Kent State wrestling team to take on Ohio State Friday night

Richie Mulhall

After competing in four consecutive tournaments to start the season, the Kent State wrestling team will visit the St. John Arena in Columbus to square off against the Ohio State Buckeyes Friday night in their first dual meet of the season.

The Golden Flashes have had a lot of ups and downs this season that head coach Jim Andrassy would like to work on. The team won the Navy Classic earlier in the year, but only had two wrestlers place in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational two weeks.

“I think Vegas was very disappointing,” Andrassy said. “We went back and really hammered on the basics these past two weeks. Just the little things, we’re making sure we do the little things right. There’s some things that just aren’t clicking with our guys yet.”

Despite some disappointment, Andrassy is confident that his guys will bounce back and get things fixed.

“We have a bunch of good, hard-working guys, so we’ll make those corrections,” Andrassy said. “Our guys work hard and they’ll get it fixed. You can’t get detoured just because you have one bad weekend. You just gotta keep on going.”

The two most successful and consistent wrestlers this year for Kent have been 197-pounder Dustin Kilgore and 184-pounder Casey Newburg.

Newburg, who is 17-2 this season, won titles in his first three tournaments and placed 5th in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

Kilgore, who is 15-0 on the year and won titles in all four tournaments in which he’s competed, raised his Kent State record-holding win total to 150 with his first place finish in Vegas two weeks ago. Ten of Kilgore’s 15 wins have been via pin fall or major decision.

“To me, that’s probably the second toughest tournament in the country,” Kilgore said. “It feels good knowing that that was a good tournament. I think the biggest challenge coming up for me will be Midland’s tournament. It’s gonna be a really good test. It’s gonna be really good to see how everything works out and how I compare to other guys in the country when it comes down to the end of the year when it really counts for nationals.”

Kilgore was the MAC wrestler of the week two weeks ago and has extended his collegiate winning streak to 34 wins and. In addition to this impressive streak of win, Kilgore has victories in his last 49 dual meet tournaments.

Kilgore said that he goes into a dual meet with a different mindset than with a tournament.

“I love dual meets a lot more than tournaments,” Kilgore said. “With tournaments, you’re sitting around all day and you kinda lose your energy. The good thing about dual meets is you got the whole team behind you, one at a time, so you’ve got the team rooting for you, cheering you on. It’s nice having that behind you, knowing these guys are supporting you and watching you while you’re out there.”

Despite his incredible undefeated streak, Kilgore said there are still things he needs to work on in order to sustain his spot as the No. 1 197-pounder in the nation.

“There’s always something to work on in wrestling, especially for me,” Kilgore said. “I’m not a very technical wrestler, so for me there’s always something that I can learn. I need to stay on top of learning new things. Working in the room and trying to figure out stuff will really tell me if I’ve made a gain in my wrestling.”

Kent State is ranked No. 19 in the nation by InterMat, while Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine has the Golden Flashes ranked No. 18 in its dual rankings. The team has gone 99-33-1 in dual meets since the 2005-2006 season.

Andrassy said he feels that there are some good matchups against Ohio State this Friday, which may put certain matches in Kent State’s favor. The Golden Flashes will be taking the top guy in each weight class. Each wrestler will wrestle one match to decide the victor in each of the 10 weight classes.

Last season in the M.A.C. Center, the Golden Flashes and Buckeyes each won 5 matches in Ohio State’s 22-15 victory. Kent’s last victory came in 2007 with a 20-18 win in Columbus.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].