Flashes to be Put to the Test at Las Vegas Invitational
No. 20 Kent State will tackle its toughest challenge of the regular season this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 2-3) at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Golden Flashes are one of 34 teams competing in the two-day tournament.
According to the latest NWCA Coaches Poll, eight teams in the Top 21 spots will be competing this weekend: No. 3 Cornell, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Pittsburgh, No. 9 Michigan, No. 15 Wyoming, No. 18 Oregon State, No. 20 Kent State, No. 21 Nebraska. Two others are ranked in the Top 25 by InterMat (No. 19 Cal Poly, No. 24 Edinboro). The top eight places will be awarded in 10 weight classes, of which each school is limited to one wrestler.
- The Golden Flashes are ranked No. 3 in this week's National Wrestling Media Association's Mid-Major Poll behind Cornell and Lehigh.
- Seven Golden Flashes are ranked in the Top 30 according to WrestlingReport.com
- On Nov. 12, Kent State gave Head Coach Jim Andrassy his 100th career victory against Navy at the "Wrestle For A Cure" duals in Harrisburg, Pa.
- Under Andrassy, the Flashes have gone 87-28-1 since 2005-06.
- Kent State's only other trip to Las Vegas was in 2006.
125 Senior Nic Bedelyon (Lewistown, Pa.) moved into the No. 3 ranking in every poll after defeating previous No. 3 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) 7-3 in the NWCA All-Star Classic. Bedelyon (11-0) also earned MAC Wrestler of the Week honors on Nov. 23 after winning an individual title at the Body Bar. He is 25-2 in his last 27 matches with his two setbacks coming at the NCAA Championships. Bedelyon will be one of eight Top 20 wrestlers in the 125-pound bracket.
133 Junior Stevie Mitcheff (Lorain,Ohio) defeated teammate Troy Opfer (Sandusky, Ohio) in a wrestle-off this week to earn the Flashes spot at 133. Mitcheff went 3-2 with a pin at the Body Bar, after falling to three Top 20 wrestlers at the Wrestle for a Cure Duals. Mitcheff could have as many as 10 Top 20 opponents in his bracket.
141 Sophomore Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) has quickly risen to a No. 10 ranking in five national polls after knocking off three Top 20 opponents in the span of four days at the Body Bar Invitational and Edinboro dual. Small is 12-1 on the year with four pins, two major decisions and a technical fall. He has won titles this season at the Body Bar and the Eastern Michigan Open (Fresh/Soph Division). The 141-pound bracket could feature three of the nation's Top 5 wrestlers and 10 in the Top 20.
149 Senior Marcel Clopton (Shaker Hts., Ohio) will wrestle in place of a sidelined Ian Miller (Graytown, Ohio). The Flashes' starter at 149 last season, Clopton is 6-3 with a pin this season. Clopton advanced to the semifinals of the Eastern Michigan Open and went 3-2 at the Body Bar. The 149-pound bracket could be loaded with as many as nine Top 20 wrestlers.
157 Junior Mallie Shuster (Newville, Pa.) improved to 8-5 this season, following a decisive 8-2 victory over Edinboro's Casey Fuller, who was 11-3. Shuster has piled up 72 career victories. Opponents for Shuster could include two-time national champion Kyle Dake (Cornell).
165 Fifth-year senior Ross Tice (Brookfield, Ohio) improved to 6-5 on the year, following a 5-2 win over Edinboro's Ethan Saylor. Tice had a pair of pins at the Body Bar, earning his way into the semifinals. He is currently ranked No. 24 by WrestlingReport.com. Tice could face any of six Top 20 wrestlers in his bracket.
174 Sophomore Brandonn Johnson (Middletown, Md.) had a second place finish at the Body Bar, going 3-1. Johnson (6-8) has three pins, a technical fall and a major decision this season. Johnson could be looking at six Top 20 wrestlers in his bracket.
184 Junior Casey Newburg improved to 10-5 with a major decision over Edinboro's Vic Avery. Newburg is currently ranked No. 24 by WrestlingReport.com. He went 4-1 at the Body Bar after falling to a pair of Top 15 opponents the previous weekend. Newburg could have as many as seven Top 20 wrestlers in his bracket.
197 Junior Keith Witt is 6-6 on the year after falling to No. 2 Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro). Witt is ranked No. 27 by WrestlingReport.com. He placed third at the Body Bar. Since the 2009-10 season, he's tallied 18 pins. Witt could have as many as seven Top 20 wrestlers in his bracket.
285 Fifth-year senior Brendan Barlow (5-3) is ranked No. 9 by D1 College Wrestling. Barlow's biggest victory of the season came in a dual against Nebraska senior Tucker Lane, who is No. 9 according to Amateur Wrestling News. Lane is one of eight potential opponents for Barlow currently ranked in the Top 20.