Wrestling goes to the MAC

Caleb Raubenolt

Flashes seek to defend their conference regular-season championship

Arms raised atop the center of a huddle, Kent State coach Jim Andrassy led his team in a chant to end Wednesday’s practice: “One, two, three – MAC champs!”

For the second time this season, the Flashes find themselves pursuing a Mid-American Conference championship. Two weeks after defeating No. 10 Central Michigan for the regular season MAC title, Kent State will look to defend its crown by winning the conference tournament tomorrow and Sunday at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Currently, the Flashes have six wrestlers ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, and Andrassy said if the team can have six or seven champions, it could win the tournament.

“I think we have the position to go in there and win six weight classes,” Andrassy said.

“Plus, I don’t think any of the other four guys are out of it,” he added, regarding senior Clint Sponseller, redshirt freshman Ross Tice, junior Obie Simpson and sophomore Chris Estep. “They’re all working hard; they’re doing the right things and (for) those four guys, it’s all about just going in there and having an upset.”


Sophomore Nic Bedelyon

125 pounds (23-7, 5-0 Mid-American Conference)

Bedelyon avenged a loss by fall to Central Michigan’s 13th-ranked Scotti Sentes earlier this season by beating Sentes 9-3 in the Flashes’ final meet of the season.

Now, Bedelyon will attempt to defend his MAC title from last season, which he won by fall over Eastern Michigan’s Andrew Novak.

“He wrestles his best at these stages,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said of No. 20 Bedelyon. “If he wrestles like he did against (Sentes) the (second) time, I don’t care if Sentes is wrestling his best – I think Nic will win.”

Junior Danny Mitcheff

133 pounds (21-8, 4-1)

Last year, Mitcheff fell one match shy of claiming a MAC title, taking second place, but he still qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Despite his loss to Northern Illinois’ Tristen DeShazer by fall on Jan. 24, Andrassy said he believes No. 16 Mitcheff is determined this year.

“He’s as ready as anyone,” Andrassy said. “Fundamentally and skill-wise, there’s not a better guy on the team- or the conference- right now than him.”

Senior Drew Lashaway

141 pounds (26-5, 4-0)

Lashaway comes into his final MAC championship on a six-match winning streak.

Last year, Lashaway fell 8-6 in the championship match, claiming second place and qualifying for the national tournament.

“His style of wrestling is how I’d like everyone to wrestle,” Andrassy said of No. 11 Lashaway. “He’s our team leader. He’s the guy I lean on as far as getting things across to the other members of the team. I need him to win, (and) he needs to win.”

Redshirt freshman Dustin Kilgore

184 pounds (28-3, 5-0)

Kilgore, ranked fifth in the country in his weight class, enters the tournament on a 12-match win streak. His three losses this season came to the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 wrestlers in the nation in his weight class.

“It’s just another tournament for him,” Andrassy said. “Dustin just goes out and wrestles. He’s a simpleton.”

In the Flashes’ five conference meets, Kilgore outscored his opponents by a combined 26 points and won one match by fall.

“I think (he) could have a bad day and still win pretty easily,” Andrassy said. “He’s that good.”

Senior Eric Chine

197 pounds (20-9, 5-0)

Last year, Chine came in third place at the MAC tournament while wrestling at 184 pounds.

This year, Chine has wrestled in the most overtime matches for the Flashes, including a 2-1 victory over Ohio’s Chris Iammarino on Feb. 13.

“He just has to go out and hit his offensive attacks and not be afraid to get in bad positions,” Andrassy said. “He scrambles as good as anyone on our team; he’s as strong as anyone on our team. If he goes out and wrestles hard for seven minutes, there’s no one in the MAC that can touch him.”

Senior Jermail Porter

285 pounds (26-1, 5-0)

Porter enters this year’s tournament as the MAC’s highest-ranked wrestler at fourth place in the nation after a dominant season, including a 24-match winning streak.

Now Porter is looking for his first conference title, as he was the runner-up in his three previous MAC Championships.

“The (Central Michigan) guy will be his only good match,” Andrassy said, referring to Jarod Trice, who Porter defeated 5-3 on Feb. 19. “The one thing that I don’t like is that when (Porter) wrestled him the first time, he made the kid believe that he still has an opportunity to win.”