Wrestling team makes strong showing in opening weekend

AJ Atkinson

The Kent State wrestling team showed its strength this weekend as the Flashes split against Iowa State and Chattanooga and had a place-winner in seven of the ten weight classes at the Hokie Open in Virginia.

Junior Dustin Kilgore stormed through his new weight-class and found himself against Iowa State’s Jerome Ward for the championship. Kilgore finished off Ward, 10-4.

Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said he worried Kilgore, who wrestled last season at 184, would not be big enough for the 197-weight class.

“There’s no doubt he’s big enough and strong enough to handle the weight class,” Andrassy said.

Kent State freshman Tyler Small and senior Matt Cathell both finished in third place in the Hokie Open.

Andrassy was pleased with Small and said Small could have awarded himself more opportunities after his performance.

“Tyler Small wrestled really, really well,” Andrassy said. “He ended up taking third in a pretty tough weight class. He just competed real hard today, and that’s something we need to see.”

The Flashes won their first match of the season Saturday afternoon against Chattanooga 24-12.

The match began with the heavyweights junior Brendan Barlow and the Moc’s Matt Lettner. Barlow defeated Lettner 5-2 to put Kent State ahead.

The following match between Kent State’s junior Nic Bedelyon and Prescott Garner, the same match the Mocs named “the marquee match of the night,” was not so close. Bedelyon beat Garner with a 15-5 major decision.

Kent State sophomore Sean Collins and junior Marcel Clopton picked up their first wins of the season as they won both of their matches. The Flashes’ winning streak ended in the 157-weight class, as sophomore Mallie Shuster fell to Josh Condon 3-1 in overtime.

The Flashes turned the momentum back around, as junior Ross Tice and freshman Brandonn Johnson won their matches. Johnson scored a 21-10 major decision against his opponent.

Junior Dustin Kilgore won the final match in a major decision against Niko Brown, 14-4.

Kent State took a short break before returning to the mat later that afternoon to face Iowa State. The Flashes fell to the 25th-ranked Cyclones, 23-19.

Again, the heavyweights started the match. Cyclones’ heavyweight Kyle Simonson began the match by pinning Kent State’s 16th-ranked heavyweight Barlow in the third period for an early 6-0 Cyclone lead.

“Brendan just didn’t attack and kept his guy in the match,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “It was 1-1 late in the match. Their guy got in on a shot and instead of giving up the two, (Brendan) tried to scramble and got put on his back.”

Bedelyon tied the match just 47 seconds later for Kent State by pinning Patrick Hunter.

“I told him we needed a pin from him, and Nic did a great job of taking his guy down and putting him in a cradle,” Andrassy said.

The Flashes lost the next three matches, as Collins, sophomore Chase Skonieczny, and junior Marcel Clopton all lost to their opponents.

Collins and Chase Skonieczny dropped the next two matches and Kent State fell behind 12-6.

Senior Matt Cathell showed his experience in the 157-weight class, as he put Kent State back into the match by pinning Trent Weatherman in the third period.

However, Iowa State regained its lead in the next two matches. Iowa State Chris Spangler (165) forced Flashes junior Ross Tice to surrender in overtime, and senior Chris Estep fell to the Cyclones’ All-American Jon Reader.

“Ross was up by three points late in the third and he’s usually a smart wrestler in those situations,” Andrassy said. “That was the match I was most disappointed in.”

Sophomore Casey Newburg and junior Dustin Kilgore both scored major decisions for Kent State in the final two matches. Newburg topped Tyler Christensen 8-2 in the 184-weight class, and Kilgore took down Phillip Hawes, 13-2.

However, Newburg and Kilgore’s efforts did not overcome Iowa State’s 23 points to Kent State’s 19.

“We need to keep working hard and keep getting better,” Andrassy said. “There’s no magic potion, no pep talk. It’s getting in there and working hard and doing anything you can to getting better. We’re looking forward to moving forward and trying to get some upsets next week.”

You can contact AJ Atkinson at [email protected].