Healthy, determined, ready to wrestle for MAC Championships


Shane Flanigan

Senior Stevie Mitcheff pries Wisconsin’s Matthew Cavallaris’ hand from the mat during their match Sunday, Feb. 17 at the MACC as part of the NWCA National Duals. Kent State defeated Wisconsin in the meet 33-10, finishing in third place overall behind Oklahoma State and Northern Iowa. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Richie Mulhall

Feeling healthy, determined and well rested after a three-week break from competing, the Kent State wrestling team spent the week preparing for the Mid-American Conference Championships on Sunday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Flashes head coach Jim Andrassy said his guys are “as healthy as they’ve been all year” and feeling “pretty good.”

Over the past three weeks leading up to the MAC Championships, the team has been participating in short, rigorous and intense practices to prepare for this weekend.

Andrassy said his team has been “training pretty hard” in the wrestling room, and the guys are refreshed from the lapse in competition and will be ready come Sunday.

The Competition

Ranked No. 20 according to, the Flashes will face the likes of No. 5 Missouri, No. 10 Central Michigan, and No. 26 Northern Iowa, along with Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo and Northern Illinois at Alumni Arena.

Four schools boast at least one top-seeded wrestler. Missouri leads the way with six top seeds, while Central Michigan brings two top seeds. Northern Iowa will bring one top seed, as well as Kent State, which is 2011 NCAA champion Dustin Kilgore, the school’s career leader in both victories and pins.

The teams most likely to stand in Kent State’s way of earning a MAC Championship are Missouri and Central Michigan.

The Flashes did not have the opportunity to meet Missouri face-to-face this season, but did square off against Central Michigan in a rough, but hard-fought 27-8 losing effort back in late-January.

The Flashes have also faced Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Buffalo this season. Kent State defeated Ohio 26-11 back in mid-January with relative ease and certainty.

The Flashes also beat Eastern Michigan 24-15 in Feb. 1. The team battled back from a 15-6 deficit to seal the win.

Kent State found a tougher opponent in Buffalo, the host team this Sunday. In Kent State’s previous match against Buffalo, the Flashes saw themselves trailing 19-3 with only four matches left when redshirt freshman Sam Wheeler recorded a victory that ignited what would become one of the biggest comebacks in program history.

After Wheeler’s effort to wake up his team and turn the tables on Buffalo, the bottom part of the Flashes’ lineup was victorious in its matches to swing the final score in Kent State’s favor. Fifth-year seniors Casey Newburg, Dustin Kilgore and Keith Witt capped the amazing 22-19 come-from-behind victory.

These fifth-year seniors, along with fellow seniors Stevie Mitcheff and Tommy Sasfy, are all feeling good and hope to end their last MAC Championship match on a good note.

“I only have probably ten or less matches left in my career,” Newburg said, “so I just gotta treat every match like it’s my last and go out there and just give it everything I have for every match.”

Event Details

Sunday’s MAC Championship action at Alumni Arena is set to begin at 10 a.m.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].

MAC Championship Pre-seeds

The pre-seeds were voted on by the conference’s coaches who ranked the top eight wrestlers in each weight class. List from

125 lbs.

1) Alan Waters, Missouri

2) Christian Cullinan, Central Michigan

3) Stevie Mitcheff, Kent State

4) Jared Germaine, Eastern Michigan

5) Max Soria, Buffalo

6) Ryan Jauch, Northern Iowa

7) Kevon Powell, Ohio

8) Derek Elmore, Northern Illinois

133 lbs.

1) Nathan McCormick, Missouri

2) Scotti Sentes, Central Michigan

3) Levi Wolfensperger, Northern Iowa

4) Nick Smith, Northern Illinois

5) Mack McGuire, Kent State

6) Vince Pizzuto, Eastern Michigan

7) Justin Farmer, Buffalo

8) Joey Munoz, Ohio

141 lbs.

1) Joey Lazor, Northern Iowa

2) Erik Galloway, Buffalo

3) Kevin Fanta, Northern Illinois

4) Nick Hucke, Missouri

5) Scott Mattingly, Central Michigan

6) Seth Schaner, Eastern Michigan

7) Luke Kern, Kent State

8) Kagan Squire, Ohio

149 lbs.

1) Drake Houdasheldt, Missouri

2) Donnie Corby, Central Michigan

3) Bart Reiter, Northern Iowa

4) Andrew Romanchik, Ohio

5) Rob Jillard, Northern Illinois

6) Blake Roulo, Buffalo

7) Mike Shaw, Eastern Michigan

8) Andrew Candiello, Kent State

157 lbs.

1) Kyle Bradley, Missouri

2) David Bonin, Northern Iowa

3) Aaron Sulzer, Eastern Michigan

4) Spartak Chino, Ohio

5) Luke Smith, Central Michigan

6) Andrew Morse, Northern Illinois

7) Wally Maziarz, Buffalo

8) Tommy Sasfy, Kent State

165 lbs.

1) Mike Ottinger, Central Michigan

2) Zach Toal, Missouri

3) Mark Lewandowski, Buffalo

4) Caleb Marsh, Kent State

5) Harrison Hightower, Ohio

6) Jake Davis, Eastern Michigan

7) Sam Bennett, Northern Illinois

8) Jarrett Jensen, Northern Iowa

174 lbs.

1) Todd Porter, Missouri

2) Cody Walters, Ohio

3) Sam Wheeler, Kent State

4) John-Martin Cannon, Buffalo

5) Craig Kelliher, Central Michigan

6) Cody Caldwell, Northern Iowa

7) Matt Mougin, Northern Illinois

8) Phillip Joseph, Eastern Michigan

184 lbs.

1) Ben Bennett, Central Michigan

2) Ryan Loder, Northern Iowa

3) Mike Larson, Missouri

4) Casey Newburg, Kent State

5) Michael Duckworth, Ohio

6) Khodor Hoballah, Eastern Michigan

7) Tony Lock, Buffalo

8) Bryan Loughlin, Northern Illinois

197 lbs.

1) Dustin Kilgore, Kent State

2) Brent Haynes, Missouri

3) Nick Whitenburg, Eastern Michigan

4) Phillip Wellington, Ohio

5) Angelo Malvestuto, Buffalo

6) Parker Settecase, Northern Illinois

7) Taylor Ketteman, Northern Iowa

8) Jackson Lewis, Central Michigan

285 lbs.

1) Dom Bradley, Missouri

2) Jared Trice, Central Michigan

3) Jeremy Johnson, Ohio

4) Blayne Beale, Northern Iowa

5) Jared Torrence, Northern Illinois

6) Keith Witt, Kent State

7) Justin Heiserman, Buffalo

8) Chris Eggert, Eastern Michigan