Kent State wrestlers head to Eastern Michigan and Buffalo


Freshman Brandon Taylor pins down his opponent during the match against Clarion in the MAC center on Jan. 20. The team will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. to wrestle against Eastern Michigan this weekend. Photo by Chloe Hackathorn.

Richie Mulhall

With only two Mid-American Conference duals left in the 2012-13 schedule, the Kent State wrestling team is back on the road this weekend as it travels to Ypsilanti, Mich. Friday to face MAC opponent Eastern Michigan, and Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday to take on Buffalo.

Ranked No. 20 by InterMat, the Flashes (6-4, 2-1 MAC) are coming off a devastating 27-8 loss to Central Michigan and hope to bounce back with victories over Eastern Michigan (7-10, 1-2 MAC) and Buffalo (1-8, 1-2 MAC) this weekend.

Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said he has confidence that his team will do well against Eastern Michigan.

“We should be able to go in there and take care of business,” Andrassy said.

Andrassy said the Buffalo match may be challenging, but he is confident that his team will pull through to victory.

“Buffalo will be a challenge because of the way things match up,” Andrassy said. “At the same sense, I don’t believe they’re as good a team as we are. We’re pretty healthy. Our guys are ready to go, so hopefully we’ll be able to secure wins in both places.”

Fifth-year seniors Stevie Mitcheff (125 pounds), Casey Newburg (184 pounds) and Keith Witt (285 pounds) are all coming off close losses to Central Michigan. The three Flashes didn’t allow any takedowns, but all dropped close bouts against Top 10 opponents.

Mitcheff and Newburg each allowed third period escapes in 1-0 losses, while Witt allowed an escape and riding time in his 2-0 loss.

Mitcheff, who is 21-10 and 6-4 in duals thus far this season, is right on the edge of getting into the NCAA National Tournament at the end of the season, so picking up two wins this weekend will be crucial for him.

Newburg, who is ranked No. 15 and 27-5 this season, is looking to continue to move up in the rankings after this weekend. He is slated to take on redshirt junior Phillip Joseph of Eastern Michigan Friday. Joseph is 3-0 this season in MAC action, but Newburg is not too far behind Joseph’s record with a 2-1 MAC record.

Witt is 12-13 this season, but he is only 3-7 in duals and 0-3 in the MAC thus far this season. Along with Mitcheff and Newburg, Witt also hopes to wrestle well going into Ypsilanti and Buffalo.

Redshirt freshman Nick Carr (149 pounds) and sophomore Caleb Marsh (165 pounds) did not wrestle last weekend due to injury. Andrassy hopes they will be ready to go one of these coming weeks.

Andrassy said Carr is out with bursitis in his knee, while Marsh is dealing with a pectoral injury. It is still unclear when these two wrestlers will return to the mat.

“The idea is to get [Carr] on the mat one of these matches,” Andrassy said. “I don’t know which one yet — we’ll see how he feels, but the object is to get him on the mat.”

Redshirt freshman Sam Wheeler (174 pounds) is coming off a 5-2 win against Central Michigan. Other than fifth-year senior Dustin Kilgore (197 pounds), Wheeler was the only Flash to taste victory last weekend against Central Michigan.

Kilgore, who broke a Kent State record with his 47th career pin last weekend, is 30-0 on the season with 15 pins. He is two pins shy of breaking Kent State’s single-season pins record set by Jim Swetter.

The last eight times Kilgore has stepped on the mat, his opponent never even saw the third period. With the highest pound-for-pound rating of any wrestler in the country right now, Eastern Michigan and Buffalo are going to have their hands full, to say the least.

Friday’s action against Eastern Michigan at Bowen Field House will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday’s match with Buffalo will begin at 1 p.m. at Alumni Arena.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].