Wrestling is on the ‘incline’

Marcus Barkley

Team looks forward to tourney in New York

Going into its third match of the season, the Kent State wrestling team could call New York its second home.

After managing a fourth-place finish at the Oklahoma Gold Tournament in Brockport, N.Y., on Nov. 8, the Flashes will pack their bags for a trip to Ithaca, N.Y., for the Body Bar Invitational tomorrow at Cornell.

The Body Bar will be the Flashes’ last match until Dec. 14 and their final match on a season-opening road trip that has spanned the first three weeks of the season. Assistant coach Josh Moore said the team is confident and ready to pull it all together tomorrow.

“I think we’re feeling pretty good,” Moore said. “I think right now we’re still on the incline and our guys are looking forward to the competition. They’re ready to compete.”

The team competed well at the Body Bar last year, placing fourth out of 11 teams, with first-place finishes by senior Drew Lashaway and junior Danny Mitcheff. Mitcheff said it was a great experience to win at the Body Bar last year, and he hopes to reclaim the top spot in 2008.

“Last year I won it, so hopefully I can do the same thing this year,” Mitcheff said. “It’s always good to win a tournament – it’s an awesome feeling.”

Lashaway said he was happy to take first place last year and hopes to repeat again this time around, but he is also hoping the team can take home its first victory of

the season.

“I just put it together at the right time,” Lashaway said. “This year, I believe with the team that we’ve got, we should be able to take this tournament.”

Moore said he feels the team can use last year’s strong finish to propel itself into the top spot in a highly-contested field.

“Last year we took fourth with four guys in the finals and two championships, and I think we’re a better team this year,” Moore said. “We just need to be aggressive from the opening whistle and just break guys right away.”

Though the Body Bar will feature a plethora of top wrestling talent, the main teams on the Flashes’ radar are Boise State, Maryland and Cornell, who are all ranked in the top 10 in the country.

“We’re going to see Cornell, who is a top-five team in the country and Boise, who is also in the top 10,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “If we can do it this weekend and go out and wrestle to our ability, I think we can compete with anyone in the country.”

The Flashes have 1-0 records against both Boise State and Cornell and have never faced Maryland.

Lashaway said tomorrow will be a chance for the No. 23 Flashes to prove the country that they belong near the top of the wrestling standings.

“Twenty-third in the country is fair starting off,” Lashaway said. “But I think with the potential this team has, we can be in the top 15 easily, and if we all put it together, we could be higher than that.”

Contact sports correspondent Marcus Barkley at [email protected].