Kent State hosts Central Michigan in critical wrestling meet
For the last few years, the quest for the Mid-American Conference wrestling championship came down to a matchup between Kent State and Central Michigan. Historically, the team that wins this matchup goes on to claim the title at the end of the year.
The Flashes will take on Central Michigan at home Sunday in a potential preview of the MAC Championship. The two teams are currently at the top of the MAC team rankings.
Coach Jim Andrassy said his team is preparing for a very competitive meet this weekend.
“They’re a good team,” Andrassy said. “Usually whoever wins this match ends up winning the MAC, so we want to come out strong and stay focused on what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Kent State and Central Michigan are currently ranked No. 16 and No. 21 respectively in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll. On Feb. 20, 2011, during the last dual meet between the two teams, CMU captured a 20-14 victory. The Chippewas lead the all-time series, 24-19.
“We haven’t done as well as we’ve wanted to against them,” Andrassy said. “We match up better with them now than we did in the past. It’s all about having at least 10 of your guys wrestle well, and we believe we can do that.”
Both teams have multiple wrestlers who are ranked in the top 20 nationally. Senior Nic Bedelyon, ranked No. 4 in the 125-pound weight class according to InterMat, will likely face No. 16 Joe Roth of Central Michigan. Senior heavyweight Brendan Barlow most likely will match up against No. 12 Peter Sturgeon. Junior Stevie Mitcheff should take on Christian Cullinan, who is ranked No. 2 in the MAC at 133 pounds. Freshman Ian Miller will be matched up against Joey Kielbasa, another freshman who is ranked No. 3 in the MAC at 149.
It will be the first home meet for the Flashes since Dec. 11 when the Flashes hosted Ohio State. The Flashes are coming off of a 23-9 road victory over Ohio last Friday. On Jan. 14, they took first place in the Virginia Duals tournament in Hampton, Va. After the meet this Sunday, the next two meets, Buffalo Feb. 3 and vs. Eastern Michigan Feb. 5, will both be at home.
“Any time you don’t have to travel, it makes it nice,” Andrassy said. “The guys get to do their usual things, and they get to train better. So I’m excited about being home. It makes things a lot easier, and when things are easier, you can perform better.”