After roughly two weeks away from competition, the Kent State wrestling team is back in action tonight at Northern Illinois.
The starters welcomed the extra rest, though two will be unable to compete tonight. Juniors Danny Mitcheff (133-pounds) and Clint Sponseller (141-pounds) are out.
“We’ve got two guys out of our lineup, so we’re gone be going in there really shorthanded,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “Brian Dean will be stepping in for Mitcheff if we need him and Jeremy Depoy will be definitely stepping in for Sponseller.”
Preparing for Northern Illinois, the team followed the normal routine despite missing key starters. Healing was a large part of the preparation.
“It was real valuable to have rest, heal my body up a little bit and relax a little bit,” 285-pound junior Jermail Porter said. “I hadn’t had a break off in a long time. It was welcomed.
“I didn’t do anything different than I normally do,” he added. “I got more sleep (which is) more important than anything. I didn’t feel as run down this week and I didn’t feel as pressured as I normally do.”
The pressure starts now as Kent State begins its Mid-American Conference schedule. The Flashes are 9-4-0 on the season and 24th nationally.
Northern Illinois comes into the match 6-3-0 overall, and 2-0-0 in the MAC..
“They graduated quite a few guys last year,” Andrassy said. “They’re really young, younger then we are. If we go in there and wrestle like we should, we should be able to beat them. It just depends on how we’re going to be able to step up in some of the areas we have backups in.”
The Flashes will rely on team leaders to win. Most notably 157-pound senior Kurt Gross and Porter, who each finished a perfect 6-0 in their last competition in the Virginia Duals.
“The older guys have to step it up,” Porter said. “I’ve got to go out there and win first of all, and score as many bonus points as I can.”