Kent wrestling coach focuses on work ethic

Alex Atkinson

Kent State wrestlers Ross Tice and Casey Newburg always had the goal to compete at the Division I level. When Kent State coach Jim Andrassy was the only D-1 coach to offer them scholarships, the choice was easy.

Andrassy said Tice and Newburg did not carry the high school stardom like Dustin Kilgore, Brendan Barlow or Nic Bedelyon, but he knew both wrestlers would be a positive addition to the team.

“I feel that anytime you have a good quality kid, you’re not too worried about their wrestling ability,” Andrassy said. “If they’re willing to work hard, you can make them pretty good.”

Other D-I coaches failed to look at Tice and Newburg’s positive work ethic. Their willingness to work is one of the reasons the two are already starters in their respective junior and senior seasons.

“Both of those guys have done a really, really good job of stepping up to the plate and being Division I starters,” Andrassy said.

Andrassy said he is impressed with these two recruits but still expects them to improve.

“We’re getting the most out of (Tice and Newburg),” Andrassy said. “I think they have a little more in them and will continue to get better.”

Neither Tice nor Newburg expected to start as soon as they did.

“I didn’t think I’d start (my sophomore year),” Tice said. “But after I started, I expected to start every year after that.”

Although wrestling his freshman year at Kent State started out slow, Newburg said he got through it by maintaining a positive attitude and working hard everyday.

“I didn’t know how quickly I was going to get in,” Newburg said. “I know when I got here, I got beat up on pretty bad. I just kept in it and kept going hard everyday and kept a good attitude.”

Andrassy’s recruiting tactic of looking for hard workers instead of always recruiting high school stars appears to be working. Last weekend against Buffalo, Tice sparked a comeback by upsetting the Mid-American Conference’s No. 1 John-Martin Cannon at 165. Two weight classes later at 184, Newburg beat the No. 1 Jimmy Hamel.

“One thing we look for when we start recruiting is good quality kids from good quality families, and that’s what these two kids are.”

Both will be in action at 7 p.m. Feb. 11th at the M.A.C. Center when the Flashes welcome Ohio University.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected]