“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles.” – The Art of War- Sun Tzu
On the heels of a tough loss to Penn State, the Buckeyes continue their road trip and will wrestle for the last time for nearly a month as they take on Kent State on Thursday night at 7 pm. While Kent State doesn’t appear to be on par with the Buckeyes on paper, there will be a great deal of pride on the line as lots of these wrestlers may have crossed paths in high school. The Golden Flashes always rise up to challenges and this one could be a nail-biter if the Buckeyes feel the hangover from Sunday’s loss to Penn State. Kent State features 5 returning NCAA qualifiers and can’t be overlooked. The action kicks off at 7 PM.
Jim Andrassy is in his 11th season at the helm of the Golden Flashes and has brought about a great deal of improvement in the program. Under Andrassy, Kent State has earned 6 All-American finishes at the NCAA tournament, including Dustin Kilgore’s 2011 National Championship. Also listed on the staff is former Ohio wrestling legend Clint Musser, who was an NCAA runner up at Penn State. Musser also had a brief stint in MMA, where he was as dominant as he was on the wrestling mat.
Ian Miller. Miller was one of the most prized recruits coming out of high school after a superlative career at Oak Harbor. The Golden Flashes hit big when they landed Miller, as he has proven to be an exceptional wrestler in the middle of the lineup. Also standing out on the Flashes’ roster are NCAA qualifiers Tyler Small, Caleb Marsh, Sam Wheeler, and Mackenzie McGuire.
Ohioans on the roster
Being that Kent State is located near tough wrestling regions like Akron and Cleveland, Ohioans are all over the roster. Guys like Alfredo Gray (Wadsworth), Mike Rix (Akron SVSM), Nate Skonieczny (Walsh Jesuit, formerly signed with Iowa), Luke Kern (Liberty Center/Delta), Clay Wenger (Wadsworth), Ian Miller (Oak Harbor), Sam Wheeler (Copley/Oklahoma), and Mimmo Lytle (Swanton) had standout careers in high school in the Buckeye state.
Matches to watch
133 lbs Mackenzie McGuire vs Johnni DiJulius
DiJulius has been hot of late, earning Wrestler of the Week honors in the Big Ten for his title at the CKLV Invitational and following that up with one of the two Buckeye victories over a Nittany Lion on Sunday. McGuire is an NCAA qualifier, but should have his hands full with JDJ.
141 lbs Tyler Small vs Logan Stieber
Small has twice been to the NCAA tournament and Stieber has twice won the NCAA tournament. After being upset on Sunday by Zain Retherford, I’m looking forward to seeing if Stieber bounces back to form or if he’s going to let Sunday’s match beat him again. I’d bet on Stieber if I were a betting man. With that said, I would have also bet on the 1997 Indians to win the World Series if I were a betting man, so take that with a grain of salt.
157 lbs Ian Miller vs Randy Languis
Miller is fun to watch and has been a thorn in the side of the Buckeyes. Languis is an over-achiever who is never really out of a match.
184 lbs Sam Wheeler vs Kenny Courts
Wheeler is one of the aforementioned Akron kids from Copley and can score points in bunches. Courts isn’t from Akron, but he too can score points in bunches.
Heavyweight Mimmo Lytle vs Nick Tavanello
Lytle is a small-school champ from Swanton while Tavanello took 1st place in Division 1 at Wadsworth. Wadsworth isn’t far from Kent State and Tavanello helped Wadsworth bump St. Edward from the top spot with a number of Kent State’s starters. There should be bragging rights on the line in this one for a number of reasons.
Thanks as always for reading. Go Bucks!
Preview by Curt Heinrichs