9-6 on the season with one win by fall and three by major decision. Carson is 14-5 on the year with one victory by fall and another by technical fall and is ranked 20th in the country according to InterMat. Kelly is 9-2 with two wins by fall and another by technical fall and is ranked 19th in the nation by The Open Mat. Guillen is 7-1 with one win by fall and one by major decision and is ranked 19th in the nation by The Open Mat. Parker is 11-5 with one win by fall.
Ohio last faced Northern Illinois on Jan. 21, 2018, at the Convo in Athens, rolling to a 34-6 win. The Huskies are coming off of a 40-6 loss at home to Missouri on Friday (Jan. 25). Led by head coach Ryan Ludwig, Northern Illinois was tied for fifth with Central Michigan in the second January MAC coaches' rankings. Four Huskies are currently ranked in the top four in their weight classes in the league, including redshirt sophomore Kenny Moore, who is ranked second at 165, redshirt freshman Brit Wilson, who is ranked second at 165, redshirt senior Alijah Jeffery, who is ranked fourth at 133, and redshirt junior Caleb Gossett, who is ranked fourth at 285. Wilson is also ranked 12th in the NCAA coaches' panel rankings.
Ohio at Northern Illinois Probable Lineups
125: Ohio R-Jr. Shakur Laney (9-6, 2-0 MAC) OR R-So. Trevor Giallombardo (3-5, 0-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Fr. Bryce West
133: Ohio R-So. Mario Guillen (7-1, 2-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Sr. Alijah Jeffery OR R-Fr. Drew West
141: Ohio Sr. Cameron Kelly (9-2, 2-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Sr. Alijah Jeffery OR R-Fr. Drew West
149: Ohio R-Fr. Alec Hagan (12-9, 1-1 MAC) OR R-Jr. Kade Kowalski (6-7, 0-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Jr. McCoy Kent
157: Ohio R-Jr. Zac Carson (14-5, 1-1 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Fr. Mason Kauffman
165: Ohio Fr. Colt Yinger (11-5, 1-1 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-So. Kenny Moore OR R-Jr. Caden McWhirter
174: Ohio R-Sr. Arsen Ashuygan (1-4, 0-1 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Fr. Brit Wilson
184: Ohio Jr. Hunter Yeargan (9-12, 0-2 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Fr. Will Feldkamp OR R-Jr. Mike Aldrich OR R-Sr. Andrew Scott
197: Ohio So. Aaron Naples (9-8, 1-1 MAC) OR Gr. Derek Hillman (0-0, 0-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-So. Max Ihry OR R-Jr. Ross Sealby
285: Ohio R-Sr. Zack Parker (11-5, 0-2 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois R-Jr. Caleb Gossett
Ohio will be back on the road next Sunday (Feb. 3) when it takes on Central Michigan in a 2 p.m. ET matchup at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.