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Cleveland State wins thriller over Kent State

The Cleveland State University wrestling team dug itself a huge early hole, but the Vikings did not give up and rallied to claim a thrilling 16-15 victory at Kent State Saturday evening at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

The Vikings took a four-point lead into the final match, but the team outcome was still in doubt in the final seconds of the bout as Kent State had a chance to tie the dual with a major decision. However, redshirt freshman Riley Smucker was able to avoid the worst-case scenario to ensure a CSU victory.

The win over Kent State is the first for Cleveland State since the 2003-04 season, although the programs have not faced each other every season in that time.

Kent State opened up a 10-0 lead after the opening three matches as the dual started at 174 pounds.

Based on recent history, the Vikings did not have much reason for promise at heavyweight as redshirt sophomore John Kelbly was facing an opponent he lost to via major decision earlier this season. However, Kelbly flipped that script and flipped the momentum of the dual.

Starting in the top position to begin the second period, Kelbly registered 10 near-fall points in the period to take a 10-2 lead after five minutes. The referee had initially awarded Kelbly a pin but then changed his decision to keep the score at 10-2. While Kelbly did not score any further points in the third, he held on for a comfortable, five-point win.

True freshman Logan Heil took an early lead at 125 pounds with a first-period takedown and build up a sizeable amount of riding time in the opening frame. That would prove crucial when he earned a riding time point at the end of the bout to break what would have been a 4-4 tie.

Redshirt senior Justin Patrick was tasked with taking on a top-20 opponent at 133 pounds with the Vikings trailing, 9-6. The bout was tied, 1-1, in the third period, but the KSU wrestler was able to secure a takedown that looked as though it would be the difference. However, Patrick did not give up. After escaping, he posted a takedown with fewer than five seconds remaining to claim an unlikely 4-3 win.

Redshirt senior Evan Cheek continued his winning ways with a major decision shutout. His 10-0 win gave the Vikings the lead in the team score for the first time during the dual.

After a Kent State win via decision at 149 pounds cut CSU's lead to one, redshirt junior Nico O'Dor took to the mat for CSU. With O'Dor leading 1-0 and starting in the top position in the third period, he rode his opponent for well over a minute to secure a crucial point of riding time. O'Dor went on to claim a 2-1 victory.

Smucker had a lead after the first period at 165 pounds, but things changed in the second frame. After his opponent notched a reversal, Smucker was in trouble on his back, but he did well to avoid a fall and continue the bout. Kent State took a 10-4 lead in the third period, and was only two points away from getting its needed major decision. However, Smucker secured a late escape that essentially secured a team victory for CSU as he kept his loss to just three points.

Cheek secured his team-leading 30th win of the season as he moved to 30-3. He remained undefeated in duals (9-0) and has 17 bonus-point wins.

Patrick's 15th win came against the third-ranked wrestler in the MAC while Heil notched his 20th win, including a 6-1 mark in the MAC.

O'Dor claimed a win over the Golden Flashes in dual action for the second straight season.

Cleveland State moved to 8-3 with the win, with CSU's eight wins tying for the highest figure by the program in the past 13 years.

Cleveland State will be right back in action Sunday as it returns home to host Central Michigan at 1:00 p.m.

QUICK HITS
  • Cleveland State won a thriller at Kent State, 16-15
  • The Vikings posted a furious rally after trailing 10-0
  • Justin Patrick beat a top-20 wrestler with a takedown in the final seconds
  • John Kelbly beat an opponent he lost to by 10 points earlier this season
  • Evan Cheek posted his team-leading 30th win with a major decision
  • Logan Heil and Nico O'Dor both posted one-point wins
  • It is the CSU's first win over KSU since the 2003-04 season
  • The Vikings posted their eighth win of the season and moved to 4-3 in the MAC

    Results:
    174: Andrew McNally (KSU) over Chase Archangelo (CSU) - 13-5 MD | KSU leads, 4-0
    184: Shane Mast (KSU) over DeAndre Nassar (CSU) - 3-2 dec. | KSU leads, 7-0
    197: Colin McCracken (KSU) over Ben Smith (CSU) - 8-4 dec. | KSU leads, 10-0
    Kent State control of mat area violation (1 point deduction) during 285-pound bout
    285: John Kelbly (CSU) over Spencer Berthold (KSU) - 10-5 dec. | KSU leads, 9-3
    125: Logan Heil (CSU) over Tomas Gutierrez (KSU) - 5-4 dec. | KSU leads, 9-6
    133: Justin Patrick (CSU) over Tim Rooney (KSU) - 4-3 dec. | Tied, 9-9
    141: Evan Cheek (CSU) over Cory Simpson (KSU) - 10-0 MD | CSU leads, 13-9
    149: Kody Komara (KSU) over Gus Sutton (CSU) - 7-4 dec. | CSU leads, 13-12
    157: Nico O'Dor (CSU) over Brady Chrisman (KSU) - 2-1 dec. | CSU leads, 16-12
    165: Kade Byland (KSU) over Riley Smucker (CSU) - 10-7 dec. | CSU wins, 16-15
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