Wrestling team looks to build momentum for home stretch


Sophomore Michael Depalma takes on Central Michigan’s Scott Mattingly Sunday Jan. 26, 2014. The Flashes lost 12-21.

Michael Mann

The Kent State wrestling team broke free of a two-match skid with a win last weekend and will head to DeKalb, Ill., Saturday to face the Northern Illinois Huskies before heading into a match just a day later against the Northern Iowa Panthers.

The Flashes came out of Ypsilanti, Mich., last Saturday victorious against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, who had lost four straight matches before hosting Kent State.

The Flashes head into DeKalb occupying 21st place in the WrestlingReport.com rankings with a team that includes six top-25 ranked wrestlers. The team and individual wrestlers have kept the same ranks over the last few weeks despite having two consecutive losses to Ohio and Central Michigan.

Of the six ranked Kent State wrestlers, sophomore Sam Wheeler continues his phenomenal season coming off two strong performances, one of which was against an opponent who defeated him in last year’s MAC Tournament. Wheeler’s revenge came against Phillip Joseph of Eastern Michigan in the Flashes’ last meet.

The Huskies (6-9, 1-5 MAC) host the Flashes after dropping their last three matches, though they did lose to very respectable programs. The three losses included 11th-ranked Missouri and Old Dominion, which were both in-conference losses for the Huskies.

The University of Northern Iowa so far boasts an undefeated calendar year of 2014. The Panthers sit in the eighth spot in the Intermat.com Division I team rankings and sit fifth in USA Today’s Coaches Poll. The Panthers’ roster holds six top-20 ranked wrestlers including the No. 1 ranked Joe Colon of the 133-lb. weight class.

This match leads the Flashes into the home-stretch of their season, where a win against Northern Illinois would lead them confidently into Cedar Falls against Northern Iowa.

After Sunday’s match against the Panthers, the Flashes will only have two remaining duals for the season. Those two matches come against the Missouri Tigers and the No. 9-ranked Edinboro Fighting Scots. Both of those matchups will take place Feb. 21 and be hosted at Kent State, with the Edinboro-Kent State match coming shortly after the conclusion of Missouri-Kent State.

The Kent State wrestling team takes on the opposing Huskies at 4 p.m. Saturday before facing Northern Iowa at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].