Locker room unites wrestlers

Mike Ashcraft

The Kent State wrestling team is enjoying its new locker room inside the M.A.C. Center. The locker room is adorned with carpeting, leather couches and TVs. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

The Kent State wrestling team is coming off its best season in six years.

The Flashes finished second in the Mid-American Conference Tournament and earned the distinction of being ranked No. 25 out of the top NCAA Division I programs while posting a dual record of 14-4-1 (3-1-1 in the MAC).

In the past, the team didn’t even have access to a locker room that could fit them all. Now, $100,000 and about four months later, Kent State’s wrestling team has what could possibly be the coolest pad on campus.

“We’ve never really had a locker room in the past,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “We had two different locker areas, young kids in one area and older kids in another area. It was a very, very poor bond. Now, we have this facility, and it’s a 100 percent improvement from what we had, and our guys are glad to have it.”

Senior 149-pound wrestler Jason McGee said the upgrade was a long time coming.

“It’s a big step up from what we used to have,” McGee said. “I think it’s a huge recruiting tool. When you can bring high school kids in and show them our facility, it makes them want to be a part of something like that.”

The lockers themselves have even come a long way from their metal predecessors. The new lockers are made of wood, and each comes with a wooden stool. The tops of the lockers are adorned with sparkling nameplates, with the occupant’s name and hometown spelled out in Kent State’s blue and gold.

The room also contains a few leather couches and a 50-inch plasma TV with cable and surround sound. The television will not only be used as a source of entertainment, but also as a tool to watch film from matches.

The electronics do not end in the locker room, however. When entering the room, the team is greeted by a lounge area that gamers and television fanatics would salivate over. Complete with a sink and microwave, the lounge is home to a 50-inch plasma TV with satellite, an X-box 360 game console, and a DVD player, as well as several leather couches.

Andrassy said providing all the comforts and amenities of home was the exact purpose.

“It gives us a place to hang out between classes,” said senior heavyweight Willie Leonard, who is tied for fifth-place with Jared Opfer on the school’s all-time pin list with 22. “We’re always in there.”

The Flashes will open their 2006 season on Nov. 4 with the Kent State Intersquad Scrimmage at the M.A.C. Center.

Contact sports reporter Mike Ashcraft at [email protected].