Because his energy level equals the oil reserves of Kuwait, Ashland University head wrestling coach Tim Dernlan never needs to set an alarm.
His wrestling team, however, might need a jingle every now and then. Dernlan believes the Eagles got one on Friday night (Feb. 8) when they lost at Kates Gymnasium to second-ranked Notre Dame, 41-0.
"This is a good wakeup call for our team," said Dernlan. "Last week, we had a great showing. It looked like we let down a little bit. After a good showing last week, we didn't come out and battle the way we need to."
The Eagles are ranked 19th in the country. Last week, they won at seventh-ranked Findlay and followed that up with a decision victory at Tiffin. Had the Eagles defeated the Falcons, they would have claimed the GLIAC championship. Now that hardware goes to Notre Dame. This is the school's only year in the league. They will leave the GLIAC after the completion of this season.
AU fans knew what was at stake. This was easily the largest crowd of the season (352) and it was loud and spirited from start to finish. The Notre Dame fan base added to the atmosphere with a large, rambunctious following.
"I liked our environment," said Dernlan. "It was exciting. You want to wrestle in an environment like that. Unfortunately, we didn't give them a lot to cheer about. They stayed with us to the end."
From the start, the Eagles encountered trouble. Freshman Max Byrd (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) lost a major decision (17-5) to Johnny Papesh at 125. Byrd (21-4) is ranked first in the region and seventh in country.
At 133 pounds, AU freshman Michael Labry (Twinsburg, Ohio) was pinned by Marty Carlson in 5:32. Labry entered the evening with a 28-0 record. Carlson's pin set off a wild celebration on the NDC bench and it took a lot of wind out of the Ashland contingent.
"Obviously, we've been strong with the first couple of weights," Dernlan said. "They came out and beat us and kept going from there."
The Falcons earned what Dernlan calls "bonus points" in six matches. For most of the night, the Eagles fell behind early. One of the closer matches of the night came at 149 pounds where senior Dan Genetin (Navarre, Ohio/Massillon Perry) lost, 3-2 to Jonatan Rivera. Rivera is 10-4 and ranked second in the country.
This NDC lineup had five nationally ranked wrestlers in it. Joey Davis is ranked first in the country at 165 pounds. He pinned Jake Piatt (Medina, Ohio) in 4:25.
The next time Ashland wrestles at Kates Gymansium will be on Feb. 23-24 for the NCAA Regional Championships. Notre Dame will be back in town for that event. Dernlan believes that the team the Falcons see then will not resemble the one they saw Friday night.
"I think we can turn around a lot of the results in two weeks," maintained the AU head coach. "They went one or two notches harder in every match than we did. They were more aggressive and wrestled harder than we did."
The loss leaves the Eagles with a 10-6 record. Ashland has one regular season dual match remaining. That will be held this coming Tuesday (Feb. 12) at West Liberty.
#2 Notre Dame 41, #19 Ashland 0
125 – Johnny Papesh (ND) maj. dec. Max Byrd (AU), 17-5 4-0, ND
133 – Marty Carlsoon (ND) pins Michael Labry (AU), 5:32 10-0, ND
141 – Maurice Miller (ND) maj. dec. Adli Edwards (AU), 13-5 14-0, ND
149 – Jonatan Rivera (ND) dec. Dan Genetin (AU), 3-2 17-0, ND
157 – Jeffery Pelton (ND) tech. fall Zeb Beam (AU), 2:59, 19-4 22-0, ND
165 – Joey Davis (ND) pins Jake Piatt (AU), 4:25 28-0, ND
174 – Eric Burgey (ND) dec. Bryson Hall (AU), 5-4 31-0, ND
184 – Charles Mason (ND) dec. Brandon O'Neil (AU), 7-6 (OT) 34-0, ND
197 – Brandonn Johnson (ND) dec. Joe Brandt (AU), 9-3 37-0, ND
285 – Orlando Scales (ND) maj. dec. Tyler Houska (AU), 14-2 41-0, ND