Wrestling team swept in first outing at Virginia Tech Duals

Richie Mulhall

In its first tournament of the season, the Kent State wrestling team (0-3) dropped all three of its dual matches Sunday at the Virginia Tech Hokie Duals in Salem, Va.

In their first dual against No. 8 Virginia Tech, the Flashes and Hokies each seized four decisions and one pin. The two teams split their 10 matches and battled back and forth to an 18-18 tie.

Unfortunately for the Flashes, the NCAA’s third criteria tiebreaker rule, which uses the most total points scored in decisions, allowed Virginia Tech to tack on an extra point, taking the match 19-18.

Head coach Jim Andrassy said he thought his team fought hard in its first match and wrestled well against hosting Hokies, which went 3-0 this past weekend in front of their hometown crowd.

“We lost the match, but I was still pretty happy with how we performed,” Andrassy said.

Kent State did not find the same success it had against Virginia Tech when it went up against Rider (3-0) and Virginia (2-1) later in the day.

The Flashes and Broncs wrestled toe-to-toe to a 15-14 Rider lead going into the final bout, but Rider’s Greg Velasco slammed the door on Kent State’s comeback hopes when he topped redshirt freshman Mimmo Lytle 3-1.

Kicking off the season 0-3 is not exactly the way Andrassy wanted to begin, especially with the team’s sights set on an eventual Mid-American Conference Championships.

Sophomore Michael DePalma, 149 Ibs., who was added to Kent State’s roster this summer after transferring from Edinboro, went 0-3 in his regular season debut for the Flashes.

DePalma, who got the nod to start for the Flashes at 149 Ibs., is competing for a spot on the starting roster, along with many other starters who have multiple wrestlers in their respective weight class.

None of the starters’ positions are safe at this point.

“Right now, every position’s up for grabs,” Andrassy said. “Our goal is every spot’s open, and you have to earn your spot. Those spots aren’t given to anybody.”

Sophomore Sam Wheeler, 184 Ibs., had a perfect 3-0 day and was the only Flash to go undefeated Sunday.

“I felt like I performed pretty good for the first tournament,” Wheeler said. “I felt a little rusty, but I think it’s a nice way to start the season, and I want to keep it going.”

The Flashes will return to action Saturday in the Eastern Michigan Duals and Eastern Michigan Open. They will face off against Gardner-Webb, Michigan and Campbellsville.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].