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Kent State senior Dustin Kilgore continued on his path to glory, winning the 197-pound Mid-American Conference wrestling crown Sunday at the MAC Championships held at the University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena.
With his 17-5 major decision over Missouri's Brent Haynes in the final, Kilgore became just the sixth four-time MAC champion in conference history and the second in KSU history. Kilgore was also named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Joining Kilgore with automatic bids to the NCAA Championships were seniors Stevie Mitcheff and Casey Newburg. Mitcheff entered Sunday as the No. 3 seed but came away with second place. In the toughest bracket of day, Newburg claimed fourth place.
As a team, the Golden Flashes finished in fourth place with 82.0 points, just one point behind Northern Iowa in third and six points back of Central Michigan in second.
No. 4 Missouri took the team title with 136 points in its inaugural MAC Tournament appearance.
Kilgore notched his 18th pin of the season in the opening round against Central Michigan's Jackson Lewis. He then won by injury default in the semifinals, before putting together six takedowns and two reversals in the championship round.
KSU sophomore Caleb Marsh made a strong case for an NCAA at-large bid with a third-place finish at 165. Coming in as the No. 4 seed, Marsh claimed three victories, including a 4-1 decision over Missouri's Zach Toal in the consolation final.
Mitcheff topped Northern Iowa's Ryan Jauch 1-0 in the quarterfinals and Ohio's KeVon Powell 4-1 in the semifinals. Mitcheff then fell to No. 1 Alan Waters (Missouri) 4-0.
Newburg piled up points early and often in a 14-3 major decision of Ohio's Michael Duckworth. He later topped Eastern Michigan's Khodar Hoballah 8-2.
Despite being unseeded, KSU senior Tommy Sasfy captured fifth place. Sasfy defeated No. 4 seed Sparty Chino (Ohio) 4-0 and scored a reversal in his fifth-place match with 30 seconds left to claim a 2-0 win over Northern Illinois' Andrew Morse.
Flashes freshman Mack McGuire also went 2-2 in a fifth-place finish. McGuire won his fifth-place bout 14-2 over Eastern Michigan's Vincent Pizzuto and will keep his hopes up for an NCAA at-large bid.
Also hoping for an at-large bid will be KSU redshirt freshman Sam Wheeler, who placed sixth in a bracket that had five automatic bids. Freshman Luke Kern and senior Keith Witt also grabbed sixth-places for Kent State.
The NCAA Championships will be held March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa. At-large bids will be announced Wednesday.