Four Kent State champions help Golden Flashes edge Naval Academy to claim Navy Classic Title

Richie Mulhall

In a tournament that went down to the wire, the No. 21 ranked Kent State wrestling team narrowly defeated Navy 115.5 to 109.5 to win the 35th annual Navy Classic this Saturday inside the Wesley Brown Field House.

Out of the nine teams participating in the tournament on Saturday, the Golden Flashes were favored to win the tournament. Four Kent State wrestlers took home titles in their respective weight classes, including three fifth-year seniors: Dustin Kilgore (197 lbs.), Casey Newburg (184 lbs.) and Stevie Mitcheff (125 lbs.).

“We’ve always competed pretty well in the third week of our season,” head coach Jim Andrassy said. “We don’t have the depth that a lot of these other teams, these big-time programs have, so we’re just trying to work into our season.”

Nationally ranked No. 1 in the 197-lb. division, Kilgore gave the team a big boost by scoring pins in all three of his matches. Kilgore is currently 10-0 and remains undefeated this season. He has won his last 30 NCAA matches.

Newburg went 4-0 on Saturday to seal yet another a championship victory. Newburg has a perfect 12-0 record so far this season and is currently ranked No.13 in the 184-lb. division, according to Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling Insider Magazine.

Mitcheff was also undefeated Saturday, capping off the day with a solid 4-0 record to claim the championship in the 125-lb. division.

“I felt that in the third week I wrestled probably my best, and I scored the most points, so it felt good,” Mitcheff said.

The fourth Golden Flash to win a title at the Navy Classic was sophomore Caleb Marsh (165 lbs.). Marsh missed the first two tournaments this season due to injury, but he came back strongly this weekend. He finished the day with a 4-0 record.

“It felt good,” Marsh said. “It helped with my confidence a little bit. [I’ll] probably just keep trying to just get in better shape so I can wrestle harder for longer periods of time and just be in shape so I get used to longer tournaments.”

Redshirt freshman Nick Carr (149 lbs.) put in another solid performance, placing second in his weight class with a 3-1 record. Carr is now 12-3 this season and is currently ranked No. 4 in the MAC rankings.

Redshirt freshman Sam Wheeler (174 lbs.), who is currently ranked No. 4 in the MAC, placed second. Wheeler went 4-1 and continues to improve week after week.

“Our guys looked a lot better today,” Andrassy said. “The competition wasn’t as fierce as it has been, so it’s been a good weekend for us. I was proud of the way they wrestled.”

Other than Navy, no other team in Saturday’s tournament was even close to Kent State’s team score. The closest team after Navy was the Citadel with only 69.5 points.

The Golden Flashes hope to carry this weekend’s success with them when they travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The tournament is a two-day event on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The team has two weeks to work hard and prepare themselves for the tournament.

“Going into Vegas, I know there’s gonna be a tough tournament,” Mitcheff said. “There’s going be a lot of tough teams there.”

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].