DeKALB, Ill. – Central Michigan has won its 10th consecutive Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships title.
The Chippewas scored 79 team points to finish ahead of Kent State (73.5) and Buffalo (69.5) in the closest team race since Miami edged CMU, 75-73.5, in 1992. The team title is CMU’s 15th overall, tied with Ohio for the most in MAC history.
Claiming individual titles for CMU were junior Scotti Sentes at 133 pounds, sophomore Ben Bennett at 174 pounds and junior Jarod Trice at heavyweight. Both Sentes and Bennett claim their second career MAC titles, while Trice is a conference champion for the first time.
All three earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. At-large bids to the national tournament will be announced Wednesday.
“I’m pretty happy for our team,” said CMU head coach Tom Borrelli. “We went through a lot this year. We wrestled a really tough schedule and our guys got beat down a little bit, but they rebounded well in the last month of the regular season. We needed every single point to win this tournament, and all 10 guys were a part of that. This is a pretty special championship.”
Sentes was in control from start to finish against Kent State’s Tyler Small in the 133-pound championship match. Sentes scored his first takedown just 33 seconds into the bout, then rode Small for the remaining 2:27 of the first period. Sentes reversed Small off the opening whistle in the second period, then added a pair of takedowns in the third period. His 4:24 riding time advantage provided the final margin in the 9-1 major decision.
Bennett claimed the Chippewas’ second individual title, grinding out a 4-1 decision against Ohio’s Nick Purdue in the finals at 174 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Bennett rode Purdue for the first 1:39 of the second period before Purdue escaped. Bennett evened the score with a quick escape in the third period, scored the bout’s only takedown moments later and built a 2:56 riding time advantage.
At heavyweight, Trice outlasted Kent State’s Brendan Barlow in a match that went to the second tiebreaker. Trice and Barlow traded escapes in regulation, send the match to sudden victory tied 1-1. Neither wrestler scored in the 60-second sudden victory period, sending the match to the first tiebreaker where Trice and Barlow traded escapes.
A second scoreless sudden victory period sent the bout to a second tiebreaker. Trice rode out Barlow in the first 30-second period, forcing Barlow to cut Trice loose to open the second 30-second period. The escape point proved to be the difference in Trice’s 3-2 decision.
CMU split its six championship matches on Sunday, with Scott Mattingly (141), Donnie Corby (149) and Mike Miller (165) each falling in the finals.
At 141, Mattingly and Buffalo’s Andrew Schutt were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. In the sudden victory period, Schutt countered a Mattingly shot and took Mattingly to his back for a five-point move and the 6-1 decision.
In the finals at 149 pounds, Buffalo’s Desi Green scored a takedown at the first period buzzer for a 2-0 lead over Corby. An escape at the second period buzzer drew Corby within 2-1, but he was forced to cut Green loose in the third period and fell 3-1.
Miller’s quest for a third conference title came up one point short at 165 pounds. Buffalo’s John-Martin Cannon took Miller down in the first period, but conceded an escape later in the period and again to open the second period. Miller scored his only takedown later in the second period and led 4-3 entering the third period. Miller conceded an escape midway through the third, and Cannon scored the winning takedown when he shot in on Miller’s ankle off a restart late in the period.
Miller later dropped a true-second match to Kent State’s Ross Tice to finish third in the 165-pound bracket.
Also placing third for the Chippewas were Christian Cullinan (125) and Craig Kelliher (184). Ryan Cubberly placed fourth at 157 pounds.