Ashland takes Mid-Atlantic Duals title
Eagles rebound after setback 10 days ago, win second title
ASHLAND, Ohio -- At the Mid-Atlantic Duals in its home gym, No. 18 Ashland went 3-0 and won 34 of 38 matches to take home the title for the second consecutive year. The Eagles defeated No. 11 King (Tenn.) 35-4 and overpowered No. 14 West Liberty 34-7. The other victory was a 49-(-1) win against Belmont Abbey.
"They wrestled the way that we knew they could," AU head coach Tim Dernlan said about his team, which is now 3-1 in dual meet action. "They allowed themselves to wrestle today. There were three key areas we worked on. We wanted to work real hard on top. We had two things we were trying to do and they did a great job. The other thing was to score the first point in the match. We were backing up last week. This week, we were going forward."
Both the AU wrestlers and the coaching staff were disappointed in the way the Eagles performed 10 days ago in a 22-18 loss to Gannon. This was Ashland's first event since that setback and it was obvious the 10 days were used to their full advantage.
"It means we're doing the right things in the [practice] room," senior 125-pounder Brandon Davis said. "One thing we focused on after the Gannon match is our overall intensity in the room. How you wrestle in the room is how you will wrestle in the match. Beating two teams that are ranked shows we're doing the right thing. I hope we can continue to do it."
Senior Jacob Southwick, wrestling at 285 pounds, was 3-0 with a pair of pins and a 7-0 victory against West Liberty's J.D. Ramsey, who is ranked sixth in the nation. Southwick is ranked third in the country.
"The big change was Jake Southwick," Dernlan said. "He was a lot more confident and didn't worry about his knee or his conditioning. He got two pins and beat a guy who was sixth in the country by a wide margin."
The Eagles had a lineup that included four freshmen. A team that sends that many rookies to the mat has to know it could be in for a wild ride. Yet this bunch of rookies keeps improving and this day, maybe took its biggest step of the season.
"With anyone who enters a new team there's room for improvement," Davis said. "But they all have potential. Any freshman who comes here has a chance to be an All-American. All they have to do is put in the work and ask for help."
West Liberty was second in the tourney with King finishing third and Indianapolis fourth among the eight-team field. A year ago, AU won the title ahead of Adams State.
Gannon's Ethan Swope, who wrestles at 149 pounds, was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
• Complete Mid-Atlantic Duals results