Grapplers Win MAC Regular Season Title
The seniors on Kent State University’s wrestling team couldn’t have written a better script for their final competition at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on Sunday, Feb. 5. The Kent State Golden Flashes (12-4, 5-0 MAC) won eight matches, including victories by all four seniors in the lineup, downing Eastern Michigan (13-6, 2-2) 28-10. The victory capped off an undefeated conference season, extended Kent State’s winning streak to 10 and secured the Golden Flashes’ second outright Mid-American Conference title in the last four years.
“Step one is accomplished,” Kent State head wrestling coach Jim Andrassy said. “And doing it at home is a great thing. Now we have to focus on some other things.”
Sunday’s step one began with a first period pin by senior Nic Bedelyon (Lewistown, Pa.). Already leading 5-0, Bedelyon got in on a shot, brought Jared Germaine's leg up and turned it into a cradle from the standing position.
“I've got to open up, keep shooting and attacking,” Bedelyon said of the difference between Sunday and his other recent matches. “I feel like if I can get things going, our team’s going to do well.”
After Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) scored an impressive 7-0 win over Corey Phillips, Marcel Clopton (Shaker Hts., Ohio) became the second senior to go out on a high note. With takedowns in all three periods, Clopton earned a 9-2 victory over Jaylyn Bohl, who was the No. 3 ranked 149-pounder in the MAC.
“What Marcel has done this weekend shows how much of a professional he is,” Andrassy said of Clopton being in the lineup for the first time all season. “It speaks volumes of what kind of kid he is. He’s always ready to go. And I’m really proud of him.”
Junior Mallie Shuster (Newville, Pa.) scored a critical reversal in the final seconds of the first period and another in the final minute of the match to top Aaron Sulzer 7-6. The win gave the Golden Flashes a commanding 15-4 lead.
“Mallie’s as good as anyone in the conference,” Andrassy said.
Senior Ross Tice (Brookfield, Ohio) trailed Lester France 7-3 midway through the second period before hitting a five-point headlock. Tice scored another takedown in the third on his way to a 13-8 win.
Junior Casey Newburg (Union, Ohio) claimed his second major decision of the weekend and his eighth of the season with a 13-5 win over Phillip Joseph. Newburg piled up five takedowns and collected two stalling points.
Junior Keith Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) got in a on a first period shot for a takedown, which made the difference in a 4-2 victory over Nick Whitenburg.
Heavyweight Brendan Barlow (Westerville, Ohio) capped off a 4-for-4 day for Kent State’s senior class with a 3-2 win over Wes Schroeder. Barlow hoisted Schroeder up in the air for a key first period takedown.
Feb. 5, 2012, was the first time the Golden Flashes clinched an outright conference crown on their home mat since 1989.
Kent State will compete in the National Dual Championships on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Piscataway, N.J. The Golden Flashes will be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed at the six-team Regional.
For more information about Kent State Athletics, visit www.kentstatesports.com.