KSU matmen dealt learning experience

By Allen Moff Record-Courier sports writer Published:

ASHLAND - Kent State wrestling coach Frank Romano made strengthening his 1997-98 schedule a top priority during the offseason, knowing full well he'd be setting his Golden Flashes up to take a few on the chin in the process. And that fateful day arrived Sunday at the Wendy's Classic, when the Flashes absorbed a barrage of lethal blows from Purdue and Ohio State _ members of the mighty Big 10. The Boilermakers pitched a rare wrestling shutout, sweeping all 10 matches from Kent State to earn an impressive 39-0 victory in the first of three dual meets on the day. And only KSU anchormen Brian Singleton and Keith Shamblin were able to record wins for the Flashes against the Buckeyes in a sound 25-7 defeat. But none of this surprised Romano, who knew his Flashes would be thoroughly outclassed by both national powers going in. "Those are two tough teams that just have a lot more power than we have," said Romano. "We can't really compete with those two teams, but it's great for our kids to get exposed to these kinds of wrestlers. That's what we wanted to accomplish with our schedule." Purdue was easily the class of the eight-team field, losing just two matches in three dual meets. None of the Flashes enjoyed much success at all against their Boilermaker foe until Singleton's match against Purdue senior Mickey Griffin at 150. But not even Singleton, a natural 142-pounder, could prevail because he couldn't take down the heavier Griffin, who was awarded a 2-1 win on riding time. Shamblin registered Kent State's first attack points of the match when he scored a takedown on Purdue's Eric Douglas to open their 158-pound battle. Shamblin scored another takedown to go up 4-1, but Douglas countered with three of his own to eventually send the match into overtime, where he finished off his come-from-behind win with yet another takedown in the extra session. Purdue then went on to finish out the sweep in relatively quick and painless fashion. "Purdue has one heck of a lineup," said Romano. "They just beat No. 12 Illinois, so they'll be moving up in the rankings. They could finish as high as third in the Big 10." The Buckeyes also swept the first four matches from Kent State before Singleton brought an end to the drought. The former Crestwood High School standout persistently tried to position tall, lanky Peter Rogers of Ohio State for a throw. And that persistence eventually paid off, as Singleton threw Rogers on his back to break a 2-2 tie late in the match. "I thought Rogers had him a couple of times," said Romano, shaking his head. "I don't know how Brian got out, but he found a way." Shamblin then dominated his match with Ohio State reserve Pat Feldman. Shamblin took his foe down twice in the opening minutes, and cruised to an easy 10-2 win. But the Buckeyes bounced back with four straight wins to close the match, although it certainly wasn't easy. Kent State freshman Nick Magistrelli hung tough against Ohio State's Mitch Clark, ranked No. 1 in the nation, before losing just 7-5 at 190. And freshman heavyweight Jeremy Orsky battled OSU's Eric Wood to the wire before losing on a takedown in the closing seconds. "We looked much better against Ohio State," said Romano. "We were more competitive." Romano himself, a three-time NCAA qualifier, wrestled at Ohio State. And he was certainly glad to see his Flashes renew their rivalry with his alma mater. "We haven't faced them since 1985, when we went to St. John (Arena) and beat them by a couple points," said Romano. "I'd like to continue to wrestle Ohio State every year, and we'd like to come back to this tournament. This is the kind of competition we need to face." Kent State took out its frustrations on poor Delaware State, which absorbed a 48-0 pounding from the Flashes in the nightcap. Singleton, Shamblin, Cliff Andres (177) and Orsky all won by pin.

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