Reserve wrestlers get chance to shine Saturday

Chris Gates

While starters get some much needed rest, reserves for the Kent State wrestling team will compete in the Kent State Open Saturday.

Wrestlers to watch are redshirt freshman Dustin Kilgore and junior transfer Obie Simpson. Both likely will play a large role for the Flashes in the future, and this weekend will provide much needed mat time for the two.



Reserves only

When: Saturday 9 a.m.

Where: M.A.C. Center

“Dustin Kilgore, right now he’s a redshirt freshman and he’s 17-1,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “He’s wrestled in five tournaments, and has won four of them and taken a second in one of them as a true freshman. He’s special.”

Of his five tournaments, Kilgore placed first in the Michigan State Open, Ashland Open, Cleveland State Open and Millersville Open. His second place finish came against the seventh-ranked wrestler in the country at the 184-pound weight class at the Penn State Open.

Simpson, a transfer from North Carolina State, will likely be inserted into the lineup after senior Kurt Gross graduates.

Gross, the lone Golden Flash leaving after this season, said the Open will provide good experience for younger wrestlers on the team.

“For them, it’s important because they don’t go to tournaments every week,” Gross said. “This is (the team’s) first time to get to see them. Obviously they want to show off to the team, and show that the reason they’re here is because they’re good.

“They’re a good group,” he added. “They all work hard and I feel they’ll be fine.”

Andrassy serves as tournament director and will be unable to watch much wrestling Saturday. However, he believes the experience of competing will be beneficial to his younger wrestlers.

“It’s more about just getting mat time, learning how to prepare and learning how to go out and compete at a high level,” Andrassy said. “It’s not really about wins and losses. It’s about learning how to compete for the future.”

The future for the Flashes looks bright with only one senior departing and a slew of young talent waiting for a chance to compete. Also, the Flashes earned a national ranking of 25 after last weekend’s tournament in Virginia. This marks the third straight year Kent State has been nationally ranked.

“I don’t know if it’s as important to our guys as it is to be able to go out and tell people that, ‘Hey, as a program we’re doing the right things, as a staff we’re doing the right things and as a team we’re doing the right things,'” Andrassy said. “We’ve been ranked in the top 25 three years in a row now. I don’t know if there’s a program at Kent State that’s been ranked in the top 25 three years in a row.”

Along with the team’s national recognition, Gross received three honors after the Virginia Duals Tournament. Kent State athlete of the week, MAC wrestler of the week, and Virginia Duals MVP were all awarded to the senior.

“It doesn’t mean anything next week,” Gross said. “It’s good to know that what I’m working for is paying off. But then again, I’m not an all-American yet.”

The Kent State Open will take place at the M.A.C. Center. The tournament starts at 9 a.m.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].