DES MOINES, Iowa — Seniors Ben Bennett and Jarod Trice are each just a win away from becoming All-Americans and Central Michigan has six wrestlers remain following Session II of the NCAA Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
As a team, the Chippewas are currently in 21st place with nine team points. Penn State leads the tournament with 32.5 points.
Bennett advanced to the quarterfinals of the 184-pound division with a major decision of North Carolina’s Alex Utley, 10-0. The two seed led just 1-0 after two periods, but grabbed an early takedown in the third and twice put Utley to his back for three-point near falls to claim the convincing victory.
He will wrestle No. 7 seed Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland Friday morning and a win would make him the first wrestler in program history to earn four All-America honors.
Trice advanced to the quarterfinals at 285 in the same convincing fashion, controlling his match versus No. 7 Connor Medberry from start to finish for a 6-4 decision. The senior had an early first-period takedown, but saw Medbery earn a pair of escapes to tie the match 2-2 through the first two periods. Trice started the third down and earned an escape just 10 seconds in to grab the lead and put things away with another takedown midway through the period.
A match versus No. 2 seed Tony Nelson awaits Trice in the quarterfinals.
“Ben was Ben out there today,” head coach Tom Borrelli said. “When he gets in his positions of advantage he knows how to score points. I thought the difference in Trice’s match was his aggressiveness. He scored a first-period takedown and that’s probably the best match he’s wrestled all year.”
Four Chippewas also remain and will continue their fight back through the consolation bracket Friday morning in senior Christian Cullinan, senior Scotti Sentes, senior Donnie Corby and junior Craig Kelliher.
Cullinan fell to No. 4 Nicholoas Megadulis (Penn State) by a 5-2 decision, while Sentes lost to No. 7 Jonathon Morrison (Oklahoma State), 3-1.
Corby and Kelliher kept stayed alive in the tournament with victories in the first round of wrestlebacks during the second session.
Corby jumped out in front with an early takedown and built a 3-1 advantage with an escape in the second period. Richardson was able to cut the gap and even tied the match on a stalling point by Corby, but the senior had 1:54 of riding time accumulated to secure the 4-3 decision.
Kelliher needed overtime to earn his first career NCAA Tournament victory, defeating Leroy Munster (Northwestern), 3-2. The two wrestlers entered overtime tied, 1-1, and neither was able to earn the win in the sudden victory period. Kelliher was the first to start down in the tiebreaker and reversed Munster to take a 3-1 lead. Munster was able to earn an escape point, but Kelliher held off multiple shots to stay alive.
“Our guys are going to have to keep figuring out how to win,” Borrelli said. “This is about advancing and winning matches. It’s not about how you look and those kind of things, but the first thing we have to do is get our hand raised.”
125 pounds – Christian Cullinan
First Round: W, decision Joe DeAngelo (N.C. State), 7-2
Second Round: L, decision No. 4 Nicholas Megadulis (Penn State), 5-2
Consolation Second Round: vs. Edward Kilmara (Okla. State)
133 pounds – No. 10 Scotti Sentes
First Round: W, major decision Jimmy Morris (Rider), 13-2
Second Round: L, decision No. 7 Jonathon Morrison (Okla. State), 3-1
Consolation Second Round: vs. Matt Bystol (Columbia)
149 pounds – Donnie Corby
First Round: L, decision Dan Osterman (Michigan State), 3-1 SV
Consolation First Round: W, decision Alexander Richardson (ODU), 4-3
Consolation Second Round: vs. Raymond Borja (Navy)
157 pounds – Lucas Smith
First Round: L, major decision, No. 7 Jesse Dong (Va. Tech), 8-0
Consolation First Round: L, fall No. 10 Roger Pena (Oregon State), 2:29
165 pounds – Mike Ottinger
Preliminary round: L, decision Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana), TB1 5-3
Consolation preliminary: L, decision Austin Wilson (Nebraska), 6-2
174 pounds – Craig Kelliher
First Round: L, decision No. 3 Michael Evans (Iowa), 2-0
Consolation First Round: W, decision Leroy Munster (Northwestern), TB1 3-2
Consolation Second Round: vs. Cody Walters (Ohio)
184 pounds – No. 2 Ben Bennett
First Round: W, decision Tony Dallago (Illinois), 7-3
Second Round: W, major decision Alex Utley (UNC), 10-0
Quarterfinals: vs. No 7 Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland)
Heavyweight – No. 10 Jarod Trice
First Round: W, decision Daniel Miller (Navy), 2-0
Second Round: W, decision No. 7 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 6-4
Quarterfinals: vs. No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota)