Tutolo qualifies for NCAA Championships


Then a sophomore, Anthony Tutolo (left) warms up before the Thanksgiving Throwdown on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at the M.A.C. Center. 

Samantha Ross

This season looked to be a lost season for Kent State wrestler Anthony Tutolo, who has been out for most of the season due to a knee injury. Tutolo, however, has spent most of the season doing extra work to get himself back to full strength despite the injury. His hard work paid off this weekend at the Mid-American Conference tournament when he placed sixth and qualified for the NCAA Championships, while fellow Flash Casey Sparkman looks to be a strong candidate for the NCAA at-large bid.

“We had five guys finish ahead of their seed,” head coach Jim Andrassy told Kent State athletics of the team’s improvement at the end of the season.

Tutolo took sixth place after losing to Old Dominion University’s Alex Madrigal. Despite the loss, the place as a sixth seed gave him an automatic bid to the NCAA championships.

Sparkman came up short of an automatic bid.

During the consolation semi-finals, Sparkman pinned Old Dominion’s Larry Early in 47 seconds. Sparkman then had a close match that went into overtime against Eastern Michigan University’s Zach Carson. Sparkman scored a takedown to take third place.

“He was the highest placer on our team,” Andrassy said. “He did everything he was supposed to do. We were hoping that he would upset someone to get the automatic spot. I was pretty happy with him.”

Sparkman had the opportunity to to wrestle for true second, but lost to Central Michigan University’s Colin Heffernan.

Despite the loss, Andrassy still thinks that Sparkman has a chance to get an at-large bid and wrestle at the NCAA Championships.

“(Sparkman) meets four of the six criteria,” Andrassy said. “He placed one below the at large bids, so he’s the guy we’re kind of hoping on at this point.”

Kent State’s Isaac Bast beat Central Michigan’s Logan Parks 3-2, placing him fifth at the 165 weight class.

“He ended up taking fifth place and beating some guys that he hadn’t beaten all year,” Andrassy said. “(Bast) was considered the worst guy in the bracket and he placed four spots above where he was seeded.”

Stephen Suglio placed sixth after losing to Central Michigan’s Austin Severn 3-2.

Jerald Spohn and Shane Mast finished in seventh place. Spohn pinned Ohio University’s Arsen Ashughyan in 58 seconds, while Mast defeated Ohio’s Dontae McGee 21-11.

The University of Missouri won the team title at the MAC tournament with 154.5 points.

The championships will be held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri from March 16-18.

Samantha Ross is a sports reporter, contact her at [email protected].