Three Flashes take home titles at Navy Classic

Dan Armelli

There has been a tendency in the NBA to gather three superstars on one team and throw out the label “Big Three” (see the 2008 Boston Celtics and 2012 Miami Heat). But perhaps this theory has made its way into Kent State’s wrestling team with fifth-year seniors Mack McGuire, Mike DePalma and Ian Miller, who all walked away with first place finishes at the Navy Classic.


“I think Ian’s doing pretty much what we expect. (He’s) in a class of his own,” said coach Jim Andrassy. “Mike and Mack, they’re in their senior years, and I think they’ve actually stepped it up a little bit. I was really encouraged by how both of them wrestled. They just have to keep being consistent and keep it up. In two weeks we’ll find out a lot more about both of these guys.”


McGuire, DePalma and Miller are all multiple-time NCAA qualifiers and remain undefeated for the year.


The Flashes finished second as a team with 130 points, nine points behind Princeton University and 28.5 points in front of No. 12 University of Wisconsin-Madison, who finished third.


“I thought we wrestled pretty well as a team,” Andrassy said. “I was pretty happy with the performance (and) how we competed. Like any team, it’s early in the year and we have got to get better.”


Ten wrestlers were able to place for the Flashes in their respective weight classes, with eight of them scoring double digit points: Miller (first place, 20 points); DePalma (first, 19.50); McGuire (first, 16); fifth-year senior Cole Baxter (3rd, 18); sophomore Anthony Tutolo (3rd, 15.50);  fifth-year senior Tyler Buckwalter (3rd, 14.50); sophomore Stephen Suglio (fifth, 13) and senior Del Vinas (5th, 11).


Sophomore Chance Driscoll and redshirt freshman Kyle Conel were also able to get sixth place finishes for Kent State.


The Flashes had two of their wrestlers face off against each other twice during the event. McGuire beat Tutolo via tiebreaker 2-1 in the 133 semifinals, and Suglio won by technical fall over redshirt freshman Devin Nye 16-0 in the third round of the heavyweight consolation.


Andrassy said these matches proved that they made the right decision as far as who they will send to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational.


“With heavyweight, I think going into the weekend we thought Devin just might be bigger (and) more able to handle the weight,” Andrassy said. “Suglio ended up emerging as the guy. One of the biggest things is Devin Nye beat (Ohio University’s) starter (sophomore Jesse Webb).”


As far as the other match with two Flashes, Tutolo has been able to string together successful performances, but won’t be able to crack the starting lineup at 133.


“Mack doesn’t do a whole lot of flashy stuff. He just wins,” Andrassy said. “At this stage in his career, I think he knows how to win more than Tutolo. It doesn’t mean Tutolo isn’t a great wrestler. It just means that Tutolo isn’t a great matchup for some people. It’s just one of those things where we just have to figure it out and Tutolo has to figure out where he wants to go from here.”


While the Flashes try to find a way to get Tutolo into the lineup, Andrassy did note that Tutolo isn’t far off from McGuire, which bodes well for the future of the program.


“The question is how do we get Tutolo in the lineup?” Andrassy said. “He’s a good enough guy and he needs to be there.”


Kent State will be back in action at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational, a two-day tournament that runs from Dec. 4-5.


Dan Armelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]