Rules decide fate for Flashes against undefeated Panthers

Michael Mann

After their last match was decided via tiebreaker in a win against Northern Illinois, the Kent State wrestling team saw the losing side in their match against the undefeated Northern Iowa Panthers in a similar fashion.

The 133-pound class started the match, with No. 1 ranked Joe Colon of the Panthers earning a major decision over the Flashes’ sophomore Mack McGuire.

Following that major decision, the Flashes (10-9, 4-3 MAC) struck to the scoreboard with three consecutive weight class wins.

Junior Tyler Small started the win streak with a solid 7-2 victory and was then followed by sophomore Mike DePalma, who bounced back from being pinned in his last outing to a dominant win against Northern Iowa.

DePalma took a 14-2 lead into the third period of his bout before having his opponent called for a technical fall.

Senior T.J. Keklak, who was also pinned by a Northern Illinois Husky on Saturday, showed up early with a 5-0 lead after the first period, where he then held the lead to a 9-7 win in the 157-pound class.

Despite building a 11-5 lead after consecutive wins, the Panthers fought back with three successive victories of their own. These three losses for the Flashes included a loss by sophomore Sam Wheeler against No. 5 ranked Ryan Loder of Northern Iowa. This marks Wheeler’s fifth loss this season compared to his astonishing 26 wins.

Northern Iowa led Kent State 14-11 with only three classes remaining to wrestle.

Junior Caleb Marsh gave Kent State a 15-14 team lead with his 9-1 dominant performance in the 197-pound weight class. Freshman Mimmo Lytle increased the lead to 18-14 in favor of the Flashes, rebounding well after a marginal 1-0 loss in Kent State’s previous match against Northern Illinois.

Northern Iowa earned a victory in the final weight class to even the team scores at 18-18, where Kent State’s second match in a row would be settled by tiebreaking criteria.

With each team taking wins in five weight classes respectively, the second criterion of total match points came into effect. The Panthers of Northern Iowa had earned a total of 59 match points compared to the 58 of Kent State, earning them an additional team point and giving them a 19-18 victory over the Flashes.

Kent State’s next matches will be on Feb. 21, when they will host Edinboro and Mid-American Conference opponent Missouri to finish up their schedule of duals for the season.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].