Around Ashland, folks are running to the thermostat to turn up the heat.
Friday night (Feb. 1) at Findlay, the AU wrestling team caused the temperature to rise several notches in its rivalry with the Oilers. Head coach Tim Dernlan and his team didn't give any thought to conserving energy, not when matched against the Oilers.
The Eagles, ranked 19th in the nation, upended seventh-ranked Findlay, 18-16. The win gives the Eagles a 9-5 record in dual meet action. This was the first of back-to-back matches for AU. Saturday, Ashland wrestles at Tiffin.
As far as dual meet action goes, this would easily qualify as AU's best showing since going 3-1 at the Central Missouri Duals. The Eagles had lost several close calls recently. Last Saturday, the Eagles fell by three points at Gannon. It appears that renewing their rivaly with the Oilers was just what the Eagles needed to get back on track.
The night began for AU as it has so often this season - wins at 125 and 133 pounds. At 125, freshman Max Byrd (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) blanked Ben Sergent, 4-0. Byrd (20-3) is ranked seventh in the nation and Sergent is sixth.
Undefeated rookie Michael Labry (Twinsburg, Ohio) grabbed an 8-4 decision from Nick Goebel to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead. The win gives Labry a 27-0 record.
Ashland would win six times on this night. The Eagles took a 9-3 advantage when senior Dan Genetin (Navarre, Ohio/Massillon Perry) stopped Jan Ulinski, 12-5 at 149 pounds. This was a positive sign for AU fans. Genetin has missed much of this season due to illness. He's been back in the lineup for several weeks and seems to be gaining both confidence and strength. The senior is 3-5.
Junior Jake Piatt (Medina, Ohio) gave the Eagles a win at 165 and sophomore Bryson Hall (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) outlasted Mason True, 7-3 at 174. True is ranked eighth in the nation. Hall went to nationals a year ago as a true freshman. Piatt is 12-11 and Hall is 18-5.
AU's last win came at 197 where sophomore Joe Brandt (Versailles, Ohio), ranked third in the nation, was an 11-7 winner over Ashton Brown. Brandt is 26-2.
One of the more anticipated bouts of the night came at 285. Findlay's Andrew Tumlin is ranked seventh in the nation and he squared off against redshirt junior Tyler Houska (Wadsworth, Ohio/Highland). On this night, Tumlin dominated the action, taking a 9-1 major decision from Houska.
The lone pin of the match came at 184 where UF's Adam Walters, ranked second in the country, pinned Brandon O'Neil (Ashland, Ohio/Clear Fork) in 5:16.
Ashland 18, Findlay 16
125 - Max Byrd (AU) dec. Ben Sergent (UF), 4-0 3-0, AU
133 - Michael Labry (AU) dec. Nick Goebel (UF), 8-4 6-0, AU
141 - Joey White (UF) dec. Jacob Garringer (AU), 3-2 6-3, AU
149 - Dan Genetin (AU) dec. Jan Ulinski (UF), 12-5 9-3, AU
157 - Jordan Cowell (UF) dec. Zeb Beam (AU), 9-2 9-6, AU
165 - Jake Piatt (UF) dec. Alex Betts (UF), 3-0 12-6, AU
174 - Bryson Hall (AU) dec. Mason True (UF), 7-3 15-6, AU
184 - Adam Walters (UF) pins Brandon O'Neil (AU), 5:16 15-12, AU
197 - Joe Brandt (AU) dec. Ashton Brown (UF), 11-7 18-12, AU
285 - Andrew Tumlin (UF) maj. dec. Tyler Houska (AU), 9-1 18-16, AU