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ATHENS, Ohio -- When redshirt junior Zac Carson (Akron, Ohio) and graduate student Derek Hillman (Woodhaven, Mich.) compete in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships this weekend (March 8-9) in Norfolk, Va., they will once again be sporting green & white singlets. Only this year, they will be representing the Bobcats of Ohio rather than the Eagles of Eastern Michigan.
Carson and Hillman found themselves without a place to compete after Eastern Michigan shut down its wrestling program at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season. Carson posted a 20-win season at Eastern Michigan last year, finishing with a 21-13 mark as the primary starter at 165. He earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Championships after taking second at the MAC Championships. Hillman battled through injury to post a 10-9 record, including 5-3 in duals as the primary starter at 197 lbs, and took third at the MAC Championships as the No. 6 seed, going 2-2 with a loss in the championship bout to No. 1 seeded Willie Miklus of Missouri. He narrowly missed out on the NCAA Championships after falling to Kyle Conel of Kent State in the true second place match.
Both Carson and Hillman wound up finding a new home in Athens when 22nd-year head coach Joel Greenlee gave them the opportunity to continue their collegiate careers as members of the Bobcats. Carson enters the 2019 MAC Championships ranked 18th at 157 pounds according to the the third of four NCAA Coaches' Panel Rankings, owning an 18-6 record on the year. Hillman has competed in four matches for Ohio since joining the squad, picking up a win over Max Ihry of Northern Illinois on Jan. 27.
Ohio Bobcat TV recently caught up with both Carson and Hillman to talk about their journey from Ypsilanti to Athens.