Wrestling clinches MAC regular season title with two weekend wins


Brandonn Johnson, junior, wrestles Phillip Joseph, sophomore, at the match against Eastern Michigan on Feb. 5. The Flashes won 28-10. Photo by Nancy Urchak.

Tim Dorst

One of the wrestling team’s biggest goals this season was to win the Mid-American Conference regular season title. With two meet wins Friday and Sunday, that goal was accomplished in decisive fashion.

The Flashes (12-4, 5-0 MAC) defeated Buffalo 25-9 on Friday night and Eastern Michigan 28-10 on Sunday afternoon to clinch the MAC regular season title outright for the second time in the last three years. They also won a share of the title last year.

“It’s always great to be MAC champions,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “It’s a goal we have every year, but really it’s only step one of what we want to accomplish. Now, we can start looking forward.”

Senior Nic Bedelyon went 2-0 on the weekend, including a pin against EMU’s Jared Germaine on Senior Day. Bedelyon, ranked No. 1 in the MAC at the 125-pound weight class, said that a big part of his performance is how much he believes in his own abilities.

“I believe in myself,” Bedelyon said. “The biggest thing is believing and I believed that I could come out this weekend and get it done.”

The seniors wrestled at the M.A.C. Center for the last time on Sunday, and they had a very successful day. Senior Ross Tice broke out of his recent slump, winning 13-8 over the Eagles’ Lester France in the 165-weight class. Senior Marcel Clopton at 149 filled in for an injured Ian Miller and went 2-0, with a 3-2 win against Buffalo and a 9-2 win against Eastern Michigan. Senior heavyweight Brendan Barlow had a 2-0 weekend as well, capped off by a 3-2 over EMU’s Wes Schroeder.

Tice said that it felt good to get a win after his recent struggles.

“I believe in myself more,” Tice said. “I believed that I wasn’t going to get tired. I wasn’t stopping in this match I did in other matches. So I’m feeling good.”

Marcel Clopton, a fifth-year senior for the Flashes, said that while he didn’t accomplish everything he strived for this season, he’s glad that he was able to help the team reach its biggest goal.

“Basically, my goal this season was to leave with the MAC title,” Clopton said. “Originally, I wanted to make a run for All-American, but I know that I’m still ranked in the top 30 in the country. Sometimes you lose your spot on the team because someone is better. It happens. I’m glad to still get the win.”

The Flashes won 15 of the 20 total matches in the two weekend meets. Junior Casey Newburg earned two major decision victories in the 184-weight class, and sophomore Tyler Small in the 141-weight class compiled wins of 4-3 and 7-0 on Friday and Sunday respectively. Andrassy said he was impressed by how his team stepped up when necessary.

“I was nervous about Eastern Michigan after Friday,” Andrassy said. “We didn’t wrestle the best against Buffalo, and I know we need to do better on Sunday. But we looked really solid from top to bottom. It was much more impressive than on Friday.”

While the season isn’t over for the Flashes, the seniors reflected on their time with the team over the last few years.

“Coming in as a freshman, I set my goals high,” Bedelyon said. “I wanted to be a national champion, and I know that other guys set their goals high too. You only live once, so why not set your goals as high as you can.”

Barlow also reflected on his team at Kent State.

“I’ve had a great time here,” Barlow said, “I’ve had a great time with the coaches and staff. It’s just been amazing here.”

Andrassy said the wrestlers on this team are some of the best he’s ever coached, both on and off the mat.

“I’m very proud of a lot of the guys on our team,” Andrassy said. “I’m proud of all of the seniors especially. We’ve built good relationships, so when this group of kids leaves, it’s going to be hard. But I hope as a coach that our team can continue to build and get stronger.”

The Flashes will compete in other tournaments before the end of the year, including the National Dual Championship on Feb. 11. Regardless of what happens, the seniors can revel in the fact that they went out on the top of the MAC.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].