Wrestlers claim wins in weekend duals

Rachel Jones

Flashes remain unbeaten in MAC, await No. 6 CMU

The No. 15 Kent State wrestling team finished a weekend of dual matches with two wins, beating Ohio Friday and Eastern Michigan yesterday.

The Flashes (15-3, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) survived a 17-16 thriller against the Bobcats (10-4, 2-1 MAC) that was determined in the last matchup of the meet.

Coach Jim Andrassy said he was excited about the win, but disappointed with how the team wrestled.

“It was one of those matches where (Ohio) came out, and they were ready to go, and we weren’t,” said Andrassy. “There were a lot of matches in there that I wasn’t very happy about, but ultimately, we beat a team with (Brendan Barlow and Tommy Sasfy) out, and anytime you beat a team you’re happy.”

After a 5-1 loss by sophomore Troy Opfer, senior Danny Mitcheff easily handled Ohio’s Michael Fennel by technical fall, 16-0. Mitcheff is currently ranked ninth in the nation at 133 pounds.

Andrassy said Mitcheff is the type of wrestler that he tries to model the wrestling program after.

“On the right day, I feel like he’s good enough to win a national championship,” Andrassy said. “If I had 10 Danny Mitcheffs, my job would be really easy.”

Redshirt freshman Mallie Shuster (157) beat Ohio’s Clay Tucker 2-1 in overtime.

After three close matches already this season, Shuster said he feels like he is improving at wrestling in potentially overtime situations.

“I feel like the biggest thing that I was happy about, from my own personal standpoint, (was) when it was tight, my head stayed in it, I kept plugging away and I wrestled through,” said Shuster.

Probably the biggest moment of the meet came in the final match, when walk-on transfer Joe Tymoszczuk (285) faced off against Ohio heavyweight Andy Hartshorn with Kent State trailing 16-14. With more than a minute of riding time deciding the match, Tymoszczuk outlasted his opponent for an 11-10 victory that kept the Flashes perfect in MAC competition this season.

“I think coach thought I’d go in there and lose, and I know I had a lot of people (were) thinking I would lose,” Tymoszczuk said. “But it was a good thing that I pulled through.”

Tymoszczuk replaced Brendan Barlow this weekend after the heavyweight starter injured his hand.

Andrassy said he was nervous when Tymoszczuk stepped onto the mat because Hartshorn outweighed him by 40 pounds.

“Joe went at him pretty hard, didn’t quit and had a big heart,” Andrassy said. “He did everything and more that we could’ve asked him.”

After a close win Friday, the Flashes dominated Eastern Michigan (10-11-1, 0-4) 30-6 at home yesterday.

“It was much more relaxed (against Eastern Michigan),” Andrassy said. “Our guys wrestled better, I thought. We still have some things we need to continue working on, but they wrestled better as a team.”

Tymoszczuk continued his winning streak with a 7-5 victory. A former Ohio wrestler, Tymoszczuk transferred to Kent State to play football and started wrestling in December. He said he felt pressured Friday to wrestle a former teammate.

“Today, I kind of relaxed a little bit, compared to against OU,” Tymoszczuk said. “There was a lot less pressure coming here.”

The team’s next challenge is to beat conference rival No. 6 Central Michigan at home Feb. 21. The meet will wrap up conference action for both teams, and the winner will be earn the MAC regular season championship.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the MAC regular season, which we have to do (Feb. 21), then to win the MAC championship tournament and take as many guys to nationals and get wins out there,” said Andrassy. “We’re in line to do what we have planned, as far as reaching our goals.”

Contact sports reporter Rachel Jones at [email protected].