No. 1 Kilgore makes history as four-time MAC Champion, named Most Outstanding Wrestler

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Senior Stevie Mitcheff attempts to break free of Oklahoma State’s Edward Klimara during their match Sunday, Feb. 17 at the M.A.C. as part of the NWCA National Duals. OSU defeated Kent State 34-10. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Richie Mulhall

Fifth-year senior Dustin Kilgore made history Sunday when he became the sixth wrestler in Mid-American Conference history to win the MAC Championship four times during his collegiate career. Kilgore was also named Most Outstanding MAC Wrestler.

In the opening period of his quarterfinal match, Kilgore used his signature cradle maneuver to pin Central Michigan’s Jackson Lewis. Leading the nation in pins, Kilgore racked up his 18th season pin and 50th career pin, both Kent State records. In the semifinal bout, Ohio opted not to send Phil Wellington out on the mat to face Kilgore.

In the 197-pound championship match, Kilgore claimed his fourth MAC title with a 17-5 major decision over No. 14 Brent Haynes of Missouri, proving his conference supremacy inside a packed Alumni Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.

2013 Mid-American Conference Championships Results

125 pounds: Stevie Mitcheff : 2nd place

133 pounds: Mack McGuire: 5th place

141 pounds: Luke Kern: 6th place

157 pounds: Tommy Sasfy: 5th place

165 pounds: Caleb Marsh: 3rd place

174 pounds: Sam Wheeler: 6th place

184 pounds: Casey Newburg: 4th place

197 pounds: Dustin Kilgore: 1st place

285 pounds: Keith Witt: 6th place

Including his victory over Haynes, Kilgore defeated six opponents currently ranked in the top 15 spots: Jake Meredith (Arizona State), Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh), Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming), Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State), Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State) and Haynes.

With Kilgore’s three victories Sunday, he boosted his season record to a career-best 39-0. The Flashes’ career victory leader extended his impressive NCAA winning streak to 58 wins now.

Kilgore now looks ahead to the NCAA Championships at the end of the month, hoping to repeat the same success he found in 2011 when he won a national championship.

Nine out of Kent State’s 10 starters place in the top six

Out of the tough MAC competition Sunday, the Flashes placed fourth out of the eight MAC teams that competed. Nine out of the 10 Kent State starting wrestlers earned a sixth place finish or better on the weekend.

Fifth-year seniors Stevie Mitcheff (125 pounds) and Casey Newburg (184 pounds) placed second and fourth in their respective weight classes. Mitcheff raised his season record to 28-11 on the season, and Newburg improved his record to 34-8.

After a slow start to the season, Mitcheff was happy that he was able to get in gear and shift his season into a successful, 28-win campaign.

“I finally got on a roll the second part of the year, got my confidence up, so I think I had a pretty good year,” Mitcheff said.

Sophomore Caleb Marsh placed third at 165.

Looking ahead: 2013 NCAA Championships

The NCAA allotted the MAC 30 automatic bids for the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The MAC received five bids at the 174-pound weight class, four at 125 and 184, three at 133, 157, 197 and 285, two at 149 and 165 pounds and one at 141.

With their wins Sunday, Kilgore, Mitcheff and Newburg all earned the right to compete in the NCAA Championships.

On Wednesday, the NCAA will announce the remaining at-large bids. There will be four of these bids in each weight class. The rest of the Kent State wrestling roster will be watching closely for any other NCAA Tournament qualifiers.

The 2013 Championships will be held March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].