Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore wins Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Senior wrestler Dustin Kilgore. Photo by Sam Verbulecz.

Senior wrestler Dustin Kilgore. Photo by Sam Verbulecz.

Richie Mulhall

Fifth-year senior and 197-pounder Dustin Kilgore won his fourth tournament of the season Saturday, going 5-0 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Kilgore faced some of his toughest competition yet this season in Las Vegas. Kilgore only won his final match 5-4 against Wyoming’s Alfonso Hernandez, but head coach Jim Andrassy said the match was not as close as the score. Kilgore gave up a takedown and did not take advantage of scoring opportunities.

“Dustin made a few mistakes early in the match,” Andrassy said. “He kinda let the guy just hang in there. I think this is one of those matches that will actually help Dustin in his process this year. He could use this as motivation because guys are trying to catch him.”

Andrassy said Kilgore was feeling sick and was not himself this weekend, but he grinded it out and still figured out ways to win.

“You have to be able to wrestle when you’re not feelin’ your best, and that’s something Dustin does pretty well, so he did a good job,” Andrassy said. “I’m proud of the way he competed.”

After this weekend, Kilgore improves his season record to a perfect 15-0. He has six pins and four major decisions so far this season.

Fifth-year senior Casey Newburg (184 lbs.) put up a 5-2 record on Friday and Saturday to earn a fifth-place finish and boost his season record to 17-2.

“I wrestled a lot of tough matches and it was a long weekend,” Newburg said. “I wasn’t happy. I want to win every match, but it’s one of the toughest tournaments in the country, and I think I gave a pretty good performance and that’s gotta improve from here and move forward.”

Newburg defeated Navy’s Mason Bailey 6-4 in his fifth-place match. He said he felt good about doing so well in one of the top tournaments in the nation.

“Both the guys I lost to were top 10 guys in the country,” Newburg said. “Those are matches I just have to build off of and look to improve and just build from this tournament.”

Sophomore Caleb Marsh went 3-2 in the 165-pound division, but fell short of earning a podium spot.

Andrassy said the rest of his team didn’t do a very good job and had a disappointing tournament. Four Golden Flashes went 1-2, while the remaining three finished 0-2.

“These guys need to step up,” Andrassy said. “At the end of the day, it’s them that’s out there, it’s not us that’s out there. It’s not a team thing. It’s once you get out there, you gotta take care of what you’re doing in practice. As coaches, we need to make sure we’re doing a better job of coaching them I guess, but we all need to do better.”

The No. 19 ranked Golden Flashes will return to action on Friday, Dec. 14. They will visit Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in their first dual meet of the season.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].