Aching wrestling team falls to Kent State
Bulls see lead evaporate in a Flash
Senior Mark Lewandowski (above) notched his 38th career dual-meet victory but it was not enough as the Bulls fell to Kent State 22-19 in a conference match. Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
So far this season, the wrestling team has battled a more difficult opponent than conference foes: Injuries.
The Bulls (1-9, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) fell to rival Kent State (7-4, 3-1 MAC) 22-19 on Sunday afternoon after losing four straight matches and squandering a 16-point lead.
Buffalo was aided by Kent State forfeiting the 125-pound match due to sickness, giving the Bulls a 6-0 advantage before even taking the mat.
"That gave us a nice bonus and opportunity to win," said head coach Jim Beichner.
After losing the 133-pound weight class, Buffalo earned wins in its next four matches between 141-165 pounds. However, senior John Martin-Cannon, who has been beleaguered with a knee injury for most of the season, was forced out of competition due to a nagging injury.
"John-Martin Cannon is a guy who, when healthy, goes out there and wins for our team," Beichner said. "But he's obviously not and that's unfortunate."
Cannon's forfeit gave Kent State a six-point bonus that helped add to the Golden Flashes' rally.
The Bulls later had a chance to pull off their first victory against Kent State since 2005 with a heavyweight matchup. Senior Jedd Mason was able to hold his opponent to just one point in two consecutive periods, but Mason could not score any points, leading to Kent State's Keith Witt earning the victory.
The loss completed another difficult loss for the Bulls, who had an opportunity to pull off an upset over a conference rival and gain some momentum heading into the MAC championships.
The Bulls have had an injury-riddled season, forcing them to replace their starters and move wrestlers into higher weight classes.
"Nobody likes to hear excuses," Beichner said. "But it's as bad of luck as I've seen for any team that I've ever coached. It's unfortunate because it's a very good team with good guys and they train hard. Sometimes luck isn't in your corner."
Senior Mark Lewandowski claimed the 38th dual-meet victory of his career. Lewandowski moved into a four-way tie for ninth all-time on the Bulls' career dual-meet win list.
Sophomore Blake Roulo won a major decision 15-6 that helped pad Buffalo's early lead. It was Roulo's 10th win in 12 matches, but Beichner believes Roulo can wrestle even better.
"I'm happy that he won the major, but I wasn't happy with the way he wrestled." Beichner said. "He can do so much better with stall calls."
Despite the tough loss, the Bulls feel confident after gaining a 16-point lead against a tough opponent despite all their injuries.
"It's hard to overcome," Beichner said. "It was 19-19 even with all that adversity. Even though it wasn't pretty, our guys gave us a chance to win, so they deserve credit."
The Bulls will face Northern Illinois (7-7, 0-5 MAC) in Alumni Arena on Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. for Senior Day. Northern Illinois started off the season 5-0, but the Huskies have lost seven of their past nine meets. The Bulls will look to take advantage of the struggling squad and get their second dual-meet victory over a MAC rival.
Email: sports @ubspectrum.com
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