By ANDY WOLF
Neither the University of Findlay, nor Ashland University’s wrestling teams were at full strength Wednesday night.
The No. 18 Roughnecks even gave up two forfeits yet won six of the eight matches decided on the mat to top the No. 4 Eagles 23-18 on senior night at Croy Gymnasium.
“I thought the team wrestled hard today,” UF coach Shawn Nelson said. “I know Ashland had guys out of their lineup, too, and we were forfeiting weight classes with some injuries.
“I always tell our guys, it’s what you throw out there. Give them credit. They at least brought somebody which always gives you a chance to win.
“Our guys stepped up. … Overall, we wrestled a lot harder than we have in the past.”
The Eagles suffered their first dual loss in ten dual matches.
The Roughnecks sent out four seniors and each one recorded a victory.
Findlay senior Armani Robinson’s upset at 197 pounds over No. 1 and previously undefeated Luke Cramer made 285 a winner-take-all match.
In it, fellow UF senior Gerald Beck earned a 2-0 decision over Tristen Weirich to seal the deal. Beck earned an escape in the second period and rode out Weirich the entire third.
Nelson had to decide between Beck or No. 9-ranked senior Mimmo Lytle.
“Either way it was probably going to be Beck because we’ve already wrestled their starter,” Nelson said. “It was nice for Gerald to get a win.”
The Roughnecks also got wins from seniors Ryan Skonieczny (141) over Justin Wilcox, 7-2 and No. 5 Bradley Metz (184) via tech. fall over Chance Esmont, 17-1.
The Eagles were without No.-2 ranked and unbeaten Jordan Murphy (18-0).
Still, Metz’s match pulled UF within 18-17 with Robinson up next.
After a scoreless first period, Robinson started bottom and tallied an easy escape in the second.
Cramer matched it just 18 seconds into the third period.
One minute later, Cramer’s weak shot on Robinson came to no avail.
Robinson sprawled, pressured down Cramer’s head and finished the job by collapsing his left leg while driving him backwards.
Cramer quickly succumbed the two points.
“He stayed focus for 7 minutes,” Nelson said. “Armani can be very tough but in a wrestling match, 30 seconds and it can be blown wide open.
“Mentally, he wrestled all 7 minutes tonight and that was a big difference.”
Robinson did let Cramer out 13 seconds later but fended off a few desperate takedown attempts in the remaining 35.2 seconds.
Delivering Cramer his first loss in 18 matches served Robinson largely as a confidence boost.
“It just shows that I can do it, I can probably be the one to win it,” Robinson, a JUCO transfer, said. “I can be the No. 1-ranked guy. If I go out there like that with every tempo, I can win it.”
A scoreless first period became theme throughout the night.
Five of the eight matches had one. UF came away victorious in four of those matches.
At 133, Findlay’s Michael Stewart took down Jerry Fenner in each of the final two periods for a 6-1 victory.
Skonieczny, Robinson and Beck also won in scenario with strong finishes.
“We harp on putting yourself in a position to win,” Nelson said. “If I give up an early takedown then I’ve got to come back. 0-0, I like our guys’ chances. It’s a 4-minute match then and you have to be better than him for 4 minutes.
“We try to simplify it instead of looking at the big picture.”
In a reverse fashion, Josh Wimer earned big points for UF at 12-3 by catching Dustin Marteney in a head-and-arm and eventually sticking him with 4.9 seconds remaining in the first.
The Roughnecks went up 12-3 but quickly fell behind 15-13 due to forfeits in the next two weight classes.
James Wimer and Alonzo Turner normally occupy the 157 and 165 classes but are nursing injuries.
“This is the end of the year; we’ve got one more dual meet,” Nelson said. “I’ve traditionally been more of a coach that’s trying to get guys ready for the end of the year so I don’t want any injury tweaks or any stupid stuff.”
No. 18 FINDLAY 23, No. 4 ASHLAND 18
125 — Sebastian Vidika (AU) dec. Zachary Collins, 9-4
133 — Michael Stewart (UF) dec. Jerry Fenner, 6-1
141 — Ryan Skonieczny (UF) dec. Justin Wilcox, 7-2
149 — Josh Wimer (UF) pinned Dustin Marteney, 2:55
157 — Carson Speelman (AU) won by forfeit
165 — Garrett Hall (AU) won by forfeit
174 — Christian Price (AU) dec. Nate Vandermeer, 7-2
184 — Bradley Metz (UF) tech. fall Chance Esmont, 17-1
197 — Armani Robinson (UF) dec. Luke Cramer, 3-2
285 — Gerald Beck (UF) dec. Tristen Weirich, 2-0