Splits wrestling squad competes at Michigan State and New York

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State wrestling team competed in two tournaments this weekend, Saturday’s Oklahoma Gold Invitational and Sunday’s Michigan State Open, in a move to get early matches for as many wrestlers as possible.

Kent State entered the Oklahoma Gold Invitational at the State University of New York in Brockport as an underdog. They also brought just 13 wrestlers out of a possible 20 on the roster. Even with this deficit, the Flashes managed to finish third in a field of nine team, five points ahead of fourth place Army.

Kent State Coach Jim Andrassy said although the team was at a disadvantage coming into the event, several strong individual performances helped provide the team with its high finish.

“I think from watching our guys on Saturday we’re in good shape,” Andrassy said. “We just need to keep working on the basics and the fundamentals in practice.”

Andrassy said the highlight of the first tournament for him was watching freshman Nicholas Bedelyon make it to the final match in the 125-pound weight class. He defeated Nick Sees of Bloomsburg University, who is ranked ninth in the nation in his weight class, in the semifinals before losing to 16th ranked Fernando Martinez of Army in the final match.

Bedelyon said he did not have any nerves competing in his first official event as a collegiate wrestler.

“I worked hard and didn’t care that I came into the tournament as the underdog,” Bedelyon said. “I love it at Kent State because it’s a hard-working program.”

Junior Danny Mitcheff also worked hard for the Flashes in Brockport, as he secured the team’s only individual title of the day at the 133-pound weight class. Mitcheff, ranked 12th in the nation in his weight class, won his tournament with a close 2-1 victory over Jeff Scholl of Brown.

Wrestling powerhouse Oklahoma took the team title home easily with a score of 177.5. Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo took second place at 105 points, one point ahead of the under-manned Flashes.

While 13 of the wrestlers competed in New York, the rest of the team took on the field at the Michigan State Open Sunday.

The tournament was broken up into two competitions, one an open competition for upperclassmen, the other a freshman-sophomore competition. Andrassy said the highlight of the event was the victory of freshman Dustin Kilgore in the freshman and sophomore 184-pound weight class competition.

Senior Kurt Gross also wrestled well, finishing third in the 165-pound weight class in the open event with five wins on the day.

Andrassy said he hoped getting so many matches early for team members would benefit the team in the long run.

“We got mat time which is real important,” Andrassy said. “You can’t win a national championship or a MAC Championship this early, but you can get experience.”

The Flashes return to action next week at the Body Bar Tournament in Ithaca, N.Y. Saturday Nov. 17.

Contact wrestling reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].