Flashes Finish Third at Mat Town Invitational
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. – Despite not having entries at 125 and 174, No. 21 Kent State finished third at Lock Haven's Mat Town Invitational Thursday inside Thomas Fieldhouse. Freshman Ian Miller (Graytown, Ohio) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler following a dominant showing at 149. The Golden Flashes totaled 110.5 points. No. 8 Michigan claimed the team crown with 141 points, while No. 9 Pitt was second with 126 points.
"We would have contended for a championship if we wrestle those two weight classes," Head Coach Jim Andrassy said. "This was a good opportunity to give Nic Bedelyon a break."
Miller chalked up his second pin of the day in the finals against No. 14 Tyler Nauman (Pitt) with an underhook pancake in the third period. He also scored major decisions in his opening round and semifinal bouts with scores of 17-6 and 13-4. 149-Pound Final Video
"Everyone was impressed with Ian today," Andrassy said. "…the crowd, other team's coaches. It was supposed to be one of tougher weights going into the day and by the way he wrestled, I'm not surprised he got the award." Semifinal Video
Miller joined teammate Marcel Clopton (Shaker Heights, Ohio) in the semifinals of the 149-pound bracket. Clopton knocked off third seeded Owen Wilkinson (Lock Haven) 8-6 in the quarterfinals. The senior suffered an injury in the first period of his semifinal and settled for a sixth place once he could not continue.
The Flashes had an even stronger showing in the 184-pound bracket. Sophomore Brandonn Johnson (Middletown, Md.), usually the Flashes' starter at 174, moved up a weight and wrestled liked he'd been there before. Johnson and junior Casey Newburg (Union, Ohio) each reached the finals, but did not compete against each other.
Johnson topped the No. 3 seed, Andy Vaughan (Pitt) 2-1 in the opening round and had little trouble with No. 6 seed Sam Shirey (Bloomsburg) in a 10-3 quarterfinal victory. In the semifinals, Johnson pinned second seeded Hunter Collins (Michigan) 42 seconds into the second period. Video Newburg tallied first period pins in both his semifinal Video and quarterfinal bouts and earned a 12-3 major decision in the opening round.
Sophomore Tyler Small (Littlestown, Pa.) and senior Brendan Barlow (Westerville, Ohio) each placed second. Small's only loss came to defending national champion Kellen Russell of Michigan. Small, who did not surrender a point in his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, was one of four Top 20 wrestlers in the 141-pound bracket. Barlow went 3-1 with a pin and a major decision.
"Brendan wrestled really well in his first three matches," Andrassy said. "He just shut down in the finals."
The surprise of the day for Kent State was junior Stevie Mitcheff (Lorain,Ohio), who went 4-1 in a third place performance. Mitcheff upset No. 23 Kyle Gilchrist (Columbia) 8-6 in the opening round. His only setback was a 4-3 decision against No. 18 Shelton Mack (Pitt).
"Stevie's getting better," Andrassy said. "His knee's getting better and he's starting to get used to the weight class. And his semifinal could have gone either way."
Juniors Keith Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) and Mallie Shuster (Newville, Pa.) each placed fourth. Shuster went 3-2 with a pin, a major decision and a 10-8 overtime loss in the 157-pound semifinal. Witt also went 3-2 with a pin and a quarterfinal win over No. 26 Brandon Palik (Drexel).
"Keith was up 4-0 in his semifinal and let it get away at the end," Andrassy said. "Mallie was in control of his whole semifinal, but it didn't show in the score. We lost some close matches today and we need to get better in certain situations."
The Golden Flashes will take a 14-day break from competition, before heading to the Virginia Duals Jan. 13-14. Senior Ross Tice (Brookfield, Ohio) is expected to make his return for the 16-team dual tournament.
"I think this break is going to help us," Andrassy said. "And I think we're going to like where we're at as a team at the Virginia Duals."