Wrestling receives three-way MAC title after loss to Central Michigan

A.J. Atkinson

With a loss to Central Michigan yesterday, the Kent State wrestlers earn a three-way share of the Mid-American Conference Championship title with Ohio and Central Michigan.

“There’s only five other teams in the MAC, so sharing it with three is like kissing your sister,” said Jim Andrassy, Kent State coach.

Central Michigan took six of the ten matches over Kent State (14-6, 4-1 MAC) to win the dual 20-14. Andrassy said he believes some of his wrestlers, such as 141-pound sophomore Chase Skonieczny, 149-pound junior Marcel Clopton and 165-pound junior Ross Tice, were outfought and did not want to win as badly as their opponents.

“Guys who lost tried something, it didn’t work, and they stopped wrestling,” Andrassy said. “You have to keep working at it, and those three guys didn’t do that.”

Andrassy was especially disappointed with Skonieczny’s 3-2 loss to Scott Mattingly.

“Chase stopped wrestling,” Andrassy said. “(Mattingly)’s a freshman. He isn’t as good a wrestler, but he wanted to win more.”

Junior Nic Bedelyon put the Flashes ahead in the first match with a 9-5 win over Christian Cullina in the 125-weight class.

The Chippewas won the following three matches until senior Matt Cathell broke their streak in the 157-weight class. Cathell helped the Flashes by pulling a 9-1 major decision over Ryan Cubberly to narrow the score 10-7.

After dropping matches at 165 and 174, Kent State’s sophomore Casey Newburg and No. 4 junior Dustin Kilgore won to bring the Flashes within three points of tying the dual with the heavyweights the last to go. Tying the dual against Central Michigan was still enough to claim the MAC Championship title solely for Kent State.

On Thursday, Andrassy said the heavyweight match would be the most evenly matched and would ultimately decide who won. Despite junior Brendan Barlow’s opportunity to tie the dual and win the MAC Championship for Kent State, the No. 2 Jarod Trice held on and won the match 3-1 to give Central Michigan the 20-14 victory and a share of the title.

“Definitely a tall order (to beat) a guy I’ve only beaten in overtime before,” Barlow said. “Immediately after the match, I was thinking that I need to prepare for him when we wrestle again in the MAC Tournament.”

Andrassy said he is also now eying the MAC Tournament in two weeks. He said his confidence in the team has not been shaken with the team’s performance against Central Michigan.

“We have a pretty good tournament team rather than dual meet team,” Andrassy said. “We already won a share of the regular season. Our goal now is to win a team MAC Championship. We just have to wrestle better than we did today.”

The MAC Tournament begins March 5 in DeKalb, Illinois, and wraps up March 6.

Contact A.J.Atkinson at [email protected].