Wrestling team heads to Buffalo for MAC Championships

Nate Stuart

Kent State’s 25th-ranked wrestling team has spent the last two weeks preparing for the MAC Championships this weekend in Buffalo.

“We’re ready to go,” said head coach Jim Andrassy. “We’re itching to get there after a two-week break.”

Andrassy said the team will try to get as many guys in the National Tournament as possible, regardless of the team’s result at the MAC Championship.

“We will at least contend for the Championship,” Andrassy said. “I will be disappointed if we finish below second.”

Central Michigan, who beat Kent State 34-3 two weeks ago, will be the favorite to win the tournament, but Andrassy said the Flashes will be satisfied with their performance if they finish second and send several wrestlers to the National Championships.

Senior Aaron Miller will not be competing in the MAC Championships this weekend because of flagrant misconduct against Central Michigan.

Andrassy said the team appealed the penalty, but the ruling was not overturned. So, Miller will be serving his one-tournament suspension during the MAC Championships, and as a result, Kent State will not have anybody competing in the 174-pound weight class.

Senior Kurt Gross said the team has put its loss to fifth-ranked Central Michigan behind them and that they have been practicing hard for the MAC Championships.

“There’s going to be a lot of tough matches for us,” Gross said. “It won’t be easy for us to win.”

To contend for the top spot at the MAC tournament, Andrassy said each wrestler will have to perform at his peak level. And with solid individual performances come spots in the National Championships.

“We want to make a national impact,” Andrassy said.

Senior Jason McGee is optimistic about Kent State’s chances at the tournament. He said they stand a good chance of winning the tournament if they bring their “A-game.”

“We want this to be our best performance,” McGee said. “We need to go out with a bang.”

Kent State finished second in the MAC this season with a 4-1 record. They are 15-3 overall on the season.

Central Michigan won the MAC with a 5-0 record. Both Ohio and Northern Illinois finished 2-2 in the MAC this season, good for third and fourth, respectively.

Flashes senior Chad Sportelli is currently ranked 18th in the nation in the lightweight class, and sophomore Jermail Porter is ranked 19th in the nation in the heavyweight class.

Contact wrestling reporter Nate Stuart at [email protected].