Kent State University hosted a bit of pre-Thanksgiving wrestling feast Nov. 22 when it welcomed both Ohio State and Cleveland State to the MAC Center for the inaugural “Thanksgiving Showdown.”
In terms of the event, Kent State wrestling coach Jim Andrassy was very happy, noting he thought the crowd at MAC Center was in excess of 3,000 fans.
“This might be the largest crowd we’ve had since 1990,” Andrassy said. “This is the largest crowd a kid wrestled in front of if they didn’t make it to states. I was more worried about the event tonight than the wrestling. That’s what you have assistant coaches for.”
Ohio State coach Tom Ryan agreed the tri-match was a hit.
As for the actual matches, things went about the way Andrassy thought they would.
Kent State (1-1) scored a dominant 40-3 win over Cleveland State (1-2), but lost 36-13 to Ohio State (3-0). The Buckeyes, who are ranked fourth in the nation by InterMat, shut out the Vikings 52-0.
Andrassy was happy with one Kent State upset at 157 pounds. KSU sophomore Casey Sparkaman took on OSU’s Jake Ryan — coach Tom Ryan’s son. After trailing most of the match, Sparkman shot in and got a takedown in the last five seconds of the match to score a 6-4 win.
Sparkman was one of three double winners on the night for the Golden Flashes, as he also scored a 21-6 technical fall over CSU’s Gran Tummire.
KSU also got two wins from 133-pound sophomore Anthony Tutolo, who scored major decisions over CSU’s Terrell Grant (11-2) and OSU’s Brendan Fitzgerald (14-2) to improve to 10-0 on the season.
Sophomore Jairod James also had two wins for the Golden Flashes. He pinned OSU’s Seth Williams in 6:38 and beat CSU’s Devon Pingel 17-5.
Former Field standout Cory Simpson won his only match of the night, as the freshman 125-pounder scored a 10-6 win over Cleveland State’s Spencer Dusi.
KSU also got wins from 141-pounder Chance Driscoll, 165-pounder Issac Bast, 184-pounder Jerald Spohn, 197-pounder Stephen Suglio and heavyweight Devin Nye against the Vikings.
The star of the evening, however, was Ohio State junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder. The junior not only is the defending NCAA Division I heavyweight champion, but became the youngest American in history to win an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling this summer in Rio de Janerio.
Snyder was given a standing ovation by the crowd at the MAC Center and was mobbed for autographs after his matches. He made quick work of his two opponents, pinning Nye in 2:16 and CSU’s Michael Furbee in 1:36.
Ohio State’s other defending national champion, 184-pounder Myles Martin, dominated his two opponents. Martin scored a 24-9 technical fall over CSU’s Nick Corba and pinned Spohn in 2:08.
Ohio State ended up winning 17 of its 20 bouts, despite not having All-Americans Bo Jordan and Nathan Tomasello in the line up.
It was a long night for Cleveland State, as the Vikings won only one individual bout on the night. That came at 149 pounds, as senior Nick Montgomery used a tilt to put KSU’s Tim Rooney on his back late. Montgomery scored a 6-2 in the second tie-breaker round.