Wrestling takes fourth place at Body Bar Tournament

Thomas Gallick

The wrestling team finished in fourth place Saturday at the Body Bar Tournament in Ithaca, N.Y., led by standout performances from juniors Drew Lashaway and Danny Mitcheff.

Lashaway took down two nationally ranked opponents to win the 141-pound weight class tournament. He beat No. 11 Drew Headlee of Pittsburgh in the semi-finals before knocking off No. 8 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in the finals.

Lashaway said he hopes fierce competition early on in the season will prepare the team for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.

“I enjoy wrestling against some of top-ranked teams in the nation because we get to see what it’s going to be like at nationals,” Lashaway said.

Mitcheff won the tournament for the 133-pound weight class by defeating Mike Grey of the host team Cornell 9-7 in the final. Mitcheff also won all of his matches at the Oklahoma Gold Invitational last week to take an individual title.

Juniors Michael Blackwell and Jermail Porter also wrestled well for the Flashes and recorded top-three finishes. Blackwell finished third in the 197-pound weight class, and Porter lost 2-0 in the final match of the 285-pound weight class to Zach Hammond of Cornell.

Despite the success of some of the team members, Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said he saw areas the team needs to improve on if it wishes to be more competitive.

“We’re not getting as many team points as we should from some of the guys because they’re still making high school mistakes,” Andrassy said.

Kent State finished in fourth with 107 team points, behind eighth-ranked Cornell, No. 11 Wisconsin and Maryland in the 11-team tournament. The Flashes beat Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo, who finished in sixth in the tournament, by 22.5 team points.

Coming into the tournament four Flashes were ranked in the top 20 nationally in their weight class, but that could all change when the next poll comes out tomorrow. Freshman Nicholas Bedelyon sat at 20th in the 125-pound class, while Mitcheff came in at 11th at 133 pounds, junior Eric Chine earned 16th at 184 pounds and Porter placed 15th at 285 pounds.

Andrassy said the team needs to keep practicing at a high level before the team gets a break for Thanksgiving.

“We’re going to work as hard as possible on Monday and Tuesday before we give them some time off so they can be actual human beings for a while,” Andrassy said.

Lashaway said the only thing the team can do to improve is to keep giving maximum effort in practice.

“I think we’re working well together as a team, and we just need to keep pushing and pressing,” Lashaway said. “Every little bit helps.”

The wrestling team returns to action Dec. 2 when it competes at the Penn State Open.

Contact wrestling reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].