Three top 20 wrestlers keep Kent State atop MAC

Nate Stuart

The Kent State wrestling team has had more than a week to prepare for its matches at Mid-American Conference opponents Buffalo tonight and Ohio on Sunday.

Kent State fell from No. 21 to No. 25 in the nation after suffering a tough loss against Pittsburgh Jan. 28 when sophomore heavyweight Jermail Porter was upset with the meet on the line.

Porter will look to rebound against Buffalo.

“I will have to do better than my last match, it was pretty embarrassing,” Porter said. “It was all mental, I was psyched out. I need to just go in and win.”

Porter has had an outstanding season despite that upset. He is currently ranked 20th in the nation in the heavyweight class. He is 20-8 overall this season.

Sophomore Clint Sponseller pointed out that the team is still at the top of the MAC.

The team has already put their loss to Pittsburgh behind them, Sponseller said, and they have been working hard on wrestling with more intensity.

But he said that, at their level, anyone can win at anytime and all the wrestlers are tough to beat.

“They had a week to get their minds off of wrestling,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “We had a whole week off. We don’t usually get that.”

Andrassy said the team is “preparing for the end stretch” of the season.

The team has two dual meets this weekend and then a major match-up with seventh-ranked MAC rival Central Michigan on Feb. 18. The team will then head back to Buffalo for the MAC Championships March 3-4.

Andrassy said the team should be in good shape facing Buffalo as long as they prepare like they should. He said he expects the team to win because, overall, he feels they are the better team.

The Bulls are 7-6 this season, 0-4 against MAC opponents.

The Flashes will travel home from Buffalo to host MAC rival Ohio on Sunday. It will be senior night, and the Kent State dance team will be featured at the midway break.

“We want a big crowd for our last home meet of the year,” Andrassy said.

Besides Porter, two other Kent State wrestlers are in the top 20 of their respected weight classes. Senior Chad Sportelli is ranked No. 16 in the lightweight class and sophomore Eric Chine is ranked No. 20 in the 184-pound weight class.

Contact wrestling reporter Nate Stuart at [email protected].