Flashes battle injuries, prep for Navy Classic


Kent State’s Tyler Small wrestles against Lavion Mayes from the University of Missouri at the MAC Championship meet hosted by Kent State on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Small lost 4-2 in overtime.

Ricky Salcer

As the Kent State wrestling team heads to Annapolis, Maryland for the Navy Classic this Saturday, it is accustomed to coming home with great results.

Last year the Flashes finished second at the Navy Classic. Two years the team has left as champions.

Kent State wrestling coach Jim Andrassy expects his team to face good competition this year, just as the Flashes have seen every year prior.

“There will be 13 teams at the Naval Academy, and they are all Division I, which means we will be able to have some very good competition,” Andrassy said.

That competition will include three nationally ranked teams and 22 nationally ranked wrestlers.

This year as Kent State prepares for the Navy Classic, held inside the Wesley Brown Field House, the goal will be to make progress and see other wrestlers step up as several fight through current injuries.

“We’re going in there with not our full team yet,” Andrassy said. “The plan is to have many of these guys back in time for the Buffalo meet.”

Kent State will be without top wrestler and junior 157-pounder Ian Miller, who is dealing with a concussion after unintentionally slamming his head into the mat during a match earlier this season. Also not participating this weekend will be junior 197-pounder Cole Baxter, who is out due to an ankle injury, and fifth-year senior 141-pounder Tyler Small, who is ineligible.

As it is early in the season, the priority for the team is to get healthy as quickly as possible. Andrassy said he understands how mentally frustrating injuries can be and said he knows the importance of battling through them this early in the season.

“All in all, it’s early in the season,” Andrassy said. “We have a lot of time, and I keep telling our guys to keep working hard. We need to keep working and keep our spirits high and stay motivated as much as we can.”

The Flashes head into this competition looking to have another top finish. Despite notable injuries, Andrassy said he will continue to expect positive results.

Contact Ricky Salcer at [email protected].