Late losses haunt KSU wrestling in 23-12 defeat against Central Michigan

Spencer Berthold gets pinned during the Beauty and Beast Match on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. The Flashes lost, 23-12.

Brandon Lewis

The fifth Beauty and the Beast event took place Sunday for the Kent State wrestling and gymnastics teams. The event did not go well for the wrestlers; they fell to Central Michigan, 23-12.

The Flashes now have a record of 7-12, and 1-5 in the conference.

Going into the last two matches, Kent State trailed by only two points, but Shane Mast and Spencer Berthold couldn’t pull out a win.

Coach Jim Andrassy said he didn’t expect Berthold to win, but he thought Mast should’ve pulled out a victory.

“Their heavyweight (Matt Stencil) is the best guy on their team,” Andrassy said. “He’s ranked eighth in the country, so we knew that kid was good. Our hope was that Mast would win, and Mast needs to have more confidence in himself. He needs to work harder in practice and get into better shape because he was winning that match, and I feel like if he would have fought a little more at the end, he could have won that match.”

Andrew McNally won his tenth match in a row Sunday, but it didn’t come without drama. Tied at three entering the final period, Central Michigan’s Jordan Atienza scored two takedowns and an escape to take a 8-5 lead with 30 seconds left. McNally though, did not let Atienza break his winning streak and scored a takedown and a reversal in the final 15 seconds to secure a 9-8 victory. The action moved so quickly Andrassy couldn’t even process it after the dual.

“That was one of the best college matches I’ve seen in a long time,” Andrassy said. “There was so much that happened in that period. The only thing I know is he got the reversal and rode him out to win. McNally pushed the pace to make (Atienza) tired, and the reversal at the end of the second period is what won him the dual. He was down, 3-1, with only a couple seconds remaining in the period, so for him to be able to go into the third tied was key.”

McNally said after the dual that he doesn’t care about his streak and instead is only focusing on helping the Flashes win duals.

“I was thinking of a way to beat him, and I knew I could,” McNally said. “I wanted it so much more than he did. I could tell because when he reversed me, he didn’t put all of his energy into the reversal, so I knew he was tired, and I knew I wasn’t. … I knew as long as I stayed close with him, I would eventually overtake him.”

Fifth-year senior Isaac Bast scored a 5-2 victory in the sixth match over the Chippewas’ Sage Castro to pull the Flashes within a point. Castro was not originally on the card to compete, but Bast didn’t care.

“I do not want to get away from my game plan,” Bast said. “It doesn’t matter who I wrestle. I want to get to my techniques and my strengths. I believe that my skills translate against any wrestler.”

Andrassy said Bast wrestled a solid match.

“He wrestled a really clean match,” Andrassy said. “Usually when he loses, he makes a mistake. He didn’t today, and he came out on top.”

Kody Komara won his match in the final period as well, scoring a takedown with under 30 seconds left to defeat CMU’s Dresden Simon, 4-3. Komara also thought he wore down Simon to the point where he could use Simon’s fatigue to his advantage.

“I could tell he was starting to slow down in the third,” Komara said. “He was starting to hold me, so I knew if I just waited till the right time, I could take him down and win, and that’s what happened.”

Junior Tim Rooney secured his second straight victory by a score of 7-5. Rooney scored the first points of the match in the second period with a near fall. He said he knows how important scoring the first points of the match are for him.

“I have a percentage of winning that is absurdly higher if I score first,” Rooney said. “It’s important for me to try to get a score within the first 20 seconds. It did not happen today, but I still scored first, and they gave me the confidence that I could win.”

After the dual, the entire team stayed to watch the conclusion of the gymnastics meet. The team lost by a point, but the atmosphere was still great for both events. Fans were screaming and shouting the whole time.

Kent State looks to get back on track on Friday when they host Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

Brandon Lewis is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].