HAMPTON, Va. — Kent State avenged an earlier season loss against No. 9 Missouri to complete a 4-0 weekend and win the Virginia Duals championship Saturday inside the Hampton Coliseum. In need of final match victories from senior Brendan Barlow in both the semifinal and final round, the Golden Flashes topped Old Dominion 21-16 and Missouri 18-14. The Flashes’ title is their first in 11 program trips to the event.
“Every dual we had a different guy step up and get it done this weekend,” coach Jim Andrassy said. “The way we lost to Missouri [34-12] the last time, really made this a good day. We had four different guys that lost to them the first time and won today.”
Barlow was among the four that lost the first time around. In his second period Saturday night, Barlow pancaked Devin Mellon to mat for the difference-making takedown in his 3-2 victory.
“Their guy took a bad shot at the edge and Brendan did a real good job of taking advantage of it,” Andrassy said.
Also getting revenge in the form of an upset was sophomore Brandonn Johnson, who downed No. 10 Patrick Wright 4-1. Johnson trailed 1-0 after two periods, before converting a switch for a reversal and a two-point tilt.
Also playing the role of underdog was junior Stevie Mitcheff, who was 0-7 in dual meets heading into Saturday, but it didn’t stop him from going 2-0 on the day with a 4-3 victory against Missouri’s Eric Wilson.
The other Kent State grappler to overcome an earlier loss against Missouri was freshman Ian Miller, who went 4-0 on the weekend. Miller defeated No. 12 Kyle Bradley 7-3 and earned his second major decision of the weekend, after a 14-4 win against Brennan Brumley (Old Dominion).
Junior Casey Newburg and sophomore Tyler Small also had perfect 4-0 weekends. Newburg halted Old Dominion’s 13-point rally with his second major decision of the weekend, an 11-3 victory against Billy Curling. Newburg then scored a comfortable 6-1 triumph against Missouri’s Dorian Henderson. Small blanked No. 19 Nick Hucke (Missouri) 5-0.
“Tyler just keeps on plugging away,” Andrassy said. “A year ago, who would have thought he’d be where he is right now. He’s really consistent and really hard to wrestle.”
The Flashes won 6-of-10 matches against both Old Dominion and Missouri and were not far from taking eight matches from the Tigers. Senior Ross Tice surrendered a takedown with 10 seconds left to drop a 5-4 decision against Zach Toal and senior Nic Bedelyon fell to No. 3 Alan Waters 7-5 in overtime.
“I felt like Nic really outwrestled him and just let it get away in overtime,” Andrassy said. “I feel like he’s the better wrestler, he just needs to put together a whole match against him.”
Kent State led Old Dominion 13-0, but the tide turned when John Nicholson (157) got the Monarchs on the board with a 3-1 victory against junior Mallie Shuster.
With his team up by just one point heading into the final match, Barlow also sealed the first team victory of the day with a 9-1 major decision against Matt Tourdot. Barlow drove Tourdot directly to his back on a double leg shot and jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening period.