No. 10-ranked Ashland University wrestling challenged itself right away, taking on No. 5 Pittsburgh at Johnstown at Kates Gymnasium on Saturday (Dec. 2) in its first dual of the season.
The Eagles (0-1) ultimately lost, 25-12, to the Mountain Cats (5-1), winning four of the 10 individual matches.
"We went into it with the idea that we were going to learn a lot about ourselves individually and as a team," AU head coach Josh Hutchens said. "We let a couple matches go, but I think we did what we expected."
There were 10 nationally-ranked wrestlers on the mat in this dual, and four matches that featured ranked wrestlers going head-to-head.
At 141 pounds, No. 6 UPJ sophomore Chris Eddins (5-1) edged out No. 12 Eagles junior Lawrance Dudgeon (6-4), 11-7.
In a 165-pound matchup of ranked sophomores, No. 3 Bret Romanzak (14-3) of Ashland topped No. 11 Devin Austin (3-3) in a 3-1 decision. Romanzak leads AU in wins this season.
2016 Pitt-Johnstown national champion Tyler Reinhart (6-0), second at 174, pinned No. 10 Christian Price (8-3).
Finally, at 285 pounds, No. 10 Deaken McCoy (6-3) beat No. 11 D.J. Sims (3-2), 3-1, in overtime. McCoy lost to Sims twice in 2016-17.
"No one trains as hard as we do," McCoy said. "I just knew that I was going to outwork him. It's always good to test your skill and test your gas tank."
Ashland is back at home for its second dual of the season on Friday (Dec. 8) at 7 p.m. against West Liberty.
"On Monday," Hutchens said, "we go through everything from this. We'll review everything, including technique. And then we'll move on to West Liberty."