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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio wrestling team (2-3, 0-1 MAC) came away victorious in the first three bouts but ultimately fell to No. 5-ranked Missouri (11-0, 5-0 MAC), 30-12, in the 2018-19 Mid-American Conference opener for the Bobcats tonight at the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead on the Tigers to open up the evening.
Redshirt junior Shakur Laney (Canal Winchester, Ohio) got things going by coming away with a 3-1 sudden victory in overtime over redshirt freshman Dack Punke at 125 pounds. Laney earned an escape in the second period, then gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead with his takedown in overtime.
"I think it was pretty evident in Shakur's match, the guy was trying to do nothing, slow him down, sneak a takedown in at the end," said 22nd-year head coach Joel Greenlee of Laney's win. "We wrestled smart, stayed in good position and did what we had to do."
Ohio's lead grew to 9-0 when redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) picked up six points for the Bobcats when he won via forfeit at 133.
In his 2018-19 home debut, senior Cameron Kelly (Bellbrook, Ohio) added three more points to the Ohio total, with his second-period escape helping to propel him to a 2-0 win by decision over redshirt freshman Allan Hart at 141.
"The guy wasn't really opening up," said Kelly of his victory. "It was kind of a gritty match. I had to buckle down and get some riding time and get my escape and then just stay solid. I didn't score as much as I would have liked to, but I'm still knocking off some rust and we'll get there by the end of the year."
The rust Kelly was referring to was an injury suffered in preseason that kept him out of the lineup until the calendar turned to 2019.
"I feel good. I'm getting back into the swing of things. I'm just grateful to be back on the mat. I had to get a little time off. I had to have surgery and recover from that. It feels really good to be back in the swing of things, get back on the mat and start the new year off right."
Kelly is now 7-2 since his return to the mat and is ranked No. 19 in his weight class in the country according to The Open Mat. Kelly went 6-2 and earned a fourth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle presented by Compound Sportswear, which was held Jan. 1-2 at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn.
"In all honesty, I'm proud of the guy from the standpoint of, in the past these matches were pretty hard for him," said Greenlee of Kelly. "He'd lose focus a little bit. He's had four or five of them since his injury, and he's been better and better every time. Looking for great things out of him this year."
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the Tigers won the final seven bouts to lock down an 18-point victory. Freshman Jarrett Jacques (157), redshirt senior Daniel Lewis (184) and redshirt sophomore Wyatt Koelling (197) accounted for 18 points by earning wins by fall while freshman Brock Mauller (149), redshirt junior Connor Flynn (165), redshirt junior Luke Fortuna (174) and freshman Zach Elam (285) all earned victories by decision.
"I think in the last seven weights, we lacked intensity," said Greenlee. "There were opportunities for us to win, I think, two or three more matches there. You gotta go out and get it. You gotta take it. Nobody's going to give it to you. We didn't go out and take it. Your focus has to be on wrestling hard. Your focus has to be on being aggressive. Your focus can't be on winning or losing, or you're setting yourself up to lose."
Ohio will look to bounce back when it hosts MAC rival Kent State next Friday (Jan. 18) 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+.
No. 5 Missouri 30, Ohio 12
125: Shakur Laney (Ohio) def. Dack Punke (Missouri), 3-1 (SV-1), (3-0)
133: Mario Guillen (Ohio) for. (9-0)
141: Cameron Kelly (Ohio) def. Allan Hart (Missouri), 2-0 dec. (12-0)
149: Brock Mauller (Missouri) def. Alec Hagan (Ohio), 6-1 dec. (12-3)
157: Jarrett Jacques (Missouri) def. Zac Carson Ohio), fall, 1:58 (12-9)
165: Connor Flynn (Missouri) def. Colt Yinger (Ohio), 6-5 dec. (12-12)
174: Luke Fortuna (Missouri) def. Logan Stanley (Ohio), 9-4 dec. (12-15)
184: Daniel Lewis (Missouri) def. Hunter Yeargan (Ohio), fall, 1:54 (12-21)
197: Wyatt Koelling (Missouri) def. Aaron Naples (Ohio), fall, 2:36 (12-27)
285: Zach Elam (Missouri) def. Zack Parker (Ohio), 1-0 dec. (12-30)