Flashes drop two straight after strong start in National Duals

Sophomore Ian Miller battles against Iowa State in the National Duals semifinals, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at St. Johns Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by David Dermer/Kent State Athletic Communications.

Sophomore Ian Miller battles against Iowa State in the National Duals semifinals, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by David Dermer/Kent State Athletic Communications.

Michael Mann

The Kent State wrestling team earned their 11th victory of the season over nationally ranked Iowa State in the opening match of the National Wrestling Coaches Association Duals Sunday, before falling in two straight matches to the ranked teams of Ohio State and Illinois.

Kent State, ranked 23rd in the Intermat.com rankings prior to the competition, came into Sunday’s National Duals slated against an 8-4 Iowa State Cyclones boasting the country’s number-one ranked 197-pound wrestler in Kyven Gadson. Gadson would turn out victorious over Kent’s Cole Baxter, as the Flashes and Cyclones each won five weight classes.

The difference in the 19-16 triumph by Kent State would come in the additional points earned by Tyler Small in his fall over Gabe Moreno of Iowa State. The Flashes had three other decisive victories and a major decision compared to the Cyclones’ four decisions with one being major.

“All our guys wrestled well,” Coach Jim Andrassy said  about the win. “We won some weight classes we weren’t sure we were going to. It was probably more of a team effort than you see most matches.”

The major decision against Iowa State in favor of the Flashes came from Mack McGuire’s 9-0 win, continuing his season of success in the 133-pound weight class.

Ian Miller was back in action at the 157-pound spot after having been out since an arm injury sidelined him against Central Michigan in January. Miller’s return consisted of a 10-4 decisive victory.

“He looked a little cautious but he looked good,” Andrassy said about Miller’s return. “He definitely looked cautious because it’s still sore, but he probably will never be 100 percent the rest of the year.”

The win put the Flashes in the quarterfinals of the tournament, where they were up against the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes. It was the second time the Flashes faced the Buckeyes this season, having lost the first meeting by a decisive score of 27-6.  

This match would finish in a similar fashion, with the Buckeyes taking a 32-4 victory at their home venue. Ohio State earned two technical falls over Mimmo Lytle and Alfredo Gray of Kent, while the Flashes would triumph in just one weight class.

Caleb Marsh held the team’s lone victory with a major decision over Buckeye Jacob Bresciani. Marsh improved to a 2-0 record for the opening day of the Duals while his team fell to an even 1-1.

The loss to Ohio State put the Flashes into the consolation side of the double elimination tournament, scheduling them to face the Illinois Fighting Illini on Monday morning with their life in the tournament on the line.

Illinois, ranked 15th in the Intermat.com rankings prior to the tournament, was led by third-ranked 125-pounder Jesse Delgado.

The morning match started with the Illini rolling out with two consecutive victories before Tyler Small put the Flashes on the board with his win over 13th-ranked 141-pounder Steven Rodrigues.

Ian Miller came away with his second victory of the tournament, earning a major decision in the 157-pound class.

Marsh went undefeated for the tournament going 3-0 and finishing with a 9-6 decision over Tony Dallago of the Illini. Marsh’s decision closed the gap to a 17-10 score leaning the way of Illinois.

Cole Baxter earned the only other weight class win for the Flashes, leaving them with a 24-13 loss to Illinois.

“Our guys just didn’t wrestle very well,” Coach Andrassy said. “Mack [McGuire] didn’t win a match I think he should have won in my opinion. And DePalma, he’s just going through a bit of a funk right now and didn’t wrestle the best either.”

The loss evened Kent’s season record to 11-11.

The Flashes will look to finish the season above .500 as they host ranked opponents Missouri and Edinboro this Friday at home. The meet starts at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].