Wrestlers’ luck runs out against Panthers

Jonas Fortune

Friday night, the No. 21 Kent State wrestling team posted an impressive comeback victory against visiting Northern Illinois. Yesterday, the grapplers delivered two more comebacks against Pittsburgh, but the third comeback, which would have won the match, proved to be elusive.

With Kent State leading 15-13, the Panthers stunned the M.A.C. Center crowd when heavyweight Zach Sheaffer defeated Kent State sophomore Jermail Porter with a 2-0 decision in the last bout of the evening. Porter, who is ranked 19th nationally, had already beaten Sheaffer twice this season.

Porter’s unexpected loss mirrored the first match of the afternoon when senior Chad Sportelli, who is ranked 19th nationally, dropped a 3-2 decision to Pittsburgh’s Brad Gentzle in the 125-pound bout.

After Sportelli’s loss, the Flashes responded by winning the next three matches and regained the lead, 9-3, but the Panthers would not wilt under the pressure. Pittsburgh won the next three bouts and took a 13-9 lead.

The Flashes bounced back with consecutive victories, and held the overall lead, 15-13, heading into the final match of the night. The stage was set for Porter, but he couldn’t prevail.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said in a press release. “The hard part is that we were at home, we had a great crowd, and then we lost. Maybe, this is what we needed to get our focus back on what we need to do to win down the stretch. I know we can wrestle better than we did today.”

On Friday night, the Flashes fell behind 9-0 but came alive to dominate Northern Illinois for the rest of the night, posting a 22-12 victory. The team will travel to Buffalo for a 7 p.m. match Friday night.

The information for this story was provided by kentstatesports.com.

Contact assistant sports editor Jonas Fortune at [email protected].