Redshirts, back-ups to prove themselves in Kent State Open

On Saturday, the Gym Annex will turn into a tournament site for nearly 200 wrestlers competing in the Kent State open.

Kent State wrestling coach and tournament organizer, Jim Andrassy, said the tournament will give back-ups and redshirts from the Mid-American Conference, Big Ten and Midwestern Collegiate Conference a chance to prove themselves in the competition.

Weigh-ins will begin at 7 a.m. with the first match beginning at 9 a.m. There will be six mats to host the 10 weight divisions, and the winners will be decided around 5 p.m.

Andrassy said Kent State will have 14 back-up wrestlers in the tournament, with its starters sitting out for the day.

“It will give them the opportunity to compete even though they aren’t on the varsity team,” Andrassy said. “Even though we have a team of about 30, usually only 10 or 11 get to wrestle in a week.”

Among the top competitors from Kent State will be junior Willie Leonard at heavyweight, who is 13-6 on the year; freshman Danny Mitcheff at 133 pounds, who is 17-6 on the year; and senior Clint Sponseller at 141 pounds, who is 19-7 on the year.

After winning last Sunday in Pittsburgh, the starting team is taking a week off from match play to rest for the homestretch of the season, Andrassy said. They will be back in action at 7:05 p.m. Feb. 10 to take on conference-rival Buffalo at the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes are currently riding a five-game winning streak and currently sit third in the conference standings at 1-0-1. Buffalo is tied for fourth in the conference with a 1-1 record and has won three straight matches.

-Sean Ammerman