Miller, Flashes get set for MAC conference wrestling championships

Michael Mann

With the regular season behind them, the Kent State wrestlers will have a chance this weekend to be recognized as one of the Mid American Conference’s best.

The MAC was allocated 41 automatic bids for the National Championship. The bids will be decided in Kent this weekend as the Memorial and Convocation Center holds a face-off between the best wrestlers in the conference. Those 41 spots were the third most received, only behind the Big Ten and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling association, or EIWA, who received 74 and 47 automatic bids to the National Championships respectively.

“That means we’re the second toughest conference behind the Big 10, which no one in the world probably knows besides people in the MAC,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “It shows that we have a very challenging conference.”

Although the EIWA received 47 bids, the conference holds a total of 18 teams in comparison to the MAC’s nine teams.

“It shows the quality of our schedule,” Andrassy said. “Bottom line is, if you can put together a tough enough schedule and your guys can battle through it, it pays off in the long run.”

Andrassy said earlier in the season that the Flashes faced the nation’s toughest schedule by far, facing a total of 16 nationally ranked teams.

Seven of the MAC teams had sat in the nation’s top-25 at one point, including Northern Iowa who finished the season sitting fifth in the rankings. The Flashes were tied with Northern Iowa in their match on Feb. 9, until Kent suffered a loss in the match, decided by a tie-breaker. Kent State ended the season with a 4-4 conference record and an 11-13 season record.

Ian Miller of the 157-pound class comes into the Championships seeded first in his weight class. The seeding, based off of individual rankings, also features Mike DePalma seeded third and Mack McGuire fourth.

Yet much more goes into hosting a MAC Championship than just endless hours of training on the mat. Programs need to be made, media passes and seats assigned, a whirlwind of information to organize and have ready for the big event.

Last year’s championship was located at the University of Buffalo and before that at Northern Illinois.

“The last few years it had been at Northern Illinois, and that’s a long drive home afterward,” Aaron Chimenti said, who is Asssistant Director of Communications for wrestling and football. “It’ll be nice to be able to walk out of the doors Sunday and know everything is finished.”

The MAC Championships will be a two-day event spanning March 8-9 in the M.A.C. Center. Doors will open at 11 a.m. both days with matches starting at 12 p.m.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].