Wrestling team takes no bull from Buffalo

Caleb Raubenolt

Nationally ranked wrestlers continue recent dominance

Before the Kent State wrestling team took its first steps on the mat this season, the Flashes knew their lineup’s strengths would outweigh its weaknesses enough to compete for the Mid-American Conference championship.

Of the 10-man starting roster, the No. 16 Flashes (10-4, 2-0 MAC) feature six nationally ranked wrestlers: sophomore Nic Bedelyon (No. 16, 125 pounds); junior Danny Mitcheff (No. 16, 133); senior Drew Lashaway (No. 16, 141); redshirt freshman Dustin Kilgore (No. 5, 184); senior Eric Chine (No. 27, 197); and senior Jermail Porter (No. 3, 285).

In the Flashes’ rout of Buffalo 31-7 Saturday evening at Alumni Arena, all six wrestlers were victorious, with Mitcheff and Porter recording pins and Kilgore winning by major decision. The six have combined for a 17-1 record in their team’s last three meets.

Although Kent State’s middleweights have shown strides in improving lately, they couldn’t fulfill the team’s desired shutout, giving up seven points to the Bulls with losses at 149 and 174 pounds.

Narrow back-to-back victories by freshman Ross Tice and junior Obie Simpson allowed Kent State’s middleweights to split the matches, winning two of four.

“I think some of our guys in the middle weights are doing better than (they were) at the beginning of the year,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “We are getting better, but we have to continue working. Some of these matches are real hard because teams do not necessarily come out and wrestle us, so we have to go out there and create all the action.”

Such was the case in Simpson’s match against Buffalo’s Ron Majerus.

Trailing 3-2 with 10 seconds remaining in the 165-pound match’s final period, Simpson desperately shot at Majerus, scored a takedown and won 4-3.

“I knew I had to shoot and keep wrestling,” Simpson said. “He really wasn’t too much of an offensive type of wrestler.

“I found out later on, after the match, a lot of my teammates were saying that’s what type of team they are; they’re a defensive type of team. If I would have known that before, I would have tried to push the pace earlier in the match.”

Simpson’s win gave him his second straight 1-point victory, as he defeated Pittsburgh’s 18-ranked Ethan Headlee 6-5 last Saturday.

“This is crunch time,” Simpson said. “Coach emphasizes that. We’ve only got a few (meets) left, and every match is only seven minutes. (We need to) take it one match at a time and that’s what I’ve been doing – focusing on one match at a time.”

Kent State will host Ohio (7-6-1, 2-0 MAC) at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the M.A.C. Center. The duel will be the final home meet of the season, showcasing six of the Flashes seniors’ last matches at Kent State.

Contact sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].