Kent wrestling falls in clash with No. 1 Oklahoma State; earns hard-fought victory against No. 18 Wisconsin


Shane Flanigan

Senior Tommy Sasfy struggles to break free of Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer during their match Sunday, Feb. 17 at the MACC as part of the NWCA National Duals. OSU defeated Kent State in the meet 34-10. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Richie Mulhall

The Wrap-Up

Many Kent State wrestling fans assumed their Golden Flashes were in for a long night Sunday, pitted against the No. 1 team in country at the M.A.C. Center-hosted NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Regional (aka Mat Mayhem). The team itself, however, had something to say about that right from the match’s start.

NWCA National Duals

Kent State Regional, Kent State’s Match Results:

Kent State 33, Wisconsin 10

125 Steve Mitcheff (Kent State) over Matthew Cavallaris (Wisconsin) Pin 2:55

133 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) over Mackenzie McGuire (Kent State) Dec 8-2

141 Thomas Kelliher (Wisconsin) over Lukas Kern (Kent State) Dec 6-0

149 Andy Candiello (Kent State) forfeit

157 Tommy Sasfy (Kent State) over Charles York (Wisconsin) Dec 7-6

165 Caleb Marsh (Kent State) over Alex Yde (Wisconsin) Dec 5-2

174 Sam Wheeler (Kent State) over SCOTT LIEGEL (Wisconsin) Dec 10-5

184 Casey Newburg (Kent State) forfeit

197 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) over Jackson Hein (Wisconsin) Pin 4:56

285 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) over Keith Witt (Kent State) Maj 10-1

Oklahoma State (15-0) did put Kent State (10-6) through a lot of grief, finishing Kent State 34-10 and scoring four pins in the process. The Golden Flashes proved to be a worthy opponent, though, and the team took away a lot of good things from the match.

After defeating Kent State, Oklahoma State battle No. 24 Northern Iowa (9-5) in the winners’ dual match to determine which team would move on from the Kent State region to the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championship held in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Kent State squared off against No. 18 Wisconsin (7-8) in the losers’ dual match. It was during this match that the Golden Flashes awakened and sent Wisconsin packing with a 33-10 loss.

The Matches

Five seniors Sunday who wrestled their last match in the M.A.C. Center Sunday: Stevie Mitcheff, Tommy Sasfy, Casey Newburg, Dustin Kilgore and Keith Witt.

Four out of the five seniors managed to rack up at least one victory this weekend to end their M.A.C. Center experiences on good notes.

At 125 pounds, Stevie Mitcheff went 2-0 this weekend, serving No. 31 Eddie Kilmara (Oklahoma State) his second loss of the season. Mitcheff then pinned Wisconsin’s Matthew Cavallaris at 2:55 in the bout.

NWCA National Duals, Semifinals

Third Place

Oklahoma State 34, Kent State 10

125 Steve Mitcheff (Kent State) over Edward Klimara (Oklahoma State) Dec 3-2

133 Mackenzie McGuire (Kent State) over Jonathon Morrison (Oklahoma State) Dec 3-2

141 Julian Feikert (Oklahoma State) over Lukas Kern (Kent State) Pin 6:38

149 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) over Andy Candiello (Kent State) Pin 4:02

157 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) over Tommy Sasfy (Kent State) Pin 2:13

165 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) over Caleb Marsh (Kent State) Dec 4-1

174 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) over Mike Vollant (Kent State) Maj 11-2

184 Christopher Chionuma (Oklahoma State) over Casey Newburg (Kent State) Dec 9-5

197 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) over Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) Maj 12-3

285 Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State) over Keith Witt (Kent State) Pin 0:39

Mitcheff said he hopes to keep “rolling with the punches” and remaining confident in order to find himself as an NCAA qualifier at the end of the season.

Wrestling right after Mitcheff, freshman Mack McGuire shocked Kent State fans during his 133 match when he squeezed out a narrow 3-2 victory over No. 6 Jon Morrison of Oklahoma State. McGuire was unable to maintain this same success against Wisconsin, but Jim Andrassy, Kent State head wrestling coach, said McGuire’s future with Kent State wrestling looks bright.

“Since January, he’s done everything we’ve asked and he’s come on and he’s got some really good wins,” Andrassy said.

Sasfy, who took the starting role at 157 pounds in January, had a bittersweet day, finishing 1-1 Sunday. In his first match against Oklahoma State, No. 9 Alex Dieringerhe pinned him only about two minutes into the match. The way the pin was applied injured Sasfy’s shoulder as well.

“My shoulder’s alright, it just got put in a precarious position,” Sasfy said. “I wasn’t mentally there. When you’re wrestling a team like Oklahoma State, it’s definitely a shocker.”

Sasfy said assistant coach Matt Hill told him to relax and not to think too much about his first match or shoulder injury. Sasfy bounced back in his second match and earner a narrow 7-6 win over Charles York of Wisconsin.

No. 32 Caleb Marsh (165) also had a 1-1 weekend, in which he defeated Wisconsin’s Alex Yde 5-2. Marsh didn’t pull off an upset against No. 3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State (a two-time All-American and NCAA runner-up in 2011), but Andrassy praised Marsh’s efforts.

“[Marsh is] a young kid, he’s learning,” Andrassy. “I was happy with his performance. “[Oklahoma State is] a match that actually gave him confidence.”

No. 27 Sam Wheeler (174 pounds) sat out during Kent State’s first match with Oklahoma State, but came out strongly and intensely against his Wisconsin opponent. He sealed a commanding 10-5 victory over Scott Liegel, but said after the match he felt he could have done more.

“I feel like I had more opportunities,” Wheeler said. “I saw that the [double takedowns] were kind of there, but I just got my confidence up and I started taking more shots during the match.”

Casey Newburg (184 pounds), who holds a 32-6 2012-2013 record and has been on a hot streak lately, cooled off when he lost his first bout 9-5 to No. 11 Chris Chionuma. Newburg had opportunities to score during the match, but he came up short.

“[Newburg] just ran out of gas,” Andrassy said. “He hadn’t felt the best, he was up going into that third period and he just ran out of gas, and that’s something we can work on; it’s a conditioning thing.”

Kilgore, who has been the face of Kent State wrestling for years, faced the best competition he has seen since the Virginia Duals in the beginning of January. As usual, Kilgore met his competition head on, refused yield to anyone standing between him and a second NCAA Championship and went out with a bang.

Kilgore first established his reign at 197 pounds with a 12-3 major decision over No. 9 Black Rosholt of Oklahoma State. Afterward, Kilgore set his sights on No. 18 Jackson Hein of Wisconsin. Kilgore pinned him at 4:56 in the match.

“It’s a great feeling,” Kilgore said about winning his last two matches inside the M.A.C. Center. “It was really exciting because of the environment we had. We had a huge crowd out there fans were riled up. They cam here looking for some good matches and I think they found some.”

Kilgore’s pin Sunday was his 17th of the season. This feat currently leads the nation and now ties Jim Swetter’s single-season record for pins. Kilgore broke the school’s career record for pins and recently raised his total to 49.

The Flashes’ career-victory leader, at 170, extended his NCAA winning streak to 54. The 2011 MAC Wrestler of the Year also carries a 64-match winning streak in dual meets.

Kilgore is now 35-0 on the season, leaving everyone to wonder if there is any wrestler out there that can tack a “1” on Kilgore’s loss column any time soon. Andrassy called Kilgore “The greatest athlete ever at Kent State in the history of the school.” It’s a bold statement, but it may very well be true.

Looking Ahead

The Kent State Golden Flashes will take a few weeks off from competing and will return to action March 10 for the MAC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].