In a matchup of nationally-ranked teams in Division II, Ashland University's wrestling team, ranked 17th in the country, lost at Kates Gymnasium to Mercyhurst (seventh) Wednesday (Dec. 3) night, 31-7.
Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens said he "doesn't blame the guys who were aggressive at all," but wasn't pleased with those who wrestled timid or hesitant.
"I didn't think we put out our best performance as a team."
In one of the two featured matchups of the night, Ashland junior Michael Labry improved to 15-1 on the season after a 14-4 major decision over Ryan Bohince at 133 pounds. Labry is the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the country at 133, Bohince is No. 7. Labry had a pair of first-period takedowns and didn't look back.
The other featured match was between another set of nationally-ranked wrestlers at 149 pounds. Mercyhurst's Jeremy Landowski, the fourth-ranked wrestler in Division II at that weight, topped Ashland sophomore Brent Fickel, ranked sixth in the country, 4-0.
Ashland sophomore Brandon O'Neill earned the team's other victory Wednesday, defeating Brian Beattie at 197 pounds, 5-1. O'Neill upped his early-season record to 8-2.
"He's been looking good all year," Hutchens said. "He only has two losses all season, and he's looking good. We're seeing him working on the little things."
Mercyhurst also features two other nationally-ranked wrestlers. At 174 pounds, fourth-ranked August Mizia defeated Ashland sophomore Luke Cramer, 7-5. At 285, eighth-ranked Andrew Welton took a major decision from Eagle sophomore Tyler Shank, 11-0.
The Eagles will finish the pre-Christmas part of their 2014-15 schedule by competing in the Midwest Classic, Dec. 13-14 in Indianapolis, Ind.
"We're throwing guys out and seeing who's going to step up for the team," Hutchens said. "We're looking for them to leave it all on the mat. There will be a few (changes)."