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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Too little too late: Wrestling can’t find comeback despite heavyweights’ late spark

Sara House
Kent State sophomore Josh Boggan wins his wrestling match on Feb. 16, 2024.

Six matches into the Kent State wresting team’s competition Friday, the team was down 22-3 to Central Michigan with four matches to go.

The team (5-15, 1-6) took three of the meet’s final matches, seeing a late spark from its heavyweights. But the comeback fell short, and the Flashes lost 25-15. 

Graduate student 174 lbs. AJ Burkhart, who picked up six points with his fall late in the third period, started Kent State’s late surge against the Chippewas (5-1, 7-6). 

“It was good to see grandpappy get that – that’s what we call old man Burkhart – it was good to see him get that,” sophomore 285 lbs. Josh Boggan said.

Sophomore 197 lbs. Blake Schaffer had an impressive showing against a CMU wrestler ranked higher than him in the MAC wrestling rankings. He used his second period with two takedowns to propel him to the 10-6 win.

“I saw a focused Blake – he was determined,” Boggan said. “He told me before the match that it could be close but he made sure it wasn’t.”

The night belonged to the heavyweight Boggan, as he bounced back with an 11-4 win against the No. 5 heavyweight in the Mid-American Conference.

“Trusting in God and trusting in my coaches and my work, I knew it would all prevail,” Boggan said.

He recorded a takedown in every period and a near fall in the third. 

“That’s the best kid Boggan’s ever wrestled, that’s the biggest individual upset we had all year, so that’s a good thing,” Andrassy said. “In heavyweight, a lot of things can happen. He had a good match and a good gameplan.” 

Josh Boggan, a Kent State sophomore, wrestles against Bryan Caves on Feb. 16, 2024, in a meet against Central Michigan. (Sara House)

Another learning experience 

Early on, sophomore 133 lbs. Pablo Castro IV picked up his 14th victory of the season in his 8-1 decision win. This was also his sixth consecutive win.

“Pablo looked good, he brought the energy he had last week and it was good because we needed it,” Boggan said.

Junior 141 lbs. Matt Ryan and junior 157 lbs. Aaron Ferguson came up short 6-3 and 11-5 in their respective matches, having similar results from the previous week where they fell 12-9 and 10-7.

“They have to work really hard, and they’re close,” Andrassy said. “When you’re that close, you have to be able to finish matches and we talk about winning – you have to figure out how to win. There are matches we have to learn how to win, and that’s our biggest thing.” 

Ryan’s match went into overtime, where he was taken down in the extra time. 

“We have young guys, and with a young team you have to learn how to win,” Andrassy said. “We need to learn how to win in situations like that.” 

Despite being young, KSU has been battling hard and keeping up with good teams.

“For a lot of guys, this is a learning year, and they’re learning what they have to do so next year we can figure out how to get them to the national tournament, so that’s our goal,” Andrassy said. “It’s just a matter of the small things that we have to get better at.”

One last time

Kent State will wrestle for the last time at home this season, as the team goes up against the Cleveland State Vikings Thursday at the M.A.C. Center.

Cleveland State will come in at 7-7. The team has won four matches in a row and is 5-2 against the MAC. 

“They’re a scrappy team,” Andrassy said. “They’re going to wrestle hard, and I hope we’ll be up for the occasion.” 

After a loaded schedule for KSU, it will look to finish the season on a high note.

“It’s a long season,” Boggan said. “It’s hard on your body, so just keep doing the rehab and keep doing what you’re supposed to do.” 

After two matches at home and two great home environments, the team expects a packed house Thursday night.

“If we can bring the energy and everyone wrestles to their ability, we should be able to win,” Boggan said.

Andrew Gold is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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