Wrestling hosts intrasquad preseason match

Kent+State%E2%80%99s+Mack+McGuire+tries+to+escape+the+hold+of+Northern+Illinois%E2%80%99+Jordan+Northrup+during+their+meet+in+the+M.A.C.+Center+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+13%2C+2015.

Kent State’s Mack McGuire tries to escape the hold of Northern Illinois’ Jordan Northrup during their meet in the M.A.C. Center on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

Dan Armelli

The Kent State wrestling team held its intra-squad wrestle-offs Saturday at the MACC Annex gym. The event featured 15 matches in eight different weight classes.

Head coach Jim Andrassy said there were multiple things about the wrestle-offs that were important, including no one getting hurt.

“All of our guys made weight at the weight class they’ll be wrestling in,” he said. “And then they were able to go out and perform. Some people will say, ‘that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ But it’s hard to do the first time around, especially when most of our guys haven’t done it in four or five months.”

Andrassy noted earlier in the week that he usually sees some of his wrestlers perform differently out in the public versus in the wrestling room. However, he said he was impressed with the way his wrestlers competed.

“There were some kids in there that, not that I worried about, but this is one step up from being outside the room,” he said. “Everybody here is comfortable with each other. It’s all Kent State fans. There wasn’t much noise; it was just people watching with no cheering. There was no pressure, except for the pressure that the kids put on themselves. I didn’t put any pressure on anybody.”

There were a few instances where some of the older wrestlers would face one of the younger wrestlers. In the first match, fifth-year senior Del Vinas beat sophomore Drew Dickson in the 125-pound weight class match. Another fifth-year senior, Mike DePalma, beat freshman Jacob Spino in the first match of the 149-pound weight class.

Andrassy said in those occurrences when an experienced wrestler faces a new wrestler, he’s looking for the older guy to prove his dominance.

“I think at the same sense there were some young guys that hung in there that, take away a few mistakes by them being young, and they’re right in the matches,” he said. “165 for example, he got turned on his back twice. He doesn’t get turned in situations where he’s just relaxing. He has to find the right times to relax in a match or even to get his breath. If he doesn’t do that, it’s a totally different match; it’s an 8-8 match instead of a 12-8 match.”

But it was far from all bad news for the underclassmen. One of the younger wrestlers that caught Andrassy’s eye was sophomore 141-pounder Chance Driscoll.

“He started at St. Ed’s, where he was behind some great kids; he was a backup to them,” Andrassy said. “He’s a kid now that has an opportunity, mainly because over the years our 141-pounders have either gone ineligible, not on the team, transferred; just different situations. Not only does he have an opportunity, but he’s probably the hardest working kid on the team, does all the right things, and lives the right lifestyle. He’s one of those kids that has a little bit of anxiety, and I think he worked through it pretty well today.”

Andrassy said that even though the team isn’t where it eventually will be, the wrestle-offs was a good start.

“It’s better than going to that first weekend in Eastern Michigan with a bunch of duals and not knowing how kids are going to react. At least they’ve got a few weeks to work their way into it, which is part of the purpose of having an event like this.”

Kent State will begin the regular season at the Clarion Open on Sunday, Nov. 1. 

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