Kent State finishes sixth in the two-day Virginia Duals

Richie Mulhall

Ranked No. 20 in the nation by InterMat, the Kent State Golden Flashes placed sixth in the two-day Virginia Duals this weekend, going 1-1 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday inside the Hampton Coliseum.

The Flashes started the Duals nicely with a dominating 44-3 victory over VMI in round one. They dropped their second match Friday to Virginia Tech 26-9 in the quarterfinal.

The team bounced back on Saturday by first topping Arizona State 26-12, and then besting Old Dominion 27-6. The Flashes ended their weekend with a 27-12 loss to Boise State.

“I thought in our first four matches we wrestled, we had some really really good things that happened,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said.

The 3-2 weekend moved the Flashes to 4-3 this season. Andrassy said although the last match of the weekend was disappointing, the team is still progressing.

“Our last match, we didn’t wrestle very well,” Andrassy said. “The inconsistency is still there, but I think we’re getting better. Now we just need to get better in every match, every time we compete.”

Fifth-year senior Dustin Kilgore (197 pounds), who is coming off his fifth tournament title of the season at the prestigious Midlands Championships, won all five of his matches, racking up four pins to accomplish the feat.

The only match that Kilgore did not earn a pin during was his first match Friday, which resulted in a forfeit. None of Kilgore’s opponents even made it to the third period, including No. 8 Jake Meredith of Arizona State.

“I think anyone who’s seen [Kilgore] wrestle knows that he’s the best wrestler in the country in his weight class, and he might be one of the best wrestlers in the country period,” Andrassy said.

After picking up his 11th pin and 27th victory of the 2012-2013 season on Saturday, Kilgore extended his streak to 43 matches. His winning streak dates back to January 2011.

Also coming off a championship win at Lock Haven’s Brute Invitational is fifth-year senior Stevie Mitcheff. This weekend, Stevie went 3-2 at 125 pounds with a pin in his first bout. Mitcheff dominated his first match Friday with a pin after starting the bout 12-0. Mitcheff is now 19-10 this season.

Sophomore Caleb Marsh had pretty good weekend, going 3-2 and scoring a pin in his first match.

Fifth-year senior and 184-pounder Casey Newburg, who was co-champion with redshirt freshman Sam Wheeler at the Brute Invitational, went 4-1 on the weekend with a technical fall.

The only match that Newburg lost this weekend was against No. 11 Jake Swartz of Boise State. The bout was very close, resulting in a 1-0 decision for Swartz.

“I felt I did alright, not as good as I would have liked to,” Newburg said. “I would rather be 5-0. That last match I was a little disappointed in. I really wanted that win, but I mean overall, I felt like it was a decent performance this weekend.”

Ranked No. 16 in the nation by multiple polls, Newburg boosted his record to 24-4 on the season with nine bonus-point victories and four tournament titles. His record of 105 career wins is ranked second against active Kent State wrestlers.

“I feel like I’m improving,” Newburg said. “I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement for the rest of the season. I’m just looking forward to getting back in the wrestling room and work on what I need to work so that I can be ready at the end of the year.”

Since the roster is filled with young wrestlers this season, Andrassy said the team needs to continue to work on its mental toughness.

“We had a lot of young kids on this trip and, over time, these matches wear on you and it’s fatiguing mentally,” Andrassy said.

Like Andrassy, veterans such as Newburg try to help a lot of the younger wrestlers continue to improve and learn from each practice and match.

“When I was a younger guy, I looked up to those juniors and seniors and just watched how they did things and just tried to imitate that,” Newburg said. “I try to be there as much as I can for the younger guys and just try to lead by example as best as I can.”

Kent State returns to the mat for Mid-American Conference competition Friday, when it hosts rival Ohio at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

Richie Mulhall is the wrestling reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].