Gross, Porter shine in Virginia

Chris Gates

The Virginia Duals proved to be a challenging test for the Kent State wrestling team, as it wrestled six times in a two-day span, earning four wins.

The Flashes received their only two losses of the tournament to Illinois and Old Dominion, both nationally ranked.

“We were a little inconsistent for our individuals,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “But it seemed like in every match that we won, someone stepped up and got us a victory.”

To start the meet, Kent State defeated Bucknell convincingly by a score of 26-9. Following the win, the Flashes were paired up against second-seeded Illinois.

Freshman Nic Bedelyon started off the match with an upset victory, pinning Gabe Flores of Illinois. Flores was a national qualifier for the Illini last year and has been ranked as high as 12th in the country.

Kent State was unable to keep the momentum going and lost its next four matches, leading to a final score of 19-15 in favor of the Illini. Illinois won six of the 10 matches. However, senior Kurt Gross, and juniors Eric Chine and Jermail Porter were victorious against Illinois.

Saturday’s opening match was against Drexel, which the Flashes won easily 27-8. Then later that day, Kent State wrestled and defeated Virginia Tech 21-12. A third straight victory came against the University of Pennsylvania by a score of 18-15.

The last match of the meet came Saturday night against nationally ranked Old Dominion. Fatigue had set in, and the Flashes were defeated 25-12.

“Our guys were just tired at that point,” Andrassy said. “It was the fourth match of the day, the sixth match overall.”

The 285-pound Porter finished the weekend without a blemish, winning all of his matches as Kent State’s heavyweight. Also leading the way for the Flashes was Gross, who went undefeated, beating highly touted opponents over the course of the tournament.

“Kurt Gross beat three ranked wrestlers during the weekend,” Andrassy said. “He probably had the best weekend of all of the guys that were with us.

“Also, Jermail Porter has really turned it on lately,” he added. “He lost to the third-ranked wrestler in the country at Ohio State a few weeks back, but since then he’s really done a real good job for us.”

Another highlight was the continued improvement of Nic Bedelyon.

“Nic had some real big wins,” Andrassy said. “He’s young, he’s learning on the job here and he’s done a real good job.”

Kent State starters get some much needed rest until its next match, Jan. 25 when the team travels to Northern Illinois.

“The big thing for our guys right now is they need to rest, they need to get healthy,” Andrassy said. “This is the hardest month of the year because of how we train and the amount of competition. Our guys haven’t had a break.”

Non-starters will compete in the Kent State Open Jan. 19.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].