The Ohio Northern wrestling team earned a win on Senior Night against Muskingum last Tuesday in what initially seemed like a rough match. Muskingum won the first three bouts and led 13-0 early on. The Polar Bears managed to turn the tables in the last seven bouts, however, to come away with a 27-13 victory.
Alex Bair, an ONU senior wrestler, described his feelings about the flow of the match.
“We had a slow start, and it was definitely the opposite of what we planned,” Bair said. “We had a couple rough matches but we got the ball rolling and managed to bring it back.”
Bair wrestled in the 184-pound weight class during the meet Tuesday. He won by major decision with a score of 10-1.
Brad Taton, another senior on the team, did not perform as well as he would have liked, being pinned in the second bout of the match.
“I definitely did not perform as I expected, but we won as a team,” Taton said. “That’s a blessing itself.”
Taton suffered a torn PCL in his knee earlier in the season. The injury was believed to be a career-ending. Taton managed to rehabilitate and restart training, however, in an attempt to continue wrestling for the team. The senior later stated that he was honored to be a part of the team and that it was “an amazing four years.”
The Polar Bears finished their regular season with seven seniors; an unusually high number of seniors for the program, according to head coach Ron Beaschler. Beaschler expressed how proud he was of his team and their commitment to the program.
In my 30 years of coaching, I don’t know if I’ve ever had seven seniors before,” Beaschler said. “It takes a huge commitment to make it this far.”
Beaschler explained that most wrestlers who do not become varsity starters leave the team to focus on their studies; this was not the case for this generation of seniors. He stated that along with their commitment to the sport, five of the seven senior wrestlers are contenders for the Academic All-American Athlete awards.
“It’s important for them to finish on a high note,” Beaschler said. “We want the best for these guys.”
Following a 21-14 loss to Heidelberg on Tuesday in their final regular season meet, ONU will now focus on preparing for the NCAA Div. III Regional tournament. Regionals will be on Feb. 23-24 in Wabash, Ind.