Wrestling looks to stop free-fall

Colin Harris

In any sport, losses have a funny way of snowballing if you’re not performing at the top of your game.

No one knows the truth in that belief more than the Kent State men’s wrestling team as they have seemingly been locked in a free-fall for the last few weeks of the season where it seems like everything that can go wrong has done just that.

Since the Flashes’ victory over Slippery Rock Jan. 16, the Flashes have been unable to get back on the winning track, dropping their last seven meets.

The Flashes (7-14, 1-3 Mid American Conference) have a chance to end their season on a high note, however, tonight on the road against conference opponent Central Michigan (14-4, 3-0 MAC.)

Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said after Sunday’s loss to Ohio, answers for his team’s recent performance were few and far between. Andrassy said an explanation could come from the difficult schedule the Flashes have played this season, with meets against six nationally ranked opponents. Andrassy said he feared they might be overwhelmed by facing so many quality opponents.

The Flashes will not see any relief to end the season as the Chippewas come into tonight’s meet as the ninth-ranked team in the nation, looking to repeat last year’s performance against the Flashes, a decisive 36-3 victory.

For the Flashes to perform, they will need to see an improved performance outside of their three nationally-ranked starters. Starters Alex Camargo, Tomas Rodriguez and Jason Bake are a combined 66-9 and all are ranked in the top 20 nationally by a number of publications. Outside of those three, however, the Flashes have struggled with inconsistency and inexperience, forcing backups and underclassmen into prominent roles on the team.

Tonight will be the final chance for the Flashes to build some momentum going into MAC tournament play, which will be held on March 4 and 5 at the M.A.C. Center. Andrassy said his players need to show distaste for losing and a willingness to put in the extra time to turn things around.

Contact wrestling reporter Colin Harris at [email protected].