The Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team opened its Mid-American Conference season with a loss against the Ohio University Bobcats 17-16 Sunday in Athens, Ohio. The Eagles are 3-4 and 0-1 in the MAC.
Winning for the Eagles were redshirt juniors Jared Germaine, Phillip Joseph and Seth Schaner, redshirt freshman Vincent Pizzuto and redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer.
The 285-pound weight class was the first to take the mat as redshirt senior Chris Eggert wrestled Jeremy Johnson from OU ranked 14th nationally. The Bobcats earned the first points with a major decision over Eggert, making it 4-0.
The Eagles took the next three matches with two decisions and a major decision. No. 16 ranked Germaine overpowered KeVon Powell. Germaine was up 9-4 going into the third period and won 13-8, giving EMU three points.
Next up was Pizzuto at 133 pounds. After being pinned by a Cleveland wrestler at home Nov. 30, he came back and defeated Angelo DiSabato with a 13-5 major decision.
“Coming off a fall didn’t get me too bad,” Pizzuto said. “The best guys in this sport lose, and it’s the good guys that continue to pick their selves up.”
Pizzuto ended the first period up 2-0, with almost two minutes of riding time. The match ended 13-8 with DiSabato earning most of his points in the second period. Pizzuto’s win gave the Eagles their first lead of the night, 7-4.
“I knew it was our first MAC dual and I had something to prove to my coaches and teammates,” Pizzuto said. “I went out having something to prove and continued to do what I do best, wrestle my match, my pace, control the match, and come away with the ‘W.’”
Schaner took the mat next and went away with another EMU win. The first period was pointless, with Schaner earning the first point in the second period. The third period provided the most points in the 141-pound match. Kagan Squire earned only three points to Schaner’s five, bringing the team score to 10-5, with EMU in the lead.
EMU lost the next match, at 149 pounds, with redshirt freshman Justin Melick losing to Andrew Romanchik 6-4, but went on to win with Sulzer. The match went scoreless the first period, but Sulzer, at 157, brought the score to 3-0 with over a minute of riding time.
Sulzer kept his opponent’s score low, beating Sparty Chino 4-0. The team scores were brought to 13-10 with OU still in the lead, with a loss from redshirt sophomores Jacob Dorulla at 165 to Harrison Hightower and Mike Curby at 174 to Cody Walters.
EMU gained another lead when Joseph took the mat at 184 pounds.
“I knew this kid [Ryan Garringer] was pretty tough,” Joseph said. “He’s a returning national qualifier so I didn’t want to underestimate him.”
Joseph was up 2-0 in the first period with a takedown. He scored four more points bringing his match to 6-2 at the end of the second period.
“I went in with the goal of breaking him mentally with a high pace match,” Joseph said. “I felt like he did break during the start of the second period.”
Joseph won the match 8-4. At that point, EMU was in the lead 16-14. Although Joseph scored points for his team, he anticipated more.
“I wanted to get bonus points for our team but after the first period he changed to a very defensive game plan,” Joseph said. “This prevented me from scoring more points.”
With the score close, redshirt freshman Anthony Abro lost at 197 pounds to Phil Wellington.
EMU continues its season at the University of Michigan tri-meet Dec. 8 in Ann Arbor.