Kent State wrestling takes fourth at the Virginia Duals

Michael Mann

The Kent State wrestling team took fourth-place at this weekend’s Virginia Duals tournament after tough losses to top-seeded Virginia and third-place-finisher Virginia Tech.

The Flashes boarded the bus for the Hampton Coliseum early on Thursday holding the 22nd spot in the InterMat rankings and 21st in the rankings. They went into the tournament as the third seed.

In the first match against The Citadel, Kent State sophomore Del Vinas would suffer a decisive loss of 7-4 at the 125-pound class. But sophomore Mack McGuire and junior Tyler Small would get the team on the board with McGuire’s 5-3 decision win and a pin by Small to win his bout.

Sophomore Michael DePalma faced a 6-4 defeat in his 149-pound matchup with The Citadel’s Matthew Frisch. Fifth year senior T.J. Keklak took a close loss at a decision score of 3-2. Sophomore Tyler Buckwalter came up just short in his bout with a 6-5 decision at the 165-pound class. These consecutive defeats left the score tied 12-12 between Kent State and The Citadel with four remaining weight classes.

Junior Caleb Marsh secured a solid victory over The Citadel’s Terrell Forbes in the 174-pound weight class. Sophomore Sam Wheeler then had the most dominant bout of the match with a stellar 15-3 decision.

Heavyweight freshman Mimmo Lytle and 197-pound sophomore Cole Baxter kept the momentum going by both picking up pins.

The final four bouts would drive Kent State Wrestling to a 28-12 victory over The Citadel and putting them against the Bloomsburg Huskies in the next round.

Sophomore Alfredo Gray of the 125-pound weight class opened the match in a loss for Kent State in a decisive loss to Bloomsburg’s Sean Boylan.

Mack McGuire picked up his second victory of the Duals in the 133-pound weight class with an overtime win. Tyler Small matched McGuire’s undefeated day with his second pin of the day coming against Nick Wilcox of Bloomsburg.

Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler medically defaulted versus the Flashes’ Michael DePalma, earning DePalma the victory. Kent’s lead over Bloomsburg would push to 21-3 with the addition of sophomore Ian Miller’s second period pin. The Flashes ended up winning by a score of 27-12.

“Bloomsburg is a top 20 team,” said Coach Jim Andrassy. “We wrestled very well against them.”

The match against Virginia would become a 22-12 loss for the Flashes, but was an improvement to the 29-12 loss that the team suffered much earlier in the season to the same Virginia squad.

“We lost to them earlier in the year, we lost to them pretty badly,” said Coach Andrassy. “Some guys beat guys they lost to earlier in the year. It was much better than that last match.”

Coming up short to Virginia then pinned the Flashes against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the match that would decide the third place contestant.

The team faced Virginia Tech earlier this season in the Virginia Tech Duals. The previous meeting was a result of 19-18 in favor of Virginia Tech, and at the Virginia Duals, the matchup was just as close.

After an opening 3-1 loss by Alfredo Gray, Mack McGuire would pick up an 8-0 win, finishing the Duals with an unbelievable 4-0 weekend.

The following three bouts would be losses for the Flashes, including a very questionable technical call in Ian Miller’s event, giving a 16-7 edge to Virginia Tech with four weight classes left.

“It’s just a technicality, it’s how the sport works,” said Coach Andrassy. “You have to be aware at all times.”

The consecutive losses would be followed right back by three great wins by Wheeler, Baxter, and Caleb Marsh, who also finished with a perfect 4-0 for the meet. This evened the score with just one matchup remaining.

Virginia Tech’s Ty Walz would emerge victorious in the 3-2 decision over Mimmo Lytle, and secured fourth place finish for the Kent State Flashes in the Virginia Duals.

The Kent State Wrestling team will be back in action this weekend for the second-annual Beauty and the Beast event. Both the wrestling squad and the gymnastics team will compete against their respective counterparts from North Carolina State at 2 p.m. Sunday in the M.A.C Center.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected].