Wrestling puts up second-highest point total in loss to Central Michigan

John Hilber, Reporter

Redshirt senior Jacob Cover led the way with an undefeated weekend, but Kent State’s wrestling team fell just short of a comeback after trailing 12-0. 

Kent State lost 22-15 on Sunday against Central Michigan. 

Cover, wrestling in the heavyweight match, shut out Central Michigan’s Simon Lato in a 3-0 decision. 

“He gives up bad points in the first period,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “But he’s doing some of the right things tactically to prevent that, these last two matches. If he is able to fix that issue, he’ll have a lot more success than he has been having.”

Cover was the only person to win his matches against OU and Central Michigan. This was Cover’s 10th win of the season and he has a 10-12 record for the season.

The loss is KSU’s 11th in a row, making their overall record 0-11 on the season. 

“I thought we outwrestled them in eight of the 10 weight classes but there were some matches we couldn’t figure out how to win,” Andrassy said. “There were some matches that were very winnable that we didn’t win, but I thought we wrestled really well against one of the better teams in the conference.

Kent State’s 15 points were its highest since Jan. 14, when the team lost 21-27 to Navy. This was their second-highest score total this season.

“Our older guys are getting a little bit tired,” Andrassy said. “We’ve been working really hard and it sometimes shows up in matches like this in the middle of the year. We’re going to get a few weeks off soon and we’ll get the legs back on them so they can go into the MAC tournament and wrestle their best.”

The team remains in last place in the Mid-American Conference Western Division, following the loss. The Flashes are winless against MAC opponents this season with an 0-6 record.

The only other team in the MAC without a conference win this season is Edinboro.

Central Michigan is now tied for first place in the MAC Western Division with Northern Illinois. Both teams have a 4-1 record in the conference and Central Michigan has a 5-8 overall record.

Short of a comeback

The first match of the day was the 165-pounder dual. Sophomore Enrique Munguia was pinned after three minutes by Central Michigan’s Tracy Hubbard. 

Central Michigan led 6-0 after the opening match.

“He outwrestled him for two minutes and 45 seconds before they got in a weird scramble,” Andrassy said. “He got a little bit sloppy when he gave up the scramble, but he looked a lot better- he looked like himself there for the first period. He actually wrestled well against a good guy in the conference.”

Junior Michael Ferree lost in the next match to Alex Cramer by a 9-6 decision in the 174-pounder match. 

The Chippewas led 9-0 after the win.

In the 184-pounder match, redshirt senior Tyler Bates lost by a 4-2 decision to Central Michigan’s Ben Cushman.

Despite the loss, Andrassy said that Bates “had more takedowns than the kid he lost to.”

This gave Central Michigan three more points, making the score 12-0 after three matches.

Kent State got on the scoreboard in the 197-pounder match. 

Freshman Blake Schaffer defeated Cameron Wood in a 7-3 decision to give the Flashes their first three points of the dual, making the score 12-3.

“He keeps fighting and he’s a hard-nosed kid,” Andrassy said. “He still has so much more room to get better, and we still have so many things to work on, but he’s working on it. He needs to keep working and keep getting better.”

This was Schaffer’s 14th win of the season. He has the highest win total of any freshman on the team this year and is tied with graduate student Jake Ferri for the third-highest number of wins on the team.

Cover’s win in the heavyweight match gave Kent State three more points, to cut the lead to 12-6.

The next match was the 125-ponder dual. Ferri lost to Central Michigan’s Sean Spidle in a 15-12 decision. 

Andrassy said that “Ferri had three more takedowns than the other kid,” after the loss. The Chippewas earned three more points to go up 15-6.

Freshman Matt Ellis earned those points back in the 133-pounder match. He beat Vince Perez in a 5-3 decision to get three points. The score was 15-9

Ellis replaced Freshman Jacob Houpt after he wrestled the maximum number of matches he could to keep his redshirt status for next season.

Redshirt junior Louis Newell was back in the lineup for the 141-pounder match after missing the previous duals against Clarion and Ohio University. Mason Breece defeated him by an 11-6 decision.

“Newell was winning the match,” Andrassy said.  “He outwrestled the kid and wrestled brilliantly for six minutes and 45 seconds. He’s gotta figure out how to finish his match.”

Central Michigan gained three points, making the score 18-9 after the match.

The Chippewas would pull away after the 149-pounder match. Graduate student Kody Komara lost to Central Michigan’s Johnny Lovett by a 10-1 major decision.

It was a really close match once again, and a really good college wrestling match,” Andrassy said. “He’s wrestling his best at the end of the year, but he looks a little tired. We’re gonna get through this next week, then we’re gonna give him some days off.”

Central Michigan earned their last four points of the day making it 22-9.

CMU clinched the win after the 149-pounder match and forfeited the last match of the day. 

Freshman Keegan Knapp, therefore, picked up the victory in what was supposed to be a 157-pounder match. 

This was Knapp’s ninth win of the season.

The forfeit gave Kent State six points, but the final score was 22-15.

KSU only won one match between the 141-pounder and 197-pounder match. 

Kent State’s 22 points given up was tied for its lowest total since Dec. 18, when KSU lost 18-15 to Northern Illinois. 

Looking ahead

Kent State will stay on the road, wrestling Cleveland State at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Cleveland.

The Vikings are 5-6 overall this season, with a 4-3 record in MAC play. The team is fourth in the MAC Eastern Division. 

Cleveland State has won five of its last seven games after dropping its first four games of the season.

“Just like my expectation was to beat Central Michigan, my expectation is to play the same and get two wins at the end of the season,” Andrassy said. “Anything less and I’ll be disappointed.”

Kent State is 5-1 all-time against the Vikings. The team’s most recent win against Cleveland State was last season, where the team won 25-9. 

KSU has never scored less than 15 points against Cleveland State.

“Each kid isn’t performing consistently to meet their expectations so that is something we need to do a better job of,” Andrassy said. “It seems like we’re not putting it all together as a team, but we have about three weeks until the Mac tournament, so we’ll see if we can’t put it all together there.”

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