You've heard of the power of the press? That was what the Ashland University wrestling team used to derail Heidelberg, 41-3 Saturday (Feb. 5) at Kates Gymnasium.
This victory had nothing to do with pen, paper or investigative reporting. In this case the power of the press referred to the way the Eagles closed out this match. Ashland got pins at 174, 184, 197 and 285 pounds to finish off the win over the Student Princes. AU is 5-0-1 in its last six dual matches and is 12-2-1 for the season. This was the final home match of the season.
"Heidelberg is no pushover," said AU head coach Tim Dernlan. "I didn't expect to overpower them like that. I guess I should expect this. I think this team has proven that I should have confidence in them. I should expect it and hold them to this standard."
No one could have seen this streak coming. At 174, freshman Jake Piatt (Medina, Ohio) pinned Dayne Williams in 2:50. That was followed by the first pin of freshman Caleb Marsh's (Marysville, Ohio) career at 184. Marsh ended his match with Jake Cochran in 2:31. This was the second match of Marsh's career.
At 197, freshman Corby Running (Wilmington, Ohio/Clinton Massie) pinned Andrew Lovins in 4:05. That brought up junior Jacob Southwick (Bowling Green, Ohio/Otsego) at 285. He's been the one sure thing when it comes to ending matches early. Southwick was in a back-and-forth battle with Jerry Knapp before he put Knapp on his back for good at 6:32. That's Southwick's 15th pin of the year. The school record is 17.
Asked what AU wrestlers were saying during this string, Dernlan looked baffled.
"To be honest, I didn't realize it," said Dernlan. "No one said anything until Southwick. Then he said, 'I guess I'd better get a pin now.' That guy (Knapp) fought him. It was good to see him have to use his conditioning and mental focus."
Here's a nugget for AU wrestling fans. Of those four pins, three came from true freshmen. That demonstrates how this team has improved from last year and how it continues to move forward. Dernlan maintains that he always believed a turnaround like this could take place this season.
"Honestly, this is what I expected," said the third-year head coach. "I don't think people on the outside could see what was going on. But if you were in the wrestling room every day, you could tell."
The Eagles are ranked 12th in the nation, which is a jump of five spots from the previous poll. Their last loss came to Division I Purdue. The Eagles next three matches come against Tiffin, Ohio Valley and West Liberty. The NCAA regional tournament will be held at Findlay on Feb. 26.
Ashland 41, Heidelberg 3
125 – Mandara (AU) dec. Mazik (H), 4-3 3-0, AU
133 – Mont (H) dec. Marks (AU), 2-0 3-3
141 – Kanaga (AU) tech. fall Osborne (H), 19-3 8-3, AU
149 – Genetin (AU) dec. Gillespie (H), 17-10 11-3, AU
157 – Hoff (AU) dec. Barnett (H), 2-1 14-3, AU
165 – Kelly (AU) dec. Curley (H), 4-2 17-3, AU
174 – Piatt (AU) pins Williams (H), 2:05 23-3, AU
184 – Marsh (AU) pins Cochran (H), 2:31 29-3, AU
197 – Running (AU) pins Lovins (H), 4:05 35-3, AU
285 – Southwick (AU) pins Knapp (H) 41-3, AU