Story courtesy of Kent State University athletic media relations
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - A wise and successful coach once reminded a rival after a disappointing loss that "What was delayed was not to be denied." The title was certainly delayed, but Kent State was not to be denied.
With Kent State clinging to a 15-14 lead going into the final match, they sent one of their best wrestlers to the mats at 285. The match went into overtime, but fifth-year senior Jermail Porter quickly sent CMU's Jarrod Trice to the mat for a 5-3 win as the Golden Flashes (13-4, 5-0) completed the Mid-American Conference regular season sweep.
"It's really exciting," head coach Jim Andrassy told Ty Linder on the Kent State Sports Network afterward. "Our guys trained real hard and Jermail got it done for us at the end. It's a great win for our program."
Starting the match at 125, sophomore Nic Bedelyon got the rematch he had been circling on his schedule since November: Central Michigan’s Scotti Sentes. At the 125 championship bout at the Oklahoma Gold, Sentes caught Bedelyon for the pin in 13 seconds. This time, the match was all Bedelyon.
Sentes looked as if he might record the early takedown, but Bedelyon held to the leg for dear life and he turned the tables on Sentes and Nic was off to the races. In the match, Bedelyon recorded three takedowns, two back points and added the riding point for the 9-3 lead. Kent State was on the board first 3-0.
"I've definitely been gunning for this match," Bedelyon told Linder. "Coach just kept telling me to attack, attack, attack and I tried to keep pressuring him."
The match was a little closer at 133, but Kent State’s redshirt junior Danny Mitcheff came out on top. Mitcheff recorded the early takedown, but CMU’s Conor Beebe escaped to cut the lead in half. The match was squared with Beebe’s second period escape, but Mitcheff triumphed 3-2 with an escape of his own in the third for the win and the KSU 6-0 lead.
Kent State continued to extend the three-match haymaker to begin the contest at 141. Lashaway got the takedown in the first but Central Michigan’s Jeff Sutich tied it up with a pair of the escapes in the first and second. However, an escape, takedown and the riding point in the final period gave Lashaway the 6-2 triumph and the Golden Flashes a 9-0 lead.
Central Michigan countered at 149 when Steven Brown defeated fifth-year senior Clint Sponseller 5-1, but the Chippewas lost a team point when Brown was called for unsportsmanlike for pushing Sposeller after the match. Kent State held on to the 9-2 lead.
Having lost a critical team point, it did not take long for CMU to get the point right back. The match between redshirt freshman Ross Tice and CMU’s Tyler Grayson was tied 2-2 after two, but the final stanza saw Grayson outscore Tice 10-2 for the 12-4 major decision. Kent State’s lead was 9-6.
The major parade for the Chippewas continued at 165 as CMU’s Trevor Stewart defeated redshirt junior Obie Simpson 10-0. Central Michigan took the lead for the first time 10-9.
The advantage went to 14-9 for CMU after 174 when redshirt sophomore Chris Estep lost 14-4.
As he has been all season, redshirt freshman Dustin Kilgore was the streak breaker. Kilgore and CMU’s Vince DiDonna were scoreless after one, but DiDonna took a 1-0 lead with the escape to start the second. Kilgore then responded by adding a takedown in the second and a takedown, escape and riding point in the third cut the Chippewas lead to 14-12 after eight bouts.
The match was shaping to come down to the heavyweights, and fifth-year senior Eric Chine did his part at 197. Both wrestlers got the escape in the second and third with the match coming down to the final ticks. Chine looked to have a takedown near the scorers table, but it was waved off. In the final seconds, Chine got the takedown for the 3-1 win and gave Kent State the lead back 15-14.
"It was a big win for us, but I didn't really feel any pressure," Chine explained. "It's my last chance against these guys, I'm a senior so I did what I expected myself to do."
There was probably more than expected drama at 285. Porter got the early takedown, but CMU’s Jarod Trice escaped. Both wrestlers traded escapes from the down position in the second and third, but Porter was called for fleeing and the match went to bonus wrestling tied 3-3.
In the overtime, it took longer for the takedown call than head coach Jim Andrassy probably wanted, but it was two-pointer just the same as Kent State ended an 11 match losing streak to the Chippewas on their home mats. It was the first regular season title since the 2003 season and the first outright championship since 1990.
Kent State will have a two-week break before their return to action at the MAC Championships at Eastern Michigan.
"We are going to enjoy this, but we have to remember what it is. It's a dual meet win and we still have a bunch of goals left to accomplish. We'll enjoy the ride home but there's still work to be done," Andrassy added.
No. 23 Kent State 18, No. 7 Central Michigan 14
125: Nic Bedelyon (KSU) dec. No. 9 Scotti Sentes, 9-3; Kent State leads 3-0
133: No. 17 Danny Mitcheff (KSU) dec. No. 20 Conor Beebe, 3-2; Kent State leads 6-0
141: No. 10 Drew Lashaway (KSU) dec. Jeff Shutich, 6-2; Kent State leads 9-0
149: No. 13 Steve Brown (CMU) dec. Clint Sponseller, 5-1; Kent State leads 9-2
157: Tyler Grayson (CMU) maj. dec. Ross Tice, 12-4; Kent State leads 9-6
165: No. 12 Trevor Stewart (CMU) maj. dec. Obie Simpson, 10-0; CMU leads 10-9
174: No. 9 Mike Miller (CMU) maj. dec. Chris Estep, 14-4; CMU leads 14-9
184: No. 5 Dustin Kilgore (KSU) dec. Vince DiDona, 6-1; CMU leads 14-12
197: Eric Chine (KSU) dec. Eric Simaz, 3-1; Kent State leads 15-14
285: No. 4 Jermail Porter (KSU) dec. Jarod Trice, 5-3 SV1; Kent State wins 18-14
*CMU was deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct following the 149-pound match.