Wrestling gets handled in 23-point loss to Ohio State

John Hilber, Reporter

The Kent State wrestling team lost its seventh straight meet to No. 3 Ohio State Saturday, falling to the Buckeyes 32-9.

OSU’s record against the Flashes is now 7-0.

“It’s apparent that they’re the third best team in the country,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “It might have been a little overwhelming for some of them, but I think most of our guys wrestled hard and did the best they could. They’re just really, really good.”

KSU is now 0-1 on the season. Ohio State is 4-0.

Rare wins

Kent State played one wrestler for each weight class at the team’s first dual of the season. Only two wrestlers contributed to the team’s nine points.

“We could have got shut out, so for us to win one match was good.” Andrassy said. ”Most of our guys were overmatched and they were better than us, so I was happy with the two wins that we had.”

Freshman Keegan Knapp, who wrestled in the 157-pounder match, gave KSU its first win. He defeated Ohio State’s junior Issac Wilcox in a 6-3 decision.

This was Knapp’s third win of the season.

“He just outworked the kid,” Andrassy said. “Keegan just got out there and won the match because he outworked him.”

Kent State’s other win came from a forfeit. The person who wrestled Knapp was also written down to play sophomore Enrique Munguia in the 165-pounder match, so the Buckeyes had to forfeit the match.

Munguia’s win puts him at 18-3 on the season.

“They didn’t have a 165-pounder for Enrique to wrestle,” Andrassy said. “I would have enjoyed watching him wrestle these guys because he likes the big stage. He’s used to big time matches like this.”

More tough competition

Six of Ohio State’s nine total wrestlers were ranked in the top-25 of their weight class, and three of them were ranked in the top-10: 149-pounder Sammy Sasso (No. 3), 174-pounder Ethan Smith (No. 7), and 184-pounder Kaleb Romero (No. 5).

Every ranked wrestler won their match, including Munguia, who is No. 25 in the 165-pounder rankings. He is the only ranked wrestler for Kent State.

“Some are not good enough yet,” Andrassy said. “They have to keep working and getting better, which our guys do, but that happens faster for some kids. Our guys are always improving just on the fundamentals.”

In the first match, 125-pound graduate student Jake Ferri lost on a 4-3 decision over Ohio State’s senior Malik Heinselman, who is the No.13 125-pound wrestler in the country.

“It was a five-four score, so it’s close but close isn’t good enough for wrestling,” Andrassy said. “So he lost but Jake could have done a little better.”

The Flashes lost the next three matches. Redshirt senior Brendon Fenton and redshirt junior Louis Newell lost in decisions, and graduate student Kody Komara lost on a technical fall.

These losses put the Buckeyes up 14-0.

Wins by Knapp and Munguia cut the deficit to 14-9, but the Flashes dropped the last four matches of the day with senior Mason Karpinski, redshirt senior Tyler Bates, and senior Ryan Boyle suffering technical falls in the 174-, 184- and 194-pounder matches, respectively.

Redshirt senior Jake Cover lost the last match of the day on a 9-2 decision to redshirt freshman Mike Mistia in the heavyweight match, making the final score 32-9.

“We fought really hard and a big part of wrestling is going out and being aggressive, being gritty, and fighting which we were,” Andrassy said. “I hope that guys can make adjustments instead of getting down on themselves. Hopefully they can step up and start working on things that they need to do to get better and improve.”

This is the second consecutive week where Kent State has wrestled nationally-ranked opponents. Last week at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, the Flashes finished 21st out of the 33 teams competing with zero top-eight placers.

Andrassy said better competition will help the team – despite his men’s recent results.

“You’re always trying to get your guys in front of the best competition in the country,” he said. “You have to give them the opportunity to at least compete and see where they’re at.”

Looking ahead

The Flashes wrestle Northern Illinois (3-2) next Dec. 18 in the Kent State Field House.

“We’re wrestling a MAC team that is dead even with us,” Andrassy said. “They should win five matches, and we should win five matches, so it’s going to come down to who gets bonus points or who outwrestles someone.”

Kent State is 5-4 against Northern Illinois all-time, but KSU has lost the last three meetings against them.

“When you’re wrestling really good guys, that’s when it gets harder, and our guys come in and they work really hard,” Andrassy said. “They listen, they pay attention, and I have no problems with them.”

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