Flashes making their way back to the top


Kent State freshman Cory Simpson wrestles against Gardner-Webb sophomore Landon LoAlbo at the Kent State Field House on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2016. Simpson won by major decision 14-6.

Samantha Ross

This season hasn’t been the best for the Kent State wrestling team, as they currently sit at 2-11 overall and 0-5 in the Mid-American Conference.

“Last year, arguably, it was the best team we’ve had in the program’s history,” Coach Jim Andrassy said. “The combination of being ranked 16th and placing 15th is the best combination we’ve ever had.”

Last year the Flashes had eight seniors graduate with seven of them being starters. This year they have a whole new lineup with only two starters from last year, Anthony Tutolo and Devin Nye.

“Anthony’s been hurt, still don’t know when he’s going to wrestle. Devin has been hurt a good portion of the year, too, so we literally went with a whole new starting lineup,” Andrassy said.

The Flashes have a young team this year, which according to Andrassy, is one of the reasons as to why the team is having a tougher year.

“It’s been really hard, and what makes it harder is that we’re working really, really hard to get through it, and we’re not quite seeing the results right now. But you just have to have that faith and that belief that it’s going to pay off down the road,” said team captain Chance Driscoll.

The team brought on 10 freshman wrestlers this season. Cory Simpson, 125-pounder, is the only freshman in the lineup due to him being the only one at that weight.

Dylan Barreiro and Lane Hinkle are two freshmen that Andrassy thinks are good, but it was best to redshirt them this year.

Currently, Barreiro is 17-14 and Hinkle is 23-9. They both wrestled their first college tournament at the Clarion Open, where Barreiro went 3-2 and Hinkle went 4-2.

We’re still doing things right now that we do early on in the season,” said Andrassy. “We’ve adjusted for the talent that we have on the team.”

“We definitely lost more this year than we did last year, but the team’s improving as time goes on, which is good. That’s really what we’re trying to get done now,” said Casey Sparkman.

According to Driscoll, the team is making more of an effort to support one another, not just at meets and tournaments, but also in the wrestling room.

“In the room, if you have a bit of knowledge to drop on somebody about a technique or position you give that right away,” said Driscoll. “It doesn’t matter if that guy’s competing for the same spot with you or what. It may be if he’s two weight classes lighter than you or two weight classes heavier than you, we’re always trying to make each other better in here.”

According to Sparkman, the team isn’t just together in the wrestling room, but they are also together outside of the wrestling room.

“We’ll go out and play football or basketball, so we’re always moving and staying active. We’re not just resting all the time,” Sparkman said. “We’re really trying to get better and change the mindset of the team so we’re not down on ourselves all the time. I’ve never really been on a team where we lose every dual meet, but we have a lot of young guys that haven’t really tasted the success yet so we’re just trying to get everyone feeling it.”

The Flashes will be back in action this Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center for the annual Beauty & the Beast event.