Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
NORFOLK, Va. – Central Michigan won the final five matches, two of them by major decision, in downing Old Dominion, 23-13, in a Mid-American Conference dual on Sunday at the Monarchs’ Ted Constant Center.
The win lifted 16th-ranked CMU to 7-4, 4-1 MAC. It was the Chippewas’ seventh win in their last eight duals. Old Dominion is 7-8, 3-2. CMU entertains Eastern Michigan in a MAC dual on Friday, Feb. 9 (7 p.m.).
“The last five matches we wrestled well,” CMU coach Tom Borrelli said. “We did what we needed to do, and we got bonus points in a couple of the matches.”
The Chippewas went in to Sunday’s dual at ODU without two regulars, 149-pounder Justin Oliver and 157-pounder Colin Heffernan. Oliver, who was injured two weeks ago in a dual with Missouri, is ranked fourth by InterMat.com. The 14th-ranked Heffernan wrestled on Saturday at the Edinboro Open, posting a 4-0 record in winning his weight class and improving to 11-4 on the season.
A wrestler is required to have 17 matches against