Flashes Look to Complete Perfect MAC Run Hosting Buffalo and Eastern Michigan This Weekend
Now tied for the No. 14 spot in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll, Kent State looks to wrap up a Mid-American Conference regular season title this weekend, hosting a pair of duals at the M.A.C. Center. A win Friday night (7 p.m.) over Buffalo would give the Golden Flashes (10-4, 3-0) a share of the MAC regular season championship for the third time in four years. A subsequent victory over Eastern Michigan Sunday (2 p.m.) on Senior Day, would give Kent State the outright conference crown for the second time in four years.
Friday and Sunday's duals will be streamed live on www.mac-sports.com.Live stats can be followed on www.trackwrestling.com.
Since the 2005-06 season, Kent State has gone 95-30-1 in duals meets. The Golden Flashes have not lost a MAC dual to a team other than Central Michigan since 2005, going 25-0-1 against the combination of Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. Kent State has won their last eight dual meets, six of which were by nine or more points, including a 22-13 victory over Central Michigan last Sunday.
Kent State holds a 20-7 all-times series lead against Buffalo and has won seven straight against the Bulls. Buffalo has not won in Kent since 2003. The two teams met just three weeks ago in the quarterfinal round of the Virginia Duals. The Golden Flashes won 6-of-10 matches in a 22-12 victory with two starters out of the lineup.
The Flashes hold a 38-1-1 all-time series lead against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles only victory came in 1974. Last season, Kent State took 9-of-10 matches from the Eagles on the way to a 30-3 road victory.
The Bulls went 3-2 at the Virginia Duals with victories over Bucknell (19-13), Rider (27-14) and The Citadel (24-15). Buffalo has three wrestlers ranked in Wrestling Report's Top 33 and four Bulls are in the latest MAC rankings, including 2011 conference champion Mark Lewandowski.
The Eagles (13-5, 2-1 MAC) have seven wrestlers ranked in the MAC's top four spots and five grapplers ranked in Wrestling Report's Top 33. Sunday will be EMU's only competition of the week. Eastern Michigan has won six of its last seven duals with its only setback coming against Missouri during that span. EMU is currently ranked No. 15 in the latest National Wrestling Media Association's Mid-Major Poll.
- Five Golden Flashes are ranked in the Top 18 spots according to The Open Mat, while three Kent State grapplers are ranked in the Top 10 according to the Jan. 19 Division I Coaches Poll.
- The Golden Flashes have won seven or more matches in all three of their conference duals, winning 22-of-30 total matches.
- The Golden Flashes are No. 3 in the latest National Wrestling Media Association's Mid-Major Poll. Cornell and Wyoming are in the top two spots.
- Kent State is represented in the Top 4 of all 10 weight classes in the Jan. 27 MAC rankings, including four (Nic Bedelyon, Tyler Small, Ian Miller, Keith Witt) at the No. 1 spot.
125 Senior Nic Bedelyon (Lewistown, Pa.) improved to 24-2 on the year and 18-1 in career conference duals after defeating No. 15 Joe Roth Sunday. Bedelyon has consistently held the No. 4 ranking in national polls and the No. 1 spot in the MAC. Each of his two setbacks this season have come against No. 3 Alan Waters (Missouri), including an overtime loss at the Virginia Duals. Bedelyon has 105 career victories. This year, he has tallied four pins, three tech falls and three major decisions. He has earned MAC Wrestler of the Week honors twice this season and has won tournament titles at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, the Body Bar and the Eastern Michigan Open. In November, Bedelyon defeated previous No. 3 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) 7-3 in the NWCA All-Star Classic.
EMU's Jared Germaine (20-7) is No. 20 and No. 3 in the MAC. In last season's dual, Bedelyon defeated Germaine 12-8. Buffalo's Sean Walton is 12-12 on the year.
