Kent State’s lone wrestler in NCAA meet finishes with one win

Colin Harris

For Alex Camargo, he’s truly the last man standing.

As the only member of the Kent State men’s wrestling team to compete at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship held in St. Louis last week, Camargo, a junior, was left to carry the flag for the Flashes against the nation’s best by himself.

Camargo went 1-2 at the meet. He lost to eventual national champion Greg Jones of West Virginia which put him in the consolation bracket. Camargo went on to defeat Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh before falling to Ryan Halsey of Cal-Poly.

While he would have loved to have some of his teammates competing with him, Camargo says he isn’t fazed by it.

“I wish that my other teammates were there with me,” Camargo said, “but they didn’t get the opportunity. So what I need to do is represent our team and go out there and perform.”

Camargo is just another in a long line of successful Flashes, as the team has sent a wrestler to the NCAA championships every year of its existence, a 75-year streak.

A 33-8 overall record and a spot in the Top 20 of four national publications was enough to make Camargo the latest Flash to receive a bid, despite a third-place finish in the 184-lbs. class at the Mid-American Conference championships two weeks ago.

Camargo said that while he was happy with his season, his 33 wins being a career-high in victories, he said there is room for improvement. He said head coach Jim Andrassy expects a lot out of him personally, and his performance at the MAC championships left a bad taste in his mouth.

“I went out on the mat concentrating on just winning,” Camargo said. “Whenever you do that in this sport, you end up losing. I was too timid.”

Camargo might not have emerged victorious at the MAC tournament, but he was in good company as his wild-card bid means that all of the top three finishers were able to qualify for the NCAA championships.

Despite going up against a field comprised of the best wrestlers in the country, many from major NCAA programs, Camargo said he didn’t feel any additional pressure before heading into the meet.

“I really don’t feel any pressure, because I feel like I’m the underdog,” Camargo said. “I really felt more pressure at the MAC championships. I know I can place out there, I’m fully confident. It all depends on my mentality when I go out there.”

Camargo said he welcomed the opportunity to go out and try to turn some heads in the national community who maybe haven’t seen him perform up to this point because he isn’t competing in a major conference.

Contact wrestling reporter Colin Harris at [email protected].