Wrestlers begin conference matches

Rachel Jones

Conference play begins tonight against NIU

If the Kent State wrestling team wants to repeat as regular season Mid-American Conference champions, the journey starts tonight as the Flashes visit Northern Illinois in their first conference meet of the season.

The No. 17 Flashes (11-3) will take on the Huskies (7-6, 0-1 MAC), looking to extend their MAC winning streak. Coach Jim Andrassy said he has high expectations for this conference season.

“We’re taking an eight-match conference winning streak (into tonight’s meet), and our goal is to get five more wins in a row,” he said.

With just five dual contests remaining in the season, Andrassy said the Flashes are not planning on letting up at this point.

“We’re training like maniacs; we’re training like we always have,” he said. “It’s mid-season, so we’re not going to change anything now.”

While the administration is focused on doing well in the conference, Andrassy said each wrestler has his own individual goals as well. For some wrestlers, tonight’s match could help determine their path for the rest of the season.

Senior Danny Mitcheff (24-2) is currently ranked 10th in the nation at 133 pounds. A victory tonight will give Mitcheff his 122nd career win — second-most in program history.

At 184 pounds, sophomore Dustin Kilgore (25-1) currently holds an eight-match winning streak. Kilgore was 10-0 against MAC opponents last season.

Although the team is fairly young, the wrestlers have recently made some improvements, erasing any previous rookie tendencies.

“Losses are about us lacking intensity and focus,” Andrassy said. “We aren’t making young mistakes anymore.”

Andrassy said regardless of whom the opponent is or whether the team wins or loses, the fate of this match rests on each wrestler’s shoulders.

“We should beat them,” he said. “If you don’t wrestle well, we won’t win.”

Contact sports reporter Rachel Jones at [email protected].