MOUNT PLEASANT — Senior Ben Bennett was named the Chick Sherwood Award winner as Central Michigan’s most valuable wrestler at the wrestling program’s postseason awards banquet Sunday.
Bennett, the first four-time All-American in program history, wins the award for the third time in four seasons. He was 32-2 overall in 2012, entering the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa with a perfect 28-0 record. Bennett was dominant in his second season at 184 pounds, posting 23 bonus-point victories en route to a fourth Mid-American Conference championship and a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors. He also claimed his first career Midlands Championships title in 2012-13.
Bennett was also recognized with the program’s Most Dominant Wrestler award.
The Harry Richards Coaches Award went to sophomore 165-pounder Mike Ottinger. After starting the season below .500, Ottinger rebounded to win 14 consecutive matches and claim his second-straight 165-pound title at the MAC Championships and earn his second-straight trip to the NCAA Championships.
Senior Christian Cullinan was tabbed as the program’s Most Improved Wrestler. Cullinan finished 22-9 in his final season wearing the Maroon and Gold singlet, qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career. He ranked in the top 12 at 125 pounds throughout much of his senior campaign and recorded a third-place finish at the Midlands Championships.
True freshman Nick Becker was named the Freshman of the Year. Becker competed at tournaments unattached during the 2012-13 season, posting a 26-7 record at 165 pounds. He finished his season on an 11-match winning streak
Lucas Smith was recognized as CMU’s Redshirt Wrestler of the Year. Smith posted an overall record of 22-12 and qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing third at 157 pounds as the No. 5 seed at the MAC Championships.
Junior Scott Mattingly was also recognized at the banquet with an award for the most falls.CMU matched a program record with 17 dual victories in 2012-13, claiming a MAC regular season title and finishing second at the MAC Championships. The Chippewas finished 18th at the NCAA Championships with 30.5 points, and Bennett combined with senior Jarod Trice to produce multiple All-Americans for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.