Wrestling success: Nationally-ranked Enrique Munguia clinches second title win of season

John Hilber, Reporter

Kent State sophomore wrestler Enrique Munguia is a guy who understands what it takes to be good, says his coach.

He was the third best high school wrestler in the country and now ranks in the top 30 nationally at the collegiate level.

And he has already taken home two meet titles this season.

“He’s been very successful at every level of his career so far,” coach Jim Andrassy said, “and at the end of the day, Enrique is just a little bit further ahead of where he wanted to be.”

He is ranked 26th nationally by FloWrestling and WrestleStat and 24th nationally by InterMat.

Munguia won the 165-pound bracket after defeating Ohio’s redshirt junior Jordan Slivka in a 3-0 shutout at the Navy Classic Saturday. He won in the Clarion Open Nov. 6.

The Flashes finished eighth out of eleven teams, and all 17 wrestlers won a match.

Seven of those wrestlers placed in the top eight of their bracket, including three wrestlers who placed in the Mountaineer Invitational at Appalachian State last week.

“It’s early in the season, but we’re just getting in there and fighting and we fought positions better than we did the last week,” Andrassy said.

Repeat winners

Munguia went 5-0 on the day with one technical fall, one major decision and three decisions.

After his third meet of the season, Munguia has a 14-1 record – already passing his 11 total wins from last year. In these meets, the sophomore has placed first in his bracket twice, and placed third once.

Andrassy said his unique style allows the leader to compete consistently.

“He puts in the time, and he puts in the effort, and he’s doing well because of it,” he said. “He’s very talented at some things, but he’s very awkward and isn’t your typical wrestler. He does things much differently, and he’s winning with a lot different style than what I’m used to.”

Graduate student Jake Ferri followed up his first-place finish in the meet last week and placed fourth in the 125-pounder bracket Saturday.

Ferri had a 2-1 record for the meet with wins from a 12-3 major decision over Navy’s junior Grant Treaster in the first round and a 12-11 decision against Lock Haven’s senior Matt Maloney in the second round.

The third repeat placer for the Flashes was graduate student Kody Komara. He finished in third in the 149-pounder bracket with a 4-1 record on the day.

He won with two falls in the first two rounds and an 8-2 decision over Lock Haven’s freshman Kaiden Wagner in the third round. Komara lost the next match but won the third place round with a 3-2 decision.

“They are older guys, so they’ve been through our system, and they get what you have to do to get there,” Andrassy said, talking about his graduate students. “It’s just a lot of hard work. We give them the opportunity to get ready to get ranked, to get to the national tournament and to have the opportunity to become all-American.”

New placers

Four KSU wrestlers placed for the first time this season:

  • Redshirt senior Brendon Fenton, who had a 2-2 recond on the day, placed seventh in the 133-pounder bracket. He started with an 11-4 decision over Virginia Military Institute’s freshman Dyson Dunham narrowly missing a major decision. He beat The Citadel’s freshman Brayton Killiri and then Dunham again in the seventh-place match.
  • In the 141-pounder bracket, redshirt junior Louis Newell took fifth place. He started with a bye in the first round and followed with a 13-2 major decision over Air Force’s freshman Bryce Shelton. Newell lost the next round then won the next three matches, including a 12-1 major decision and a 7-2 decision over Lock Haven’s redshirt junior Tyler Dilley.
  • Freshman Keegan Knapp placed eighth in the 157-pounder bracket. He had a bye for the first round and lost on a 6-0 shutout decision in the second round. Knapp played in the seventh-place match but lost to Ohio’s sophomore Daniel Segura by a 10-3 decision.
  • Jake Cover, who Andrassy called a veteran leader after the team’s first meet at the Clarion Open, came in sixth in the 285-pounder bracket. He lost in the first round of the tournament on a 16-3 major decision but came back with three straight victories. He lost the fifth-place match and fell to eighth. 

Many fall early

Ten wrestlers did not place in the meet Saturday.

“The effort needs to be put there more consistently during practices,” Andrassy said. “They have to put in the time, they have to put in the effort every single day and put in extra effort in extra time if they ever want to catch the guys. That is the only way you are going to be successful.”

For the coach, improving confidence is also key to placing.

“In wrestling, you are by yourself, and if you aren’t getting the results you want, then you have to get back to the drawing board and work harder,” he said. “Just put in the work. If you put in the work and the time, most likely you’re gonna get better at this sport.”

Kent State has this week off and will then compete in Las Vegas at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, which runs from Dec. 2-3.

“It’s about your offensive attacks,” Andrassy said. “We need to do a better job. We’re letting people hang around instead of putting them away when we should have won.”

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