After crushing Ohio and Eastern Michigan, wrestlers clinch share of MAC title

Alex Atkinson

TV2 interviews Dolph Ziggler

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The Kent State wrestling team earned a share of the Mid-American Conference regular season title this weekend with a great deal of help from an unlikely source: their reserves.

The Flashes clinched a share of the championship with a victory over Eastern Michigan Sunday, which left them perfect on the weekend after taking down Ohio on Friday.

Kent State coach Jim Andrassy credits the whole team for clinching a share of the title.

“We have a pretty good team, and that just makes our starters better because the backups are able to push (the starters) and make them better,” Andrassy said.

Not only do the backups play an important role preparing the starters for the weekend action, three of them were in action for the team’s 30-3 win over Eastern Michigan Sunday afternoon.

Former KSU Wrestler returns, draws big crowd

Minutes before the Friday’s Kent State vs. Ohio University wrestling match, A.J. Atkinson grabbed WWE wrestler Dolph Ziggler for a short interview.

When you wrestled here at Kent State, Jim Andrassy was the assistant. Could you have ever seen goofy Andrassy leading a team ranked 15th in the nation?

Yeah, I was able to see his influence when he was leaving. He was a great assistant coach, and I believe my senior year was the last year Romano was the head coach. So they were already transitioning. They were looking at going with Jimmy or somebody else. They picked Jimmy and obviously he was the right choice. I’ve heard nothing, nothing but great stuff since he’s taken over.

When did you get here? Were you able to visit your favorite places?

Late last night I got here. Not so much on the campus, but I got to wonder off campus. When I was here, Robin Hood used to be really fun to go to, the Chipotle was still here. I love that place. I checked out what used to be Glory Days, now Water Street Tavern. Good to see a bunch of people out having a good time.

With nights like this, do you ever wish you could turn off the spotlight and enjoy a wrestling match?

Sometimes you think that way, but I’m more than happy to have a little bit of spotlight and transition it over to Kent State wrestling and give them a little more recognition to the great team that they have. I’m having the best time of my life doing what I love.

Backup sophomore Mallie Shuster filled in at 157 for senior Matt Cathell, who was out because of illness. Shuster (7-6) won his match 6-3 over Eastern Michigan’s Lester France.

At 174, senior Sli Bostelman substituted for freshman Brandonn Johnson, who was out with an ankle injury. Bostelman (7-9) lost 2-0 to the Eagles’ Chris Eggert.

Senior backup heavyweight Joe Tymoszczuk improved his dual record to 6-0 by defeating Eastern Michigan’s Wes Schroeder, 3-1.

Andrassy said his team did enough to win, but—with the exception of junior Dustin Kilgore—did not like how sluggish the team was against Eastern Michigan. Junior Nic Bedelyon, who relied on during a seven-point third period comeback to beat Jared Germaine 12-8 at 125.

“We had a tough match against (Ohio), and then coming back to make weight two days later is hard,” Bedelyon said.

The short rest did not appear to affect Kilgore. He finished his match against Eastern Michigan’s Travis Stanbach with a pin in 17 seconds.

Sunday’s win extended the Flashes’ win streak against Eastern Michigan to 27 consecutive dual matches.

World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Dolph Ziggler’s special appearance Friday drew a large, vocal crowd that coached Kent State in its 30-6 victory over rival Ohio University.

Andrassy said the Bobcats still remain a rival even if they have won the last seven matches.

“It hasn’t been much of a rivalry when you beat them the way we did,” Andrassy said. “Our guys came in and we wrestled about as good as we could wrestle.”

Bedelyon woke the large crowd with the first period pin of Gabriel Ramos, which gave the Flashes an early 6-0 lead.

“Bedelyon’s our igniter,” Andrassy said. “He got the crowd into it. Gets things real exciting. For him to go out there and do what he did in the first period is just… he’s one of those guys who wants to be out in front of a big crowd and perform.”

Andrassy said he and all of his guys thrive on the large crowd, and wish it were something they would see every home match.

Dustin Kilgore put on a show against the former MAC Champion at 197, Bobcat Erik Schuth. Kilgore pinned Schuth just 4:50 into the match.

“For Dustin to go out and take the 11th ranked kid and get him so tired that he can’t function—the kid just rolled over because he had nothing left,” Andrassy said. “That was very impressive.”

The Flashes finish their regular season at 2 p.m. Sunday at Central Michigan.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].