Senior looks to rewrite school record books

Sean Ammerman

Alex Camargo, senior technology management major and three-year starter for the wrestling team, is only six wins shy of becoming the all-time leader in wins at Kent State. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

After three mediocre seasons, senior Alex Camargo said he’s starting to see a change in the Kent State wrestling team’s work ethic. Practices are longer, workouts are tougher and the overall demands on wrestlers are greater.

“We’ve finally disciplined ourselves,” Camargo said. “My first two years here weren’t anywhere near as hard as it is now.”

The results of the intensity are starting to show, Camargo said. The Flashes (11-1-3) have the most wins since coach Jim Andrassy took over, and they have been on the verge of a national rank sporadically throughout the season.

Andrassy said Camargo, who is in his fifth year at Kent State, has taken a leadership-by-example role on the team.

“His leadership is shown when he goes out and wrestles,” Andrassy said. “He shows kids how to go out and win big matches. When he’s totally focused on winning and getting it done, he does it.”

Camargo is ranked No. 16 in the nation at the 184-pound weight division and is 25-3 on the season, the best winning percentage on the team.

Camargo has set himself up to rewrite the Kent State record books. With a career record of 116-38, he is just six wins shy of becoming the all-time winningest wrestler in school history.

“Personally, it was never a goal of mine,” Camargo said of the wins record. “My goal is just to wrestle my best, come out on top and not having any regrets.”

As successful as he is now, Camargo said he wanted to quit the sport when he began. His older brother introduced him to wrestling in second grade.

“My first tournament, I did terribly,” he said. “I was crying, and I didn’t want to wrestle anymore.”

His brother convinced him to try one more tournament, and Camargo said he took first place wearing tennis shoes instead of standard wrestling shoes.

“Ever since then, the feeling of winning in a one-on-one sport has kept me going,” he said.

Last year, Camargo was the only Kent State wrestler to go to the NCAA wrestling tournament, but his run ended a few matches short of becoming an All-American. The extended schedule was something he said he wasn’t used to.

Andrassy said he will have a better chance this year if he has more teammates there to support him.

“It’s pretty hard to focus when you’re down there all by yourself,” Andrassy said. “Alex (Camargo) is the kind of kid that if he has four or five guys around him winning, he’ll win just because he wants to stay on par with them.”

Camargo’s goal is not to end his career getting the Kent State wins record, but to remove the bitter taste left from last year’s national tournament.

“Last year I had a good season, but I felt I sort of dropped off at the end,” he said, “but I turned it into a learning experience.”

Camargo will have a chance to get two wins closer to the Kent State’s all-time record this weekend as Kent State squares off with Buffalo at 7 p.m. tonight at the M.A.C. Center and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ohio.

Contact wrestling reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].