Comeback attempt by KSU wrestling falls short; Flashes lose to Northern Illinois

Sophomore Richard Jackson wrestles with Northern Illinois University Husky on February 15.

Brandon Lewis

Shane Mast, Andrew McNally and Spencer Berthold came out on top for Kent State wrestling in fridays dual against Northern Illinois, but the trio could not lead the Flashes to victory.

With the 22-13 loss, Kent State’s record now sits at 7-14 and 1-6 in the Mid-American Conference.

Shane Mast won his first conference dual in triple overtime over Max Ihry, 7-3. Mast trailed 1-0 in the third period before he reversed a takedown attempt from Ihry to earn two points. Mast let Ihry escape his grasp with under 10 seconds left to send the match to a sudden death period. In sudden death, Mast went go for a takedown that Ihry stuffed, sending the match to a second and third overtime.

During the second overtime, Mast started in the down position and forced a stand off with Ihry. After both wrestlers got back to the neutral position, Ihry escaped from a Mast takedown attempt before Mast finally landed a takedown with under 15 seconds to go in the second overtime. Ihry began the final period in the down position before Mast scored a takedown with no time left to win the match, 7-3. After the match, Mast said the last overtime session tested him physically.

“After the first top and bottom, I thought I had won, so that was a weird experiment,” Mast said. “After thinking the match was over, to go back out there and have to wrestle another 30 seconds and fend him off was a challenge, but this week I practiced a lot on my conditioning because in my last couple matches, I have been exhausted by the final period, so I tried to stay calm out there and keep wrestling.”

Coach Jim Andrassy said Mast being able to pull out a win is a big step in his confidence, even though Ihry only has one win on the season for the Huskies.

“Shane is a backup 184 pounder, so anytime he wins it’s a good win for Shane,” Andrassy said. “Here he is as a backup 184 pounder wrestling at 197, so we’re happy for him anytime he gets a win regardless of the opponent.”  

McNally secured his 11th victory in a row, defeating Will Feldkamp 13-3. McNally had a 6-3 advantage entering the third period when he scored a takedown with 1:50 remaining to go up by five. McNally continued to attack for the rest of the match, scoring another takedown and a near fall as time expired to earn a major decision win. Andrassy said McNally’s biggest attribute is his will to win.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is he fights hard,” Andrassy said. “He does not stop wrestling. A lot of our guys fight a takedown for a second, and they stop. At this level, you can’t stop at all.”

McNally said he learned from past experience the most important thing is to just win by any means necessary and to not worry about the overall team score.

“I did not put any extra pressure on myself tonight,” McNally said. “In the Cleveland State dual I did, and I got thrown. Today I worried about just winning instead of scoring points.”

Spencer Berthold won his match with 55 seconds left in the first period to pull the Flashes to within six points going into into the final match. Berthold used his signature cradle to pin Caleb Gossett. Andrassy said even though everybody knows the cradle is coming from Spencer, he does not mind it.

“At the end of the day, he’s trying his best to help us win,” Andrassy said. “I’d rather have that compared to guys who are trying not to lose.”

The Flashes had an opportunity to send the dual to overtime if Jake Ferri recorded a pin Bryce West in the final match. Ferri went on to lose by decision, 4-3. Andrassy thought putting Ferri last instead of first would give the team an extra spark, but it didn’t work out.

“We tried something different tonight,” Andrassy said. “You’re allowed drawing. Coaches decide to do that, and we started at 133, but it did not help us in the long run. We need to fight harder as a team in general.”

Kent State hosts their last regular season dual at 6 Saturday vs Binghamton at the M.A.C. Center.

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