Kent State wrestlers dominate against Eastern Michigan

Sean Ammerman

Kent State’s Chad Sportelli attempts to flip his opponent during a match against Eastern Michigan last night at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State won 33-8. ALLIEY BENDER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The Kent State wrestling team began its Mid-American Conference schedule with a 33-8 win at home over Eastern Michigan last night.

In what came close to a blow-out, the Flashes won eight of 10 matches, including two pins, bringing them to 8-3 overall and 1-0 in the MAC.

Kent State junior Chad Sportelli started the evening with a 6-5 win over No. 17 Sean Clair, Eastern’s highest-ranked wrestler. In a hard-fought match, No. 16 Sportelli took away the Eagles’ best chance to win.

“Clair had a very strange style, so we wanted to make sure Sportelli didn’t get sloppy,” Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said. “The match wasn’t as close as the score.”

Senior Drew Opfer lost a close match, 4-7, to Eastern’s Phillip Plowman. Opfer scrambled for a takedown during the final seconds of the third period, but the referee ruled the move was after regulation.

Freshman Jared Evans, who normally wrestles at 125, faced an opponent two weight divisions above him at 145. He lost in a technical fall in the last 15 seconds of the third period. This gave the Eagles a premature lead of 8-3 after three matches.

From there, senior No. 20 Jason Bake began the Flashes’ seven straight wins after defeating Jermain Thompson at 149. In the final seconds of the second round, Bake took a 3-1 lead with a swinging takedown. He held the lead through the third period in a highly defensive struggle, which brought the team score to 6-8.

Sophomore Kurt Gross battled his way from an upside-down hold to come around Eastern’s Quinn Guernsey with double takedowns, leading to a 5-0 win.

Both Jason McGee and Aaron Miller took their opponents down four times before grabbing wins. Shouts of “Miller time” filled the M.A.C. Center as the Flashes took a commanding lead over the Eagles.

With high momentum, No. 16 Alex Camargo garnered six takedowns and two near falls in his 21-8 victory over Eastern’s John McClure at 184. Time ran out as he was working his way to another takedown, which would have gotten him a tech fall. Camargo now has 122 career wins, and is in second place for overall wins in Kent State history.

With two wrestlers to go, junior Ardian Ramadani got the Flashes their first pin of the evening with seven seconds left in the second period. His double-leg takedown to a half-nelson pin was enough to finish Eastern’s Tony Lyssiotis.

“I saw it coming early,” Ramadani said. “As a wrestler I feel like I am peaking now.”

To close the match, redshirt freshman heavyweight Jermail Porter contributed with a pin over Jake Wood — a fitting end to a powerful victory.

When these teams last met Jan. 12, 2005, the Flashes pulled off a narrow victory 22-21 in Ypsilanti.

“The biggest thing is that we got our confidence back,” Andrassy said. “It’s the first conference competition and just got us going back in the right direction.”

Kent State was coming off two losses at the Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals on Sunday. The first loss came at the hands of No. 1 Oklahoma State, and the second from No. 11 Missouri.

“We’re going to start figuring out what’s best for the team,” Andrassy said. “If I got better guys on the bench, then I’m going to use them.”

Kent State wrestles Davidson and Slippery Rock next at the Wendy’s Duals on Sunday in Ashland, Ohio.

Contact wrestling reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].