Who wants it more?

Caleb Raubenolt

Tonight determines MAC wrestling champ

With a 12-4 record, Kent State’s wrestling team is ranked 15th in the nation. At 16-2-1, Central Michigan is also ranked, with the sixth-best team in the country.

Advantage: Central Michigan.

The Flashes currently feature five wrestlers ranked first in their weight class in the Mid-American Conference, while the Chippewas have four.


What’s at stake: The regular season MAC championship.

• In their final meet of the season, the Flashes can clinch the MAC title with a win over Central Michigan, ending the Chippewas’ streak of 10 consecutive championships. Kent State last won the title in the 1989-1990 season.

Matchups to watch: Sophomore Nic Bedelyon vs. Scotti Sentes at 125 pounds, junior Danny Mitcheff vs. Conor Beebe at 133 pounds and senior Drew Lashaway vs. Tony D’Alie at 141 pounds.

• The Flashes went 2-1 in these matches at the Oklahoma Gold tournament on Nov. 8. Bedelyon was pinned by Sentes just 13 seconds into their championship match. Mitcheff and Lashaway beat their opponents by decisions.

Where the Flashes are strong: Their heavyweights (184-, 197- and 285-pound weight classes).

• Dustin Kilgore, Eric Chine and Jermail Porter have a combined record of 71-13 (.845 winning percentage) this season. The trio remains undefeated in MAC competition and hasn’t dropped a match since Jan. 10.

Where the Chippewas are strong: Their middleweights (149-, 165- and 174-pound weight classes).

• Steve Brown (13th), Trevor Stewart (12th) and Mike Miller (ninth) are all nationally ranked in their weight classes. They’ll have an edge against the Flashes’ struggling middleweight

Advantage: Kent State.

While Central Michigan will face Ohio this Sunday, the Flashes and the Chippewas have dominated so far in MAC competition, with a combined 7-0 record.

Advantage: Even.

When the teams face off at 7 p.m. tonight in Rose Arena, the advantage will be settled.

With a victory, Kent State coach Jim Andrassy would lead his team to its first regular season MAC title since 1990. But Andrassy said he didn’t want that pressure on his team’s shoulders in preparing for the Chippewas – winners of 10 consecutive MAC championships.

“(The mindset during practice was to) be consistent,” Andrassy said. “Don’t change things, knowing that we’ve got a better team coming after us, and don’t put more pressure on yourselves. Prepare for these guys the same way we prepared for Buffalo and Ohio and Northern (Illinois), and everything will be fine.”

Tonight’s dual meet has nine matches featuring at least one nationally ranked wrestler – and six pairing two of them against each other.

Andrassy said his team will try to take momentum away from the Chippewas early by winning the first matchup at 125 pounds.

“I think for us to win the match, (sophomore) Nic Bedelyon’s going to have to come through for us with the win,” Andrassy said. “I think he’s our key here. He can come out and start the pace off at 125 (pounds), and if he wins, we’ll be in good shape.”

Bedelyon said he looks to avenge his loss earlier this season to Central Michigan’s Scotti Sentes. Bedelyon got pinned in the championship round at the Oklahoma Gold tournament on Nov. 8.

“Last time I got sloppy and I was out of position; he ankle-picked me and I went straight to my back,” Bedelyon said. “It was my first match being pinned in college. So it’s definitely building the fire, motivating me.”

Bedelyon said the Flashes can win tonight’s meet if they “attack hard and win the close matches.”

“At this point, everyone’s tired and beat up, so it just comes down to who wants it more,” Bedelyon said. “We’ve been training hard since August, to put the time in for these matches right here. If we win this, we’re MAC champs.”

Contact sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].