133 Junior Stevie Mitcheff (Lorain,Ohio) has won four straight and eight of his last 10 matches. Mitcheff (14-13) topped Central Michigan's Tyler Keselring 10-9 Sunday. Keselring was No. 2 in the MAC while Mitcheff was No. 3. Mitcheff played a critical role in the Flashes' semifinal and championship round victories at the Virginia Duals, beating Old Dominion's Scott Festejo 8-5 and Missouri's Eric Wilson 4-3. In his last tournament, Mitcheff had a third place finish at the Mat Town Invitational, going 4-1. Last month, he won his first two matches of the Cleveland State Open and advanced to the semifinals.
Eastern Michigan's Andrew Novak (15-7) is No. 1 in the MAC and No. 33 in the nation. Buffalo's Justin Farmer (15-19) earned a 3-0 win over Troy Opfer at the Virginia Duals. The Bulls could also use Max Soria (17-12) or Tyler Golba (7-7).
141 Sophomore Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) leads the Flashes with 25 victories on the year. Small was ranked No. 10 in the latest Division I Coaches Poll and is No. 1 in the MAC. He earned a convincing 6-0 victory Sunday against Central Michigan. Small went 4-0 at the Virginia Duals and is 11-3 in duals on the year. Small finished second at the Mat Town Invitational with his only loss coming against defending national champion Kellen Russell. He placed sixth at the Las Vegas Invitational, where he advanced to the semifinals. He knocked off three Top 20 opponents in the span of four days at in November. Small has totaled five pins, four major decisions and a technical fall. He has won titles this year at the Body Bar and the Eastern Michigan Open.
Buffalo's Kevin Smith is No. 22 and No. 2 in the MAC. Small has defeated Smith in overtime in each of their last two meetings, including three weeks ago. Eastern Michigan's Corey Phillips is 14-9 this year after moving down a weight class from last season.
149 True freshman Ian Miller (Oak Harbor, Ohio) was named MAC Wrestler of the Week Wednesday after scoring a 13-5 major decision over CMU's Joey Kielbasa Sunday. Miller is No. 1 in the MAC, while Kielbasa is No. 2. Miller (24-3) is No. 4 according to W.I.N.'s national rankings and No. 8 according to Division I coaches. He went 4-0 at the Virginia Duals with a pin, two major decisions and a 7-3 victory over No. 12 Kyle Bradley (Missouri). Miller was named Outstanding Wrestler at the Mat Town Invitational after going 4-0 with two major decisions and two pins, including a fall against No. 14 Tyler Nauman (Pitt). Miller leads the team with 10 pins and 10 major decisions and carries a team best dual record of 13-1. He has not lost a match since Dec. 9. Miller also won an individual title at the Body Bar. Senior Marcel Clopton (Shaker Hts., Ohio) could also see action. Clopton (13-7) went 3-2 in MAC duals last season.
EMU's Jaylyn Bohl (14-12) is No. 3 in the MAC. Buffalo's Blake Ruolo is 18-11 and 6-4 in duals.
157 Junior Mallie Shuster (Newville, Pa.) is No. 3 in the MAC and No. 33 according to WrestlingReport.. He is 20-13 overall, 9-5 in duals and 2-1 in the MAC after falling to CMU's Donnie Corby, who is No. 1 in the conference. Shuster finished fourth in his most recent tournament (Mat Town) with a pair of close losses. He was named MAC Wrestler of the Week after defeating Top 20 opponents from Missouri and Ohio State in December. Shuster went 3-2 in Las Vegas, coming up one win shy of placing. He has piled up 84 career victories and is 26-13 in career duals.
Eastern Michigan's Aaron Sulzer (18-7) is No. 2 in the MAC and No. 26 in the nation. Buffalo's Wally Maziarz (10-14) defeated Shuster 9-7 three weeks ago. The bulls could also use Clay Reeb (9-11).
165 Fifth year senior Ross Tice (Brookfield, Ohio) currently owns 92 career victories and is 1-1 in MAC. Tice (8-10) suffered a pair of one-point losses at the Virginia Duals, including a 5-4 setback in the final seconds against No. 16 Zach Toal (Missouri). He originally injured his knee Nov. 19 at the Body Bar after recording a pair pins in a trip to the semifinals. He then re-aggravated it in his first bout at the Las Vegas Invitational. The MAC runner-up at 165 in each of the last two seasons, Tice is currently ranked No. 4 by MAC coaches. He jumped out to a 4-1 lead against CMU's Matt Ottinger Sunday, before falling to the No. 1 wrestler in the MAC.
