If there is one guy who defines Kent State wrestling, it is fifth-year senior and physical education major Stevie Mitcheff. A wrestler since age six, Mitcheff lives and breathes the sport that molded him into the person he is today.
Mitcheff has been wrestling as a Golden Flash for five years now, and it will be hard for him to give up when the semester is over.
“Wrestling has been a huge part of my life,” Mitcheff said. “It’s made me who I am today and got me to college with scholarships, so it’s done a lot for me. It’s gotten me good relationships with people, and it’s done pretty much everything.”
Mitcheff wrestled for Elyria High School before coming to Kent State, finishing his high school career with a phenomenal 159-24 record. Mitcheff finished on the podium all four years for the Pioneers and qualified for the Ohio High School State Wrestling Championships.
He started at Kent State in 2008, at which point he was red-shirted. Mitcheff said he was very little starting out, only weighing 128 pounds. He said he lacked the confidence to be a big-time starting wrestler, and had a rough start on the collegiate level. Mitcheff was a state champion in high school, but this wasn’t high school anymore. Mitcheff knew he had to learn, train and step it up if he wanted to succeed. Don’t let his size fool you, when Mitcheff steps on that mat, the beast is unleashed.
Year in and year out, the battle-tested Mitcheff remained steadfast in his goal to become a key member of the KSU wrestling team. Last season, he met this goal by placing fourth at the Mid-American Conference Championship.
As of Jan. 25, Mitcheff is 21-9 overall, with 6-3 in duals and 2-0 in the MAC. He has two pins, one technical fall and three major decisions. Lately, Mitcheff has been lighting it up on the mat — especially Jan. 18 and 19 when he dominated both of his matches against Ohio and Clarion in the M.A.C. Center. He destroyed his first opponent 21-3 and crushed his second opponent 11-4.
Mitcheff wrestles every match like it is his last, and he is fun to watch. He even has his own cheering section, made up of his supportive family. They come to all of the home matches to root for their hero.
“We’re a real close family,” Mitcheff said. “Without them I wouldn’t be here. I don’t know if I’d be wrestling in college if it wasn’t for them.”
Mitcheff is currently ranked No. 33 in the nation in the 125 pound weight class and looking forward to a great performance in the MAC Championships in March. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see Mitcheff in Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Championships when the season is all said and done. When Mitcheff puts on his headgear and steps onto the mat, anything is possible.
Kent State’s running back and junior Dri Archer, the school’s single-season record-holder for touchdowns in a season (22), put up a stellar performance in the Golden Flashes’ bowl game against Arkansas State. His luck soon changed, however, when he was sidelined due a knee injury sustained in the second quarter.
With Archer injured and out for the majority of the second half, senior quarterback Spencer Keith was forced to try to make something happen at the end of the game. With 52 seconds remaining, Keith, who was already battling an injury of his own, only picked up five yards during a desperate scramble to get a first down. Keith was three yards short of the first down and just 20 yards shy of the end zone. Thus, to the dismay of hopeful Kent State fans, the game ended in a 17-13 Arkansas State victory.
Kent State nearly won the game in their first bowl appearance in 40 years. If it weren’t for the injuries of Archer and Keith, I think the Golden Flashes would have sealed up the victory.
Let me put the game and the injuries into perspective. Archer rushed for 77 yards, with most of these yards produced in the first and second quarters before he sustained his knee injury. If you watched the game, it was clear that Arkansas State could not find an answer for him. Until his second-quarter injury, Archer looked unstoppable. If the Flashes had a healthy Archer in the second half, there would have been a lot less pressure on Keith and the receivers to produce an all-out aerial assault that they just did not have.
Keith’s more minor injury may not have been as impactful as Archer’s knee injury, but the injury may have arguably cost the Flashes the game with only 52 seconds left. Keith was taken out of the game three plays earlier when he was hit in the ribs by Arkansas defensive back Tausean Holmes.
With Keith playing a little banged up and Archer watching the game anxiously from the sideline, the Golden Flashes could not manage to get the first down they needed to swing the momentum back into their favor. As much as Archer wanted to continue playing, he said in post-game interviews that he knew he was hurting his team by hopping around on the field.
Injuries are always a part of the game of football, but it’s always a shame when they occur. I would have loved to see what Keith, Archer and the rest of the offensive squad could have done to Arkansas State in the second half. Who knows? If Archer decides not to enter the NFL draft this year, we could see him give Kent State a second chance in another bowl game. I know we would all love to have No. 1 lead our Golden Flashes up and down the field one more time.
This past year, there have been a few sports stories in the limelight ruining respected athletes’ reputations. Former Major League Baseball players, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, were all nominated for the 2013 Hall of Fame Class, but each were denied induction after years of accusations relating to performance-enhancing drug use during their careers. Lance Armstrong is another athlete contemptuously regarded by the media after finally admitting to doping during his cycling career. Well done, by the way, Oprah. If there was anyone who was going to get Armstrong’s confession interview, we all knew it would be you!
These stories were the weirdest in the sports world this past year, that is, until Manti Te’o and his girlfriend Lennay Kekua showed up to the party. Te’o’s reputation has been soiled because of his girlfriend. Here’s the kicker: his girlfriend isn’t real.
When I first heard the story about this monumental fabrication, I was absolutely shocked. Only in sports, I told myself. Sports scandals happen regularly, but the Te’o’s story raised the bar of outlandishness.
I guess it’s not completely Teo’s fault. Just recently, it was revealed that the person with whom Te’o was corresponding with was actually a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. According to Tuiasosopo’s interview with Dr. Phil, he concocted Te’o’s girlfriend because he was in love with Te’o. Well, rather, his “character” Lennay was in love with Te’o. Talk about creepy, huh? When I admire an athlete, I usually try to go to a few sporting events and attempt to get a few autographs. I didn’t realize the new trend was to trick athletes into thinking that you’re their girlfriend.
I realize that Notre Dame, the National Football League and others find this story to be serious and something that should be looked upon as “no laughing matter.” However, I cannot help but chuckle a little. There are so many questions to this bizarre story that still need answered. I mean, why didn’t Te’o ever wish to see this estranged girlfriend? Was it really Tuiasosopo on the phone with Te’o when he called him, or did Tuiasosopo have someone else converse with Te’o? And if it really were Tuiasosopo on the line, wouldn’t Te’o have been a little suspicious of the manly voice on the other end of the telephone? I know I would be!
The story is still a bit sketchy in regard to certain details, so the only thing to do now is wait and see if the plot will thicken any more. Will it hurt Te’o in the upcoming NFL Draft? Only time will tell.
I still wish Te’o the best of luck in his athletic endeavors, commend his efforts on the field and regard him as a talented football player. His lack of judgment, however, leaves a lot to be desired. In the meantime, maybe he should try Christian Mingle or eHarmony for better results.