The 19th-ranked Ashland University wrestling team took to the home mat for the first time in the 2015-16 season on Thursday (Dec. 10) night, facing off against seventh-ranked Pitt-Johnstown.
The Eagles fell in their first dual meet of the season, 28-13.
In the Eagles' most thrilling match, senior Zeb Beam (157) found himself down 7-4 to Pitt-Johnstown's Devin Austin late in the third period. Beam's nifty footwork led to a comeback takedown to force overtime, where he won 9-7.
Freshman Jerry Fenner III (133) won in a major decision (11-3) in the second match of the night over Jim Harrison of UPJ.
Senior Joe Brandt, the top-ranked wrestler in Division II at 197 pounds, started his match with a quick takedown of UPJ's Zac Croyle in the opening seconds. The match didn't last long, as Brandt pinned Croyle at the 2:05 mark for the win.
AU head coach Josh Hutchens was happy with the efforts of his wrestlers, even though a couple guys didn't get the results they were looking for.
"You would rather have a win," Hutchens said, "but some matches coming down to just a point. Afterward, you see 10 different things you could have done different. It's a learning experience for all of them."
The Eagles will now set their eyes on the Midwest Classic (Dec. 19-20) in Indianapolis, Ind.
"There will be a lot of the top teams in the country there," said Hutchens. "If you can place at this tournament, usually you have a pretty good shot of making it to nationals."