Kent State wrestlers place third at Virginia Duals

Alex Atkinson

Final score

Kent State finishes 3rd at the Virginia Duals

Game highlights

  • Kent lost 31-7 to Arizona State
  • Kent won 26-16 against Rider University
  • Kent lost 27-15 to Penn State
  • Kent won 18-16 against Lehigh University

With the help of a faster paced style, junior Brendan Barlow led the Kent State wrestlers to a third place finish at the Virginia Duals this weekend.

“We’ve been working real hard with (Barlow) to go out and control the pace of the match and going harder and at a faster pace to wear the bigger guys down,” said Kent State coach Jim Andrassy. “That’s what he did and it worked for him.”

Barlow’s aggressiveness paved the way for wins in three of his four matches at the tournament, including a 10-5 win over Penn State’s fifth ranked Cameron Wade. His one loss came against the number one ranked Lehigh’s Zach Rey, in which Barlow only lost 5-3.

Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said he was impressed with his heavyweight’s performance and hopes it restores Barlow’s confidence.

“Barlow has kind of been up and down this year,” Andrassy said. “This year he started off a bit slow. But this weekend, he just went out and wrestled really, really hard and did a good job as far as controlling his matches and going out and setting his pace to the match.”

With the added confidence, Andrassy said he hopes to see Barlow’s leadership of the team return.

“It’s hard to be a good leader when you lose,” Andrassy said. “I think this will help him get a little bit of his swagger back.”

The Flashes began the tournament with a 31-7 defeat over No. 25 ranked Arizona State and a 26-16 victory over Rider. The following day’s 27-15 loss to Penn State in the Semifinals matched Kent State up with Lehigh, in which the Flashes won 18-16 and were awarded third place.

The 15 points scored against Penn State were the most the Nittany Lions have given up all season.

Andrassy said he liked what he saw out of the rest of the team and believes his wrestlers are more than ready for the Mid-American Conference play that begins Jan. 21.

“Right now I think we’re the favorite team and we just keep getting better,” Andrassy said.

Andrassy believes some wrestlers, like sophomore Brandonn Johnson, will benefit from the competition he will face in the conference compared to the competition he has already seen outside of the conference.

“Johnson has wrestled the number one, two or three ranked guys eight times this year, so he’s wrestled a very challenging schedule,” Andrassy said. “He’s lost a lot of matches but he’s pretty darn good. It’s one of those things where he needs to keep his head up above water because the MAC will be a lot easier for him.”

The Flashes return to action Jan. 15 in the Wendy’s Duals beginning at 12 p.m. in Ashland, Ohio.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].