Wrestling caps perfect day at EMU Duals

Richie Mulhall

Editor’s note: The original version of this story did not specify that the quotes from Coach Jim Andrassy are from a press release. The attribution has been added.

Last weekend, in its first tournament of the season, an 0-3 Kent State wrestling team found itself down and out, looking for answers.

On Sunday at the annual Eastern Michigan Duals in Ypsilanti, Mich., however, the Flashes found the answers for which they were searching.

Inside the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center, the Kent State wrestling team went 3-0 and capped their day with a narrow 17-16 victory over No. 20 Michigan (2-1).

After a full week of practicing, polishing and disciplining orchestrated by the Kent State coaching staff, the Flashes backlashed Saturday with a vengeance.

Junior Tyler Small (141 lbs.) and sophomores Ian Miller (157 lbs.), Mike DePalma (149 lbs.), Cole Baxter (197 lbs.) and Sam Wheeler (184 lbs.) all went 3-0.

“The wins were contagious today,” head coach Jim Andrassy said in a press release. “We were a lot better today and our guys were feeding off of each other.”

The Flashes kicked off their day with a 42-4 drubbing of Gardner-Webb (1-6). Mack McGuire (133) DePalma, Miller and Mimmo Lytle (285) each had pins in the first bout.

Wheeler recorded a major decision and Baxter had a dominant 17-0 technical fall.

For their second match of the day, the Flashes found themselves up against Michigan, who routed Kent State’s Mid-American Conference rival Northern Illinois 22-9 earlier in the day.

Andrassy said he did not expect to surprise anyone this past weekend, but the blue and gold shocked a lot of people Sunday when they took it to the blue and maize.

The Flashes and Wolverines each won five matches in the dual, but Miller’s 22-5 technical fall win at 157 lifted Kent State over Michigan just enough to seal the one-point margin of victory. Miller also notched a pair of pins under his belt as well.

“Ian really wrestled well from all three positions,” Andrassy said. “We even moved him up a weight for his last match, and he didn’t miss a beat.”

In their last match of the day, the Flashes defeated Campbellsville (5-2), 32-9, and coasted their way to a perfect day.

Saturday’s three victories boosted the team’s record to .500, which is exactly where Andrassy said he wanted to be after the Eastern Michigan Duals.

Last weekend, Small and DePalma both had frustrating days at the Virginia Tech Duals, starting the season with 0-3 records. Despite their lackluster starts, Small and DePalma hit a streak of good luck and bounced back with 3-0 finishes each. DePalma also had a pair of pins against Gardner-Webb and Campbellsville.

“Mike did really well today, and he looked like he’d been there before,” Andrassy said.

“Tyler’s coming around. He had some catching up to do after the offseason, but he’s a lot closer to where he was two years ago.”

At 184 pounds, Wheeler wrestled his way to another undefeated, 3-0 day. He improves to 6-0 and remains the only unbeaten Flash so far this season.

McGuire and Lytle each went 2-1, with Lytle racking up a couple of pins.

Kent State will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 23, to take part in the 36th annual Navy Classic at the Wesley Brown Field House. Last season, the Flashes narrowly edged Navy 115.5 to 109.5 to take home the coveted tournament championship.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].