Kent State wrestlers ready for big Michigan State Open Tournament


149 lb. Freshman Ian Miller takes down his Central Michigan opponent during the meet on Jan. 29. Kent State beat Central Michigan 22-13 to remain unbeaten in the Mid-American Conference. Photo by COTY GIANNELLI.

Richie Mulhall

The Kent State Flashes will wrestle in the Michigan State Open Tournament, which is expected to host more than 500 competing wrestlers Sunday in Lansing, Mich.

The Flashes, ranked in a three-way tie for No. 18 in the nation by Intermat, are looking to keep improving and building momentum after their second-place finish to the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes in last Sunday’s Buffalo Invitational.

“Right now we’re in training mode,” head coach Jim Andrassy said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re competing against or when we’re competing. These events are just to get us ready for January, December, March-type things.”

A number of Kent State wrestlers did exceptionally well last weekend, including fifth-year seniors Dustin Kilgore (197 lbs.) and Casey Newburg (184 lbs.), who both placed first in their respective weight classes.

Fifth-year senior Stevie Mitcheff (125 lbs.), who is now back down to wrestling in his natural weight class, took third place last Sunday with at 3-1 record. To prepare for this weekend, Mitcheff said he has been working on hand fighting, setting up his offense and taking more shots.

“In the first tournament, I was a little nervous and tentative,” Mitcheff said. “[I’m] just opening up more in the room so that it’ll carry on to the tournament.”

Redshirt freshman Nick Carr (149 lbs.), who went 4-1 Sunday and finished in third place, also said there are a few adjustments he needs to make before this upcoming tournament. He’s been working on hand fighting, angles, being more aggressive as soon as the match starts and touching up on his finishes.

Because this past weekend was Carr’s first time making weight, he is satisfied with how he has performed so far.

“My coaches are giving me everything I need,” Carr said. “They’re setting me up for success.”

Andrassy was happy with the toughness and conditioning the team showed last weekend. Going into the Michigan State tournament, he said the team needs to improve its defense and reaction shots, be more active and be less nervous.

“I don’t think we’re training for this event,” Andrassy said. “I think you train through this event with the idea that you’re guys are gonna get experience. It also gives us another step to see where we’re at. We’re really gonna see how guys react to us in two weeks back-to-back.”

Andrassy said all 36 Kent State wrestlers will travel to Michigan for the tournament. Twenty wrestlers will wrestle as members of the team, while the other 16 will wrestle unattached.

Andrassy said the Michigan State Open Tournament is one of the largest open tournaments in the country. Kent State will face a number of teams, including Michigan State, Michigan, Central Michigan, Ohio, Purdue and Clarion, to name a few.

The tournament is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].