The 19th-ranked Ashland University wrestling team kicked off 2016 splitting against the 16th-ranked Indianapolis Greyhounds and NAIA No. 2-ranked Indiana Tech Warriors in the Wendy's Duals on Saturday (Jan. 2).
The Eagles defeated the Warriors, 28-12, but dropped a hotly-contested match to the Greyhounds, 20-15.
Indy won some momentum with three consecutive decisions (149, 157 and 165) before Eagles junior Jordan Murphy (174) stole the thunder right back, pinning UI's Duane Deerwester in 2:34.
"Murphy made his debut out at the Midwest Classic and beat a couple of returning All-Americans," said Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens. "He followed that up nicely today with a dominate performance."
Senior Joe Brandt won his contest by 5-2 decision over Indy's Brian Wagner, but the Eagles couldn't prevail.
"We left a lot of matches out there we could have won," said Hutchens. "I knew it was going to be a tough dual. (Indy) is ranked one spot ahead of us in the region and three ahead of us in the national rankings, so we knew it was going to be a tough one."
The Eagles saw a better performance against Indiana Tech.
Sophomore Sebastian Vidika set the tone early at 125, collecting an 11-2 major decision over IT's Justin Agee. Vidika is the No.2- ranked wrestler in super region II at 125.
Eagle senior Zeb Beam prevailed in a 14-4 major decision over the Warrior's Chase Hack at 157. Beam is ranked No. 4 in super region II at his weight class.
Senior Brandt had a strong showing against IT's Bo Davis. Brandt won by tech fall, 19-3. Brandt is ranked third in the country at 197 and sits with an overall record of 9-2.
The Eagles closed out the day with senior Nigel Cross (285) earning a 5-2 decision over IT's Kegan Clark-Sanchez.
The Eagles will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at home against Case Western. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.
Highlights vs. Indiana Tech