Wrestling loses again: off to worst start in team history

John Hilber, Reporter

The Kent State wrestling team’s loss to Buffalo was its seventh in a row, making it the worst start in program history.

Kent State has lost every dual this season. It is the worst start the team has ever faced in its 90 seasons and has already tied last season’s loss total.

The team’s record is 0-7 this season, after losing 22-13.

“They were just tougher than us, but I don’t want to say they were better at wrestling than us,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “We have the guys, but I think it was more about injuries. Sometimes sporting events can come down to backups and our backups just weren’t good enough.”

The 141-pounder Louis Newell and 165-pounder Enrique Munguia did not wrestle today due to undisclosed injuries.

With the loss, Kent State is 0-2 in MAC competition and is 5-5 against Buffalo all-time. Kent State is fifth in the MAC Western Division.

Buffalo improved to 7-9 with a perfect 3-0 in the MAC with the win. Buffalo is first in the MAC Western Division.

Kent State’s 13 points is the third-highest total they have reached this season. Only three of Kent State’s 10 wrestlers contributed points from their match.

Meet the winners

Graduate student Jake Ferri gave the Flashes a 4-0 lead in the opening 125-pounder match, beating redshirt freshman Mason Bush with a 13-4 major decision.

This is Ferri’s 12th win of the season.

“He’s pretty good,” Andrassy said. “He wants to win real bad and every day is going to be a fight for him. I don’t know if he takes a moment off in the practice room or on a mat, but he has to learn how to compete more consistently.”

Kent State lost its next two matches, but graduate student Kody Komara helped the Flashes regain the lead. Komara beat redshirt sophomore Matt Ryan with a 6-4 decision in the 149-pounder match. Komara’s 14th win of the season put Kent State in the lead 7-6.

Andrassy said that Komara is “a guy that gets better every time he wrestles.”

Following four consecutive losses, the last win of the match for Kent State came from 197-pound freshman Blake Schaffer. Schaffer pinned redshirt junior Sam Mitchell for his 13th win of the season, making the score 19-13.

Mitchell was the MAC’s second-best wrestler that weighed in at 197 pounds with a 15-5 overall record this season.

“Blake went out and dominated this guy all around,” Andrassy said. “He’s a tough kid, I’ll never have to teach him to go out there and be tough. I have to teach him to continue to get better as a wrestler.”

Redshirt junior Jacob Cover would lose the last match of the day. It was a 6-2 decision by redshirt freshman Eli Sheeran in the 285-pounder match, which made the score 22-13.

New Faces

The Flashes had three wrestlers fighting in their varsity debut.

Freshman Jacob Houpt wrestled in the 133-pounder match against redshirt junior Tommy Maddox. Maddox won on a 7-5 decision.

Houpt is listed as a 125-pound wrestler, but Andrassy said he “wrestled up a weight class” today.

“He will be one of the guys competing to be 125 next year,” he said. “He had an opportunity and he was really close and he wrestles hard. I think he has a bright future for us, he just lost a real nail-biter.”

Another wrestler making his debut today was Pablo Castro IV. He wrestled sophomore Jack Marlow in the 141-pounder match and lost on a 7-6 decision.

“He was a much better wrestler than the opponent and he has to learn to understand his opportunities,” Andrassy said. “He didn’t do a very good job with that today.”

The last wrestler making his debut was freshman Dillon Carlson, who wrestled in the 175-pound match. Carlson also wrestled up a weight class today to fill in for the injured Munguia.

Carlson lost the match on a 15-3 major decision to graduate student Noah Grover.

Andrassy said that Carlson “Got beat up pretty well by a better guy.”

Despite the losses by the new varsity wrestlers, Andrassy was “Happy because we had four true freshmen in our lineup today.”

“Somewhere down the line, they will be starters in our program, so it’s neat for them to get an opportunity to wrestle,” he said. “That was a good opportunity for them to get to see the starting lineup and hopefully learn from this. Hopefully, they’ll understand that and realize how good you have to be to compete at this level.”

Looking ahead

The Flashes will wrestle Southern-Illinois Edwardsville (3-5) Jan. 27 in the Kent State Fieldhouse.

Kent State is 6-0 all-time against SIEU, winning the last dual by a 29-12 score during the 2021-22 season.

“We’ll figure it out,” Andrassy said. “We’ll keep working. Keep doing a lot of things that will make our guys better.”

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