Senior Brendan Barlow will move on after successful college wrestling career


Senior 285 class Brendan Barlow wrestles Nick Whitenburg, sophomore, at the match against Eastern Michigan on Feb. 5. The Flashes won 28-10. File photo.

Tim Dorst

In the sport of wrestling, there are not many higher levels past college. Some wrestlers, like Dustin Kilgore, attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team after college wrestling. Others pursue a career in professional wrestling companies like World Wrestling Entertainment, but this option is more about entertainment than it is about wrestling.

Because of few alternatives, college wrestlers work extremely hard to achieve success and build reputations for themselves. They know if they work hard enough and win enough, their names will be remembered for years to come.

Senior wrestler Brendan Barlow will no doubt be remembered for his significant success at Kent State.

Like many other grapplers, Barlow has been wrestling nearly his whole life, from second grade up until now.

“My older brother’s middle school football coach suggested that he get into wrestling because it would help his offensive and defensive line skills,” Barlow said. ”So he got into it, and then 13 years later I was born. As soon as I was old enough, they got me into it.”

Barlow attended Westerville High School in Westerville, Ohio. There, he placed in the OHSAA State Championships his final three years, winning a state championship his junior year and finishing as runner-up as a senior.

Barlow came to Kent State in 2007 and was redshirted his freshman year. Since then, he has compiled 115 career wins, including 33 wins in the 2009-10 season and 29 this season. His win total ranks him fifth on Kent State’s all-time list.

Barlow said he has had a great experience at Kent State during these last five years.

“I’m glad I got to come to Kent State,” Barlow said. “I love the coaches, my teammates and everything. I couldn’t have picked a better place. I fit in perfectly here, and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Barlow has watched the program improve and develop into an extremely competitive team. He credits coach Jim Andrassy for the recent success of the team, which is now ranked No. 13 in the nation in the NWCA Coaches poll.

“It’s all in the recruiting,” Barlow said. “[Andrassy]’s completely turned the program around by just deciding the kind of guys he wants to recruit. They may not have been the best high school wrestlers, but it’s the characteristics behind the individual that he looks at the most.”

Andrassy said he sees a lot of good things in Barlow and could not ask for more as a coach.

“He’s a great kid,” Andrassy said. “He always listens to what the coaches say. I’ve never had to talk to him about his grades or anything. He just comes in and does what he’s supposed to do.”

Senior Nic Bedelyon, who also came to Kent in 2007, could not say anything bad about Barlow.

“He’s very outgoing and always joking around,” Bedelyon said. “He’s a hard worker too. He and I have similar goals, so it’s pretty cool knowing someone who’s going after the same things as I am.”

One of Barlow’s major goals is to win as much as possible, and he said winning is really his biggest motivating factor.

“That’s what you do all this for,” Barlow said. “The training is awful. It’s the hardest sport there is to train for, and I can’t express how bad losing is when you train so hard. So when you win a match or overcome something, it’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”

Barlow has certainly done plenty of winning over the years and achieved many of his goals. The last step for Barlow is to compete at the NCAA Championships and to become an All-American and possibly a national champion.

As his wrestling career ends, his new career will begin when he graduates in May with a degree in exercise physiology. However, Barlow said the details of his future are a bit of a mystery.

“I’m probably going to hang up the shoes and retire from wrestling for a pretty long time,” Barlow said. “I’ll move on to a new chapter in my life, head into the job market and see what that’s like.”

Barlow said life is going to feel different away from the mat after doing the same thing since he was a kid.

“It’ll be really sad leaving wrestling behind since that’s all I’ve known for most of my life,” Barlow said. “But life goes on, and you’ve got to make the most of it.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].