Wrestling team sends five to NCAA tournament

Nick Walton

Flashes finish second overall in MAC Championship to CMU

Kent State junior Eric Chine faces an Ohio University wrestler in the 184-pound weight class at the MAC Chamiponships Friday in Kent. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Despite finishing in second place in the 2008 Mid-American Conference Championship this weekend at M.A.C. Center, the Kent State wrestling team will send five members to the NCAA Wrestling Championship.

The wrestlers – senior Kurt Gross, juniors Jermail Porter, Drew Lashaway and Dan Mitcheff and freshman Nick Bedelyon – will continue their season March 20-22. Bedelyon finished in first place in the 125-pound weight class at the MAC Championship and received Freshman of the Year honors for the conference.

“I never won state in high school so it’s kind of like winning state in high school,” Bedelyon said. “Every match I go out and try to have fun and make things happen.”

Coach Jim Andrassy had high praise for his freshman wrestler.

“He’s the kind of kid that we need on our program,” he said. “If I could get ten guys with the same mentality and the same belief that they’re going to go out and dominate a match, we could have a national championship team.”

Bedelyon started the championship by defeating Buffalo sophomore Dan Bishop 7-5 and then defeated Northern Illinois freshman TJ Wunnicke 11-2 to advance to the championship round.

In the championship round Bedelyon defeated Eastern Michigan freshman Andrew Novak 11-4 to claim the title.

The Flashes trailed Central Michigan 57-50.5 at the end of Friday’s matches and had six participants in the championship matches on Saturday. The Chippewas would win the final seven matches to ultimately pull away from the Flashes and win with a team score of 110.00.

“We need to do better on the second day of a tournament,” Andrassy said. “Until we do better in the second day we are going to have the same results.”

Gross fell to Central Michigan junior Trevor Stewart 2-1 in the 165-pound weight class championship. The match ended in controversy, and it was reviewed because of some calls by the referees that determined the outcome of the match. After 20 minutes of deliberation, the result didn’t change.

“At that point we hadn’t wrestled the best to begin with so I don’t think that had any effect on us,” Andrassy said. “I was fighting for my guy to make sure that the rules were applied correctly and that he was treated fairly.”

Juniors Dan Mitcheff (133 pounds), Drew Lashaway (141) and Jermail Porter (285) finished in second in their individual weight classes but will join Bedelyon and Gross in the NCAA Wrestling Championships. This is the third year in a row the Flashes will send five wrestlers to the NCAA Championship.

“This coming week is going to be as hard as its been and we got to make sure our guys go into there ready,” Andrassy said. “All five guys (that are going) are pretty healthy and they aren’t tired so we’re going to push them as hard as we can to get the most out of these guys.”

Contact sports correspondent Nick Walton at [email protected].