Kent State Back on the Mats Thursday at Mat Town Invitational
Coming off a pair of one-sided dual victories last week, No. 21 Kent State will close out the 2011 portion of its season Thursday at Lock Haven University's Mat Town Invitational. The one-day, 11-team tournament begins at 9 a.m. in Thomas Fieldhouse and includes No. 8 Michigan and No. 9 Pitt.
Each team is allowed a maximum of 20 wrestlers with two at any one weight. Scores will be determined from each team's highest finishing wrestler at each weight. The rest of the field includes host Lock Haven, Drexel, Old Dominion, Bloomsburg, Columbia, Sacred Heart, VMI and Franklin and Marshall. The championship round is slated to begin at 6 p.m.
- Last week in a pair of duals, the Golden Flashes won 17-of-20 matches, earning a convincing 29-6 conference victory over Northern Illinois and a 43-6 blowout over Cleveland State.
- Eight Golden Flashes are ranked in the Top 33 according to WrestlingReport.com.
- Last week, Nic Bedelyon and Brendan Barlow each joined the 100-victory club.
- The Golden Flashes are ranked No. 4 in the latest National Wrestling Media Association's Mid-Major Poll behind Cornell, Lehigh and Wyoming.
- Kent State is represented in the Top 3 of all 10 weight classes in the latest MAC rankings, including four (Nic Bedelyon, Tyler Small, Ian Miller, Keith Witt) at the No. 1 spot.
125 Senior Nic Bedelyon (Lewistown, Pa.) claimed a 13-5 major decision over No. 19 Nick Smith (NIU) and a 6-0 shutout over previously unbeaten Ben Willeford (CSU) last week. Bedelyon (19-1) is No. 4 in three national polls and has tallied four pins, three tech falls and three major decisions. He went 5-0 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational with two pins, a major decision and two wins over Top 10 opponents. He has earned MAC Wrestler of the Week honors twice this season. On Nov. 21, he defeated previous No. 3 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) 7-3 in the NWCA All-Star Classic. Bedelyon also won an individual title at the Body Bar. He is 33-3 in his last 36 matches. with two setbacks coming at the NCAA Championships.
His toughest obstacle could be Pitt's Anthony Zanetta, who is No. 14.
133 Junior Stevie Mitcheff (Lorain,Ohio) won his first two matches of the Cleveland State Open and advanced to the semifinals. Mitcheff went 3-2 with a pin at the Body Bar. He is tied for the No. 3 spot in the latest MAC rankings. Junior Troy Opfer (Sandusky, Ohio) is 9-8 on the year.
Michigan's Zac Stevens is No. 17 and Pitt's Shelton Mack is No. 18. Columbia's Kyle Gilchrist is No. 23.
141 Sophomore Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) is ranked No. 10 by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 1 in the MAC. Small placed sixth at the Las Vegas Invitational, advancing to the semifinals. He knocked off three Top 20 opponents in the span of four days at the Body Bar Invitational and Edinboro dual. He is 18-5 on the year with five pins, three major decisions and a technical fall. He has won titles this year at the Body Bar and the Eastern Michigan Open (Fresh/Soph Division).
Small will have one of the tougher brackets of the tournament, featuring defending national champion Kellen Russell (Michigan). Lock Haven's Matt Bonson, who fell to Small earlier this season, is No. 14. Drexel's Frank Cimato is No. 20 and Old Dominion's Justin LaVale is No. 30.
149 True freshman Ian Miller (Graytown, Ohio) recorded his sixth and seventh pins of the season last week against Northern Illinois and Cleveland State. Miller (14-3) is ranked No. 9 by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 1 in the MAC. He has three major decisions on the year and is 7-1 in duals. Miller won an individual title at the Body Bar, which included a pair of Top 20 opponents. Senior Marcel Clopton (Shaker Hts., Ohio) has also had a strong season at 149, recently finishing second at the Cleveland State Open. Clopton is 11-6 with five bonus point wins.
