Kent State to face No. 1 Oklahoma State at Mat Mayhem Sunday


Kent State defeated Clarion 26 to 10 at the match on Jan. 20 in the MACC. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Richie Mulhall

The Matches

All mayhem will be unleashed Sunday, as the Kent State Golden Flashes (9-5, 4-1 MAC) gear up to face No. 1 Oklahoma State (13-0) in the first round of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Regional — aka Mat Mayhem — at the M.A.C. Center.

While the Golden Flashes face Oklahoma State, No. 18 Wisconsin (7-6) will square off against No. 24 Northern Iowa (8-4). The winners of the first two duals will then battle it out to earn a spot in Minnesota at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championship.

The winner of the Kent State region will go to Minnesota’s William Arena to face No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Illinois, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 2 Iowa and the three winners of the other three regions besides Kent State (Cornell, Missouri and Oregon State regions).

It’s not too often that the No.1 wrestling team comes to the M.A.C. Center, and KSU wrestling head coach Jim Andrassy said he is excited about the match and hopes to have a good crowd to come out and support the team.

“It’s gonna be a great event,” Andrassy said. “I was hoping people could come out and support us, the weather’s good, there’s no football going on. Hopefully we’ll get a great turnout and people will come out and support Kent State wrestling.”

The Wrestlers

Because Kent State is going one-on-one with the best team in the country, KSU wrestlers will have to step up their game in order to get a shot to go to Minnesota Feb. 22-23.

At 125 pounds and 184 respectively, fifth-year seniors No. 29 Stevie Mitcheff and No. 9 Casey Newburg (rankings according to NCAA Rating Percentage Index) are coming off 2-0 weekends. Mitcheff improved his record to 24-10 after a 10-2 major decision victory in Edinboro. Newburg boosted his season record to 31-5 with a 10-0 shutout and major decision versus Edinboro.

Sophomore Caleb Marsh, 165 pounds, and redshirt freshman and No. 20 Sam Wheeler, 174 pounds, are also coming off 2-0 weekends after the Edinboro and Cleveland State matches last weekend.

At 197 pounds, fifth-year senior and No. 1 Dustin Kilgore is coming off a forfeit victory against Cleveland State and a 16-1 technical fall win over his Edinboro opponent.

Stuck at 16 pins on the season, Kilgore is still chasing Jim Swetter’s Kent State record for most pins in a single season at 17. Kilgore already holds Kent State’s career record for pins with 48 pins and 168 victories.

Ranked No. 31 in the nation by the NCAA RPI rankings, fifth-year senior Keith Witt is coming off a 1-1 weekend. He lost a close 4-2 bout last Sunday against a ranked opponent from Edinboro.

During the Edinboro match, a part of Witt’s tooth broke off, but he kept fighting and battling in the match to only lose by two points. Last week, Andrassy praised Witt’s heart and wished everyone would have wrestled like Witt last week in the close 20-19 loss against Edinboro.

“I heard he got his teeth all capped and he’s ready to go,” Andrassy said.

Sunday’s Mat Mayhem match is set to begin at 1 p.m. Regional championship and third place duals are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. A tape delay broadcast of the event can be seen on Fox College Sports and locally on Cable 9.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].