Flashes take two weekend meets

Caleb Raubenolt

Flashes thrive vs. Bobcats, survive against Eagles

View photos of the weekend meets.

As the Kent State wrestling team prepared to suit up for its last home meet of the season, the Flashes said they wanted to leave the M.A.C. Center on a high note.

The team did just that, defeating Mid-American Conference rival Ohio 29-6 in Friday’s dual meet, then followed that up with a 21-13 victory at Eastern Michigan yesterday afternoon.

For the four seniors who competed Friday night, it was their last appearance in front of a home crowd – their last time, in senior heavyweight Jermail Porter’s words, “to put on a show.”

With seniors Clint Sponseller, Drew Lashaway, Eric Chine and Porter all winning, the M.A.C. Center faithful wasn’t disappointed.

“To come out and have (four) of our seniors wrestling and (to) see Sponseller win when he hasn’t wrestled in so long, it was good,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “It was good for the people, good for (the seniors) and their parents. It shows that these guys are doing the right thing.”

Sponseller, returning to the mat after an MCL sprain sidelined him for five weeks, opened the meet with a 6-1 decision over Ohio’s Kevin Christensen.

The Flashes dropped two of the four matches between the 157- and 184-pound weight classes, with wins by junior Obie Simpson and redshirt freshman Dustin Kilgore.

It took 24th-ranked Chine two overtime periods to defeat Ohio’s Chris Iammarino 2-1. Following a second-overtime escape, Chine slammed Iammarino to the mat, preventing his opponent from slipping away from his control.

Porter then handled Ohio’s Justin Powell by major decision, 13-2, with several near-fall takedowns in the heavyweight match.

Following wins at 125 and 133 pounds by sophomore Nic Bedelyon and junior Danny Mitcheff, 12th-ranked Lashaway defeated Germane Lindsey 5-2, ending the meet.

“All of us seniors have stuck together for four or five years now,” Lashaway said. “This is our senior year, our last go ’round, and we’re going to make it happen now.”

Yesterday in Ypsilanti, Mich., the Flashes (12-4, 4-0 MAC) continued their run through the MAC by defeating Eastern Michigan.

The Flashes found themselves trailing 6-0 after dropping the first two matches, but Kilgore pinned Eastern Michigan’s Derek Foore, tying the meet 6-6.

With consecutive wins by Chine, Porter, Bedelyon and Mitcheff, the Flashes took an 18-6 lead. The Eagles got wins at 141 and 149 pounds, but freshman Ross Tice’s 8-6 decision over Joshua Moulton ended the meet.

“Eastern Michigan fought us real tough,” Andrassy said. “I think our guys were a little flat and we didn’t wrestle really well, but we ended up getting the win.”

The victory set up a matchup with No. 9 Central Michigan (16-2-1, 4-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

“I think (the short rest) had a little to do with (yesterday’s performance), but our guys should be ready and more prepared for short matches, so I’m not too concerned about that,” Andrassy said. “I think a lot of it was that we’re looking forward to the Central match and I think we kind of overlooked (Eastern Michigan) a little bit.”

Contact sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].