Michigan's Eric Eric Grajales is No. 4. Pitt's Tyler Nauman is No. 14 and Coumbia's Steve Santos is No. 17. Lock Haven's Owen Wilkinson is No. 25 and Bloomsburg's Bryce Busler is No. 27.
157 Junior Mallie Shuster (Newville, Pa.) is coming off a pair of dominant victories last week, with scores of 12-3 and 19-0. Shuster improved to 15-7 and has won four straight. He was named MAC Wrestler of the Week after defeating Top 20 opponents from Missouri and Ohio State earlier this month. Shuster is ranked No. 17 according to W.I.N. and is No. 3 in the MAC. Shuster went 3-2 in Las Vegas, coming up one win shy of placing. He has piled up 79 career victories. Sophomore T.J. Keklak (Johnstown, Pa.) will also be in action at 157.
Bloomsburg's Frank Hickman is No. 8. Old Dominion's John Nicholson is No. 27 and Pitt's Donnie Tasser is No. 31.
165 Junior Tommy Sasfy (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) went 2-0 last week, improving to 6-3 since bumping up to 165 pounds. Sasfy began the season at 149 and later competed at 157, before filling in for an injured Ross Tice. Sasfy (13-7) has since put on weight and made a smooth adjustment. He placed fourth at the Eastern Michigan Open and went 3-2 at the Cleveland State Open. Redshirt freshman Andrew Candiello (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will also be moving up to 165 for the Flashes.
Michigan's Dan Yates is No. 15, just in front of Drexel's Joe Booth at No. 16.
174 Sophomore Brandonn Johnson (Middletown, Md.) is coming off a 2-0 week. Eight of Johnson's 10 wins have been bonus point victories, including a first period pin of CSU's Aric Thurn last Wednesday. Johnson (10-12) has had one of the toughest schedules in the nation at 174, but still claimed a second place finish at this year's Body Bar, going 3-1. He has four pins, a technical fall and three major decisions this season.
Michigan's Justin Zeerip is No. 11 and Old Dominion's Te Edwards is No. 12. Pitt's Ethan Headlee is No. 19 and Columbia's Steven West is No. 33.
184 Junior Casey Newburg (Union, Ohio) fell to defending MAC champion Brad Dieckhaus (NIU) last week before claiming a tech fall against Cleveland State. He recently earned a 184-pound title at the Cleveland State Open. After missing time with an injury, Newburg (15-7) went 4-0 at Cleveland State with a pin and a major decision. Newburg is currently ranked No. 24 by WrestlingReport.com and No. 3 in the MAC. He went 4-1 at the Body Bar.
197 Junior Keith Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) is on a five-match winning streak after going 2-0 last week. Witt defeated NIU's Mike Lukowski, who is No. 2 in the MAC rankings. Witt went 3-0 with two quick pins at the Cleveland State Open. Earlier this month, Witt upset No. 11 Brent Haynes of Missouri 2-0. Witt went 3-2 in Las Vegas, coming up one win shy of placing. He is ranked No. 32 by WrestlingReport.com and was No. 1 in the latest MAC rankings. He placed third at the Body Bar. Since the 2009-10 season, he's tallied 20 pins. Joining Witt at 197 will be senior Ryan Buckner (Elmore, Ohio), who recently won a co-championship at the Cleveland State Open.
Pitt's Matt Wilps is No. 5 and Michigan's Max Huntley is No. 15. Bloomsburg's Richard Perry is No. 26 and Drexel's Brandon Palik is No. 27.
285 Fifth-year senior Brendan Barlow (14-6) went 2-0 last week with a first period pin of CSU's Rock Davis. Barlow is ranked No. 11 by Amateur Wrestling News and recently scored a 6-3 victory over No. 9 Peter Capone (Ohio State). Barlow placed fourth in Las Vegas, going 6-2 with a major decision and wins over three Top 20 opponents.
Pitt's Zac Thomusseit, who fell to Barlow last season, is No. 12. Drexel's Kyle Frey is No. 15. Michigan's Ben Apland is No. 18. Both lost to Barlow in Las Vegas.