Kent State overcame a 16-point deficit with four matches remaining in what may have been the biggest comeback in wrestling program history in a 22-19 road victory Sunday at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena.
The Flashes (8-4, 4-1) clinched a top-two finish in the Mid-American Conference standings for the eighth consecutive season.
Trailing 19-3, the Flashes’ fate was in the hands of Copley product Sam Wheeler, facing No. 18 John-Martin Cannon. Wheeler came out aggressive and scored an opening period takedown, which led to the first of three injury stoppages, and led 7-0 before Cannon was unable to finish the match.
Trailing 19-9 with three matches left, Casey Newburg delivered with a 12-3 major decision, behind five takedowns.
Moments later, senior Dustin Kilgore pinned Jeff Palmeri in just 45 seconds. It was Kilgore’s 16th pin of the year, completing a perfect 20-0 career MAC dual record with his 61st straight dual win. His NCAA winning streak is now at 51 matches.
With the score tied 19-19, Keith Witt made his final conference dual a memorable one with 6-0 shutout of Jed Mason.
The Flashes return to action Friday against Cleveland State in a M.A.C. Center first “Beauty and the Beast” wrestling-gymnastics dual.
The University of Akron concluded the third week of the dual-match season with a 6-1 loss to 73rd-ranked Princeton on Sunday at LaTuchie Tennis Center.
For the second time in three days, the Zips’ No. 1 doubles team of Prang Pantusart and Angelina Jogasuria took down a ranked foe, this time a 8-7 (4) defeat of 45th-ranked Lindsay Graff and Amanda Muliawan.
Akron hits the road, competing at both Dayton and Wright State, on Saturday.
Kent State (3-18, 1-7) needed and got a big shot to win at Ohio (5-15, 0-8) 57-55.
Rachel Mendelsohn, who had 14 points and nine rebounds, sunk one from the top of the key and Amber Dunlap nailed a pull-up jumper to get the lead back with 22 seconds to go. Mendelsohn came up big again, forcing a turnover, and Ohio missed a last-second shot to give the Flashes their first conference and road win.
Tamzin Barroilhet led all scorers with 18 points and had 10 rebounds and five assists.
— Staff report