After its first Mid-American Conference win against the Northern Illinois University Huskies, the Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team started February with a loss to the Kent State University Golden Flashes Friday night.
Friday also marked Senior Night for the wrestling team and redshirt seniors Filiberto Colon, Aaron Sulzer and Chris Eggert were acknowledged.
The 24-15 loss brought the Eagles down to 7-11 overall and 1-3 in the MAC. EMU was represented with a set of pins from Colon and Sulzer, and a decision from redshirt junior Seth Schaner.
The night started with a loss from freshman Alexander Calandrino at 125 pounds. Calandrino was brought down by a 5-1 decision, but EMU teammates Colon and Schaner picked up the night for the Eagles, bringing EMU up to 9-3 in team scores.
Colon said he felt the support of his family as he defeated Kent State wrestler Mack McGuire with a pin in the third period of the 133-pound weight class.
“I went out there pretty motivated,” Colon said. “[McGuire] put himself in a bad position and I capitalized on it; I wasn’t letting go from there.”
The match was close until Colon took down his opponent and earned extra points for his team. Senior Night was Colon’s first dual-meet competition and third match of the season because of a back injury.
“[Colon] is a senior so we gave him an opportunity tonight and he capitalized on it,” EMU coach Derek DelPorto said. “He’s a funky dude to wrestle and once he gets his hands locked around you, he’s probably going to pin you.”
Colon set the tempo for Schaner as he followed with a 11-10 decision over Luke Kern from the Golden Flashes.
Schaner held a strong lead early in the match until Kern came back from a seven-point deficit. Many of the points were scored within the last 30 seconds of the match. Schaner kept the lead to take the 141-pound weight class.
Redshirt freshman Michael Shaw lost the 149-pound weight class match by a 2-1 decision just before Sulzer took the mat.
Sulzer grasped a 4-0 MAC competition record this season as he pinned Kent State wrestler Tom Sasfy.
Sulzer’s most recent pin marks his third out of his last four consecutive winning matches. The 157-pound match helped the Eagles gain a 15-6 lead over the Golden Flashes.
“I figured out that it’s much easier to pin the guy than to wrestle the full seven minutes,” Sulzer said. “It only took me five years to figure that out.”
Sulzer was the last EMU wrestler to earn points for his team as the remaining bouts went to the Golden Flashes.
Freshman Jacob Davis lost the 165-pound match with a 4-1 decision.
Redshirt sophomore Jacob Dorulla lost a 15-4 major decision to Kent State’s Sam Wheeler at 174 pounds, just before 184-pound redshirt junior Phillip Joseph lost a 5-3 decision to nationally ranked No. 15 Casey Newburg, putting the Golden Flashes in the lead.
“It’s tough to build your way through a four-nothing deficit when the kid’s ranked,” DelPorto said, referring to the 184-pound match.
The next match went to No. 1 nationally ranked Dustin Kilgore at 197 pounds with a 21-6 major decision over redshirt sophomore Anthony Abro.
The final match was close at 285 pounds, but the Golden Flashes came out victorious with a 3-0 decision over Eggert.
The Eagles will continue their quest for a win as they head to Mount Pleasant, Mich., Feb. 8 for their final regular-season MAC competition.
“I just want to battle. If we can battle like that and win some of the close ones, I think we have a chance,” DelPorto said. “We always have a chance to win when we can get pins.”