Wrestling team wins rematch versus Old Dominion

Kent State fifth-year wrestler Tyler Buckwalter flips a wrester from Old Dominion University during a meet at the M.A.C. Center on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. The Flashes won the meet, 25-13.

Dan Armelli

Some of the Kent State wrestling team’s older wrestlers have suffered tough losses over the past few weeks. However, underclassmen have been able to step up and help deliver its fifth-straight dual win. 

Two of these wins have come over Mid-American Conference opponent Old Dominion, 23-12 in the Virginia Duals and a similar 25-13 in their dual meet Sunday.

One of the younger wrestlers able to pull out a win was 165-pound sophomore Jairod James, who wrestled in his first MAC dual match. James beat redshirt sophomore Brooks Climmons, who beat former starter, fifth-year senior Mike Volant in the Virginia Duals two weeks ago. On Sunday, coach Jim Andrassy made the switch. 

“I kind of look at wrestling as every one of these guys are starting quarterbacks,” Andrassy said. “When you pull your quarterback, it’s a big deal. So we made a change today just to figure out the best thing to do for our program moving forward, not only for this year, but for the future.”

James was able to get a takedown that propelled him to a 3-2 win, putting the Flashes up 16-10.

“I would say I did okay just for this being my first match,” James said. “But I feel like I can attack more and score.” 

James said he likes to be aggressive on the mat and not put the match in the referee’s hands. He also said even though it was his first match as the starter, he was ready.

“I felt pretty confident because I just like to wrestle and I want to win,” James said. “I knew what I had to do going into the match. I scouted (Climmons) a little bit. I was just ready for anything and to wrestle and get my takedowns and win.”

James came down at the end of the match when Climmons made a final attempt to get a takedown. After lying on the ground for a few minutes, he was able to limp off the mat. 

Another member of Kent State that got banged up was 157-pound fifth-year senior Ian Miller. Miller needed recovery time in the second period after the referee stopped the match for an illegal maneuver. The same knee that kept him out for the Missouri dual was the same one that bothered him against Old Dominion.

“Two years ago we would’ve wheeled him off in a wheelchair,” Andrassy said. “He’s gotten tougher. It’s hard because Ian is a very dynamic wrestler and when he has injuries, he isn’t as dynamic and he really struggles with his wrestling.” 

Miller ended up winning 14-0, but wanted to get an extra point to for a technical fall that would’ve given his team another point.

“I’ve got to push through it because it could happen to me at NCAAs or MACs,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to figure out how to wrestle with it. I think I did alright. I should’ve got a tech fall. Winning by 14 points is always bittersweet.”

With the win, Miller passed Nick Nemeth, who wrestles as “Dolph Ziggler” in the WWE, for No. 5 all time in Kent State wins with 122.

The Flashes will get a break next week. They will be on the road on February 5 and 6 against MAC opponents Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa.