Outranked by the Chippewas

Chris Gates

Wrestlers lose match to national power Central Michigan

Junior 141-pound wrestler Drew Lashaway lifts Central Michigan junior Eric Kruger off the mat while driving forward for a takedown. While Lashaway won the match 7-4, the Flashes fell to the No. 4 ranked Chippewas 25-9. Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Any hope of a Mid-American Conference regular season title escaped the Flashes grasp Friday when No. 4 Central Michigan defeated No. 20 Kent State 25-9.

Central Michigan just had too much strength in the bottom of their lineup, as their last five wrestlers each had a national ranking of sixth or higher in their weight classes. This broke the match open after a close score of 9-6 going in to intermission.

“We gave a great effort as a team,” 141-pound junior Drew Lashaway said. “There are still things we need to work harder (on). The close matches we lost we could have capitalized on a few things here and there.”

The meet started with 125-pound Nic Bedelyon taking on an opponent six years older than him in senior Luke Smith. Bedelyon is an 18-year-old freshman and Smith is a 24-year-old senior.

Smith jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first period. Bedelyon made an attempt at a comeback, registering a takedown in the second period to make the score 5-3. However, Smith held Bedelyon scoreless in the third period and went on to win 6-3.

At 133, Dan Mitcheff was expected by his coaches and teammates to get a win as the only non-underdog to wrestle. Mitcheff did just that, winning 5-3 and tying the team score 3-3. He is ranked as high as No. 18 in the country in 133-pound weight class.

Lashaway was the first Flash to upset the Chippewas when he took on junior Eric Kruger in the 141-pound match. Lashaway was ranked No. 18 in the nation and Kruger was ranked No. 11.

Lashaway’s takedowns were all in the same fashion, wrapping his arms around the waist of Kruger and tackling him to the floor. He did so once a period, and came away with a 7-4 win.

“I knew I needed to come out strong,” Lashaway said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match and I knew I needed to push the pace.”

Lashaway was able to stay quick throughout the match, which was the key to his victory. Kruger slowed down in the latter part of the second and in to the third, allowing Lashaway to stay ahead.

“Throughout the match I felt quick,” Lashaway said. “I felt real good and healthy this week. I really capitalized off of that.”

With a 6-3 lead, Kent State lost it’s final two matches before intermission, going in to the half trailing 9-6.

“They’re the fourth ranked team in the country and we hung with them,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “The score of the match didn’t resemble what took place on the mat. It was a lot closer.”

When the meet resumed, 165-pound senior Kurt Gross recorded the second upset of the meet.

Gross, ranked No. 13, took on junior Trevor Stewart, ranked No. 6. Gross trailed 3-1 going in to the third, but managed a takedown in the final period to force overtime. In overtime, Gross was nearly taken down, but righted himself and took down Stewart to win 6-4.

“Kurt’s a gamer,” Andrassy said. “Kurt’s a big match kind of guy.

“(Drew and Kurt) both wrestled real hard and they took advantage of spots that needed to be taken advantage of,” he added. “That’s the key to wrestling.”

Gross’s win was the last of the night for the Flashes, losing their final four matches, one by way of a pin and another by major decision. The meet ended with a score of 25-9 in favor of Central Michigan.

Junior Eric Chine surprised everyone when he nearly defeated senior Christian Sinnott in the 184-pound match. Chine was in the process of taking down Sinnott when time expired. Sinnott won by a score of 3-2.

Central Michigan features twins Brandon and Christian Sinnott, who are ranked No. 4 nationally in their weight classes. Both seniors, the two power the bottom of the lineup for the Chippewas and made it impossible for Kent State to come back.

In the final match of the night, the 285-pound match, junior Jermail Porter lost to senior Bubba Gritter. Porter came in with high hopes of defeating Gritter and finally jumping in to the top 10 nationally in his weight class. Gritter was ranked No. 5 while Porter was ranked No. 11.

Tied at two going in to the third, Porter was visibly tired in the third period and allowed Gritter to score five points in a 7-4 win.

“Jermail has got to get in to better shape so he can wrestle in the third period with that kid,” Andrassy said. “That kid dominated the third period.”

The team will now have two weeks to prepare for the MAC Championship. Kent State will host the tournament March 7-8.

Contact wrestling reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].