‘A lot of close matches – and we won all of them’

Caleb Raubenolt

Wrestling team dominates Pitt at the M.A.C. Center

Kent State’s Eric Chine prepares to take down Matthew Wilps in the match against the University of Pittsburgh Saturday. Kent State won 27-3, and Chine completed his 100th win. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Typically, when a team is beating its opponent by nearly 20 points in the match’s final minutes, intensity has a tendency to fade away before the final whistle is blown.

Yet when Kent State’s wrestling team had Saturday’s meet with the Pittsburgh Panthers well in hand, 24-3 with one period remaining in the final match of the evening, the M.A.C. Center erupted.

Trailing 6-2 to Kent State senior Jermail Porter in the third period’s final minute, Pittsburgh’s Zach Sheaffer began throwing several aggressive slaps at Porter’s head. Porter, the third-ranked heavyweight in the country, would soon counter with shots of his own before officials broke up the action and gathered the wrestlers in the center of the mat.

The heated exchange between the heavyweights brought fans, teammates and coaches to their feet, and officials awarded two misconduct penalty points to Porter, giving him the edge over sixth-ranked Sheaffer, 8-2.

“Frustration, desperation.that’s the way I look at it,” Porter said of his opponent’s actions. “I mean, it was uncalled for. He might have been trying to get aggressive, but that was ridiculous.”

Porter’s victory gave the Flashes (9-4) their ninth win of the dual meet, capping off their dominant team performance over the No. 28 Panthers (3-5) and ended the meet, 27-3.

“Some people said this was the most competitive match of the weekend,” said Kent State coach Jim Andrassy.” It was on a national forum, as far as being the best match, just because (there were) a lot of close matches – and we won all of them.”

Of the 10-match event, all but two featured nationally ranked wrestlers. Six matches had ranked wrestlers squaring off against each other.

At 125 pounds, Kent State sophomore Nic Bedelyon (19-7), ranked 16th in the country, defeated No. 30 Chris Albright with a takedown in the match’s overtime period, 7-5.

Kent State junior Danny Mitcheff struggled with Pittsburgh’s No. 22 ranked Jimmy Conroy until scoring an escape late in the final period, giving the No. 17 133-pounder the win, 2-1.

In a pivotal match for the Flashes, 11th-ranked senior Drew Lashaway (23-5) defeated Pittsburgh’s eighth-ranked Tyler Nauman 6-4 with three aggressive takedowns in the 141-pound match.

After the Flashes’ junior Jeremy Depoy fell to Mark Powell in the 149-pound match, 5-2, the Panthers would score their only points of the evening, trailing 9-3.

In the remaining six matches of the event, Kent State swept the Panthers with victories by freshman Ross Tice (157), junior Obie Simpson (165), sophomore Chris Estep (174), fifth-ranked freshman Dustin Kilgore (184), 24th-ranked senior Eric Chine (197) and Porter.

With a five-point performance by Simpson in his match’s first period, he was able to hold on to a 6-5 upset over Pittsburgh’s 18th-ranked Ethan Headlee.

Chine’s 7-5 victory over Pittsburgh’s Matt Wilps gave him his 100th win of his career, and he joins Porter and five other former Flashes as the only Kent State wrestlers to reach that mark.

“I’m real excited,” Chine said of his career accomplishment. “The best part about it is my roommate, Jermail (Porter accomplished the same feat earlier this season). It’s good to know that it’s something we accomplished together. We’ve been here together, all five years and we became really close.

“Individually, it feels great but I think it also feels good to have another teammate do the same. It’s real exciting.”

Contact principal sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].