A few veteran and underclassmen wrestlers shine in second meet of season

John Hilber, Reporter

Kent State’s wrestling team sent 15 men to its Saturday invitational – and only four placed in the top six of their bracket.

Eight wrestlers did not win a match and three won only one match.

“Some guys did really well, some guys didn’t do as well,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “We just have to get back to the drawing table, not worry about wins and losses and trust the process. After we’re done, we need to just evaluate where guys are and do the best we can to get better.”

Kent State went 15-28 at the Mountaineer Invitational Saturday and tied with Edinboro for the least number of wrestlers placing in the top six in their brackets.

Some veteran success

Graduate student Jake Ferri won the 125-pounder bracket, beating Appalachian State’s fourth-year redshirt sophomore Caleb Smith in a 5-2 decision. He went 3-0 for the day, getting one major decision and two decisions.

At last season’s Mountaineer Invitational, Smith had beaten Ferri in the semi-final match. Ferri went on to win 22 matches – the most matches of any KSU wrestler last season.

“He doesn’t stand around, he just goes and forces activity,” Andrassy said. “He’s strong and does the right things and he’s made wrestling a priority of his right now and you can tell just by his results.”

Kody Komara, Kent State’s other graduate student, finished in fifth place in the 149-pounder bracket.

He went 3-2 for the invitational with two decisions, beating Stanford’s redshirt junior Jaden Abas in the fifth-place match.

“It was nice to see him go out and he was pretty consistent with his wrestling and we got the results you want to get,” said Andrassy. “He beat guys he hasn’t beaten before so I was pretty happy with him.”

Underclassmen win

Sophomore Enrique Munguia, who won the Clarion Open Nov. 6, placed third in the 163-pound bracket. He defeated Gardner-Webb’s redshirt senior RJ Mosley in a 6-3 decision.

Mosley had beaten Munguia earlier in the day on a 6-4 decision.

Munguia had an overall record of 5-1, earning two decisions, his first major decision, and a fall.

“He lost a match he shouldn’t have lost and wrestled really poorly, but then he came back and beat that guy for third,” Andrassy said. “He’s better when he goes at guys, when he forces action and when he tries to get them tired and forces them to make mistakes.”

The sophomore is 9-1 on the season with six decisions, one major decision, and one fall.

He is already close to matching his total win count from last year of 11 victories.

Freshman Blake Schaffer made his collegiate debut and was the final KSU wrestler to place in the top six.

He took sixth place out of eight wrestlers in his 197-pound bracket. He earned his first collegiate win against Edinboro’s senior Jake Kliner –  his only win of the invitational.

“He just went in and forced action,” Andrassy said. “He seemed pretty tough for a freshman. He wasn’t timid, wasn’t worried about having to wrestle over kids and just tried to do the best job competing well and to get better at this point.”

The win allowed Schaffer to play in the fifth-place match, where he lost to Air Force’s junior Calvin Sund in a fall. The rookie went 1-3 on the day.

“It was a bracket that was easier for him so it was good to get him out there and to get four matches,” Andrassy said. “We’re happy about that. He’ll get better the more he wrestles and the more he’ll understand wrestling.”

Freshmen get a shot in the Open

Andrassy sent two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior to the open section of the Mountaineer Invitational.

The wrestlers combined for a 7-9 record with two major decisions. Their scores are recorded for individual stats but did not impact the team’s total for the invitational.

Freshman Matt Ellis had the team’s best performance and finished in second in the 133-pound bracket. Ellis’ wins came from a 16-3 major decision against University of Mount Olive’s freshman Christian Orozco and a win against Virginia’s freshman Erik Roggie in the semi-finals.

He lost to Virginia’s freshman Keyveon Roller in an 8-2 decision in the finals match. That was Ellis’s only loss of the open.

Andrassy said he was impressed by freshman Billy Meiszner, who went 2-2 on the day with a major decision and a technical fall.

He placed fourth in his 141-pound bracket, beating Gardner-Webb’s freshman Khamani Harrison by a technical fall and teammate Mason Lynch by a 12-1 major decision.

“It’s all about going to get matches and competing and trying to get as many matches under your belt,” Andrassy said. “It’s so you can learn and get how this works in college wrestling because college wrestling is a lot different than high school wrestling.”

Tough competition coming up

The Flashes compete next at the Navy Classic meet Nov. 19 at the Naval Academy in Maryland.

They then travel to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational which runs Dec. 2-3. This will be their last multiple-team meet until January.

“The next two weeks we have really tough competition,” Andrassy said. “Then we wrestle Ohio State, who is a top five team in the country, [Dec. 11]. So our next three competitions are going to be really tough.”

The coach said his team “needs to be more physical” these next meets.

“They need to be tougher,” Andrassy said. “They need to grind out wins. We’ve lost a lot of very close matches. That’s something we can control.”

John Hilber is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]