KSU wrestlers hope to defeat Central Michigan to win MAC


Junior Marcel Clopton architecture major wrestles his opponent from his back during Friday’s meet against Eastern Michigan. Kent wins 30-3. Photo by Megan Galehouse.

A.J. Atkinson

The Kent State wrestlers travel to Central Michigan this weekend in hopes of claiming its second Mid-American Conference Championship in three years.

“The day we can beat (Central Michigan) two out of the three years, that’s when we know we’re a legit program,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “I said years ago, ‘The day we overcome Central is the day we’re a top 12 to top 18 in the country.’ If we beat them this week, I think we may go into the top 10.”

Beating Central Michigan will not be an easy task.

The Chippewas have won 12 of the last 13 duals against the Flashes. Andrassy said for the team to beat Central Michigan, they must wrestle like they did against Ohio last weekend, when they won 30-6.

“We need to be on top of our game,” Andrassy said. “(Central Michigan) fights positions really hard. They don’t give up easy points. Not that they’re defensive, but you’re going to fight for every point you score.”

Unlike Ohio, Andrassy said the Flashes do not match up well against Central Michigan. He said the 141, 149 and 165 lb-classes are all toss-ups.

Sophomore Chase Skonieczny (17-16) matches up against Central Michigan freshman Scott Mattingly (14-21) in the 141 lb-class. Although Andrassy said that on paper this looks like a match in Kent State’s favor, he cannot rely on it for a win.

At 149, Kent State’s No. 31 junior Marcel Clopton faces Central Michigan’s No. 28 Donnie Corby. Corby holds a 2-0 career record against Clopton (19-11).

Clopton said he is not thinking back to either match.

“My freshman year (when I faced him), I was real undersized,” Clopton said. “When I wrestled him earlier this year, it was one of our first tournaments. I wrestled him right off the bat after weighing in, so I was out of shape.”

Clopton said his strategy is to stay in the middle of the mat and to avoid Corby’s style of pushing him off the mat.

“I kind of have trouble with pushers because I get hit with a lot of stallings,” Clopton said. “I get pushed out a lot. I think if I stay in the center and get a takedown, I’ll win the match easily.”

The 165 lb-class depends on Central Michigan’s Mike Miller’s health. The senior is ranked No. 19 in the country, but has been out for weeks with an injury.

Andrassy said junior Ross Tice may find success against Miller since Miller has been out for so long.

The heavyweights appear to be the most evenly matched opponents.

No. 14 junior Brendan Barlow (20-9) faces the nation’s second-best heavyweight wrestler, Jarod Trice (21-3). The two split matches against each other with both matches going into double overtime.

“I would say we have similar styles, similar weight and similar height,” Barlow said. “It’s just a clash. Whoever’s going to get a takedown is going to win the match.”

Andrassy said other than a match-time decision with freshman Brandonn Johnson, he plans to wrestle all of his starters. Because of a high ankle injury, Johnson did not practice Tuesday, but did practice Thursday.

Johnson told Andrassy his ankle was sore but did not hurt.

“Hopefully the soreness will go down as he continues to practice,” Andrassy said.

Andrassy said he would still take backups senior Sli Bostelman at 165, heavyweight senior Joe Tymoszczuk and 157 sophomore Mallie Shuster just in case they are needed.

The match begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Central Michigan.

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