Flashes clip Eagles’ wings, earn first win in three meets to improve 3-2 in conference play

Michael Mann

After dropping two consecutive matches, the Kent State wrestling team got back on a winning path with their 18-12 victory over Eastern Michigan while visiting Ypsilanti Friday night.

The 125-pound class started off the match with Alfredo Gray taking the loss with a close decision of 8-7. Gray faced No. 19 ranked Jared Germaine of Eastern Michigan (8-6, 1-3 MAC). The 125-pound class has proven to be a struggle for the Flashes in duals, only earning three victories the entire season.

After his last loss to Central Michigan broke his seven bout win streak, sophomore Mack McGuire was defeated for his second straight event despite having another close 7-6 decision for the Flashes against Vincent Pizzuto of the Eagles.

Tyler Small put the Flashes (9-8, 3-2 MAC) on the scoreboard, earning a 7-3 triumph in his 141-pound class. With that win, the Flashes still trailed 6-3 in the match.

The Flashes would then tie the match 6-6 with a victory by Mike DePalma, still wrestling through an injury. When asked Sunday, DePalma said he didn’t even expect to wrestle versus Eastern Michigan in order to rest and recover.

After a loss in the 157-weight class, the Flashes would go on a hot streak. Tyler Buckwalter started the stretch with a win in the 165-class with a strong 5-3 decision. That would tie the Eagles and Flashes at 9-9 with four classes remaining.

Caleb Marsh followed Buckwalter with another 5-3 decision in favor of the Flashes.

Junior Sam Wheeler showed up ready to wrestle against his counterpart from Eastern Michigan — the same opponent who defeated him in last year’s MAC Tournament, Phillip Joseph. Wheeler defeated Joseph 11-7.

Wheeler came into this match after an amazing comeback performance in his last match against Central Michigan and has proven his worth coming into this week ranked number 12 among his weight class.

A win by Cole Baxter in the 197-pound class over Nick Whitenburg would push Kent State’s lead to 18-9 and leave it out of reach for the Eagles with only one class remaining.

Sophomore Mimmo Lytle took a 5-0 loss in the final bout, but the Flashes bounced back from a tough loss to the Chippewas in this match with a 18-12 victory over Eastern Michigan.

The Flashes pushed their MAC record to 3-2 and are looking to continue their string of MAC opponents when headed to Dekalb, Illinois to face the Northern Illinois Huskies in a match next Saturday.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].