Is Buffalo's Mark Lewandowski (29-6) is No. 2 in the MAC and No. 25 in the nation. He edged Tice 1-0 at the Virginia Duals. Eastern Michigan's Lester France (14-9) is No. 3 in the MAC.
174 Sophomore Brandonn Johnson (Middletown, Md.) improved to 2-1 in MAC duals on a Sunday with a convincing 7-1 victory against Central Michigan. Johnson (15-16) claimed his biggest victory of the year in the championship round of the Virginia Duals, a 4-1 win over No. 14 Patrick Wright (Missouri). Johnson went 3-0 at the Mat Town Invitational with a pin in the semifinals, while wrestling up a weight at 184. Nine of Johnson's 15 wins have been bonus point victories. Johnson is No. 4 in the MAC and claimed a second place finish at the Body Bar, going 3-1. He has five pins, a technical fall and three major decisions this season.
Buffalo's Jake Waste (19-7) is No. 3 in the MAC and No. 31 according to WrestlingReport. He topped Johnson 5-1 at the Virginia Duals. Eastern Michigan's Phillip Joeseph (16-8) is No. 2 in the MAC and No. 25 in the nation.
184 Junior Casey Newburg (Union, Ohio) had his 10-match winning streak come to an end Sunday, falling to No. 5 Ben Bennett. Newburg (24-8) had a perfect 4-0 showing at the Virginia Duals with a pin and two major decisions. He is currently ranked No. 22 by Division I coaches and No. 3 in the MAC. He has won 184-pound titles at each of his last two tournaments. He recorded a pair of first period pins and a major decision at the Mat Town Invitational. Newburg also went 4-0 at the Cleveland State Open with a pin and a major decision. He went 4-1 at the Body Bar. Newburg is 6-2 in career MAC duals and 8-4 in duals this season. He has six pins, four major decisions and three technical falls.
Eastern Michigan's Khodor Hoballa (8-5) dropped a 4-2 decision against Newburg in last year's dual. Buffalo's Zach Ward fell to Newburg 10-2 at the Virginia Duals.
197 Junior Keith Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) has won 10 of his last 12 matches and is No. 1 in the latest MAC rankings. Witt (20-11) is 3-0 in MAC duals, including a 3-1 victory Sunday. He was ranked No. 33 in the latest Coaches Poll. Witt went 3-0 with two quick pins at the Cleveland State Open and went 3-2 at the Mat Town Invitational. In December, he upset No. 11 Brent Haynes of Missouri 2-0. Witt went 3-2 in Las Vegas, coming up one win shy of placing. He placed third at the Body Bar. Since the 2009-10 season, he's tallied 20 pins.
Eastern Michigan's Nick Whitenburg (13-7) is just behind Witt in the No. 2 spot in the MAC
285 Fifth-year senior Brendan Barlow (Westerville, Ohio) topped No. 12 Peter Sturgeon Sunday and moved up to No. 11 according to W.I.N. Barlow (21-9) recently passed Head Coach Jim Andrassy for 10th place among Kent State's career win leaders with 107. He came through with clutch victories for the Golden Flashes against both Old Dominion and Missouri at the Virginia Duals. Barlow clinched the Virginia Duals title for Kent State with a 3-2 win over nationally-ranked Devin Mellon (Missouri). His 9-1 major decision over Matt Tourdot gave KSU a 21-16 semifinal win over Old Dominion. Barlow has won 10 of his last 13 matches, including a 6-3 victory over No. 9 Peter Capone (Ohio State). He is ranked No. 3 in the MAC. He finished second at the Mat Town Invitational, going 3-1 with a pin and a major decision. Barlow placed fourth in Las Vegas, going 6-2 with wins over three Top 20 opponents.
Eastern Michigan's Wes Schroeder (11-11) is just behind Barlow in the No. 4 spot in the MAC and is No. 30 according to WrestlingReport. Buffalo's Jedd Mason is 2-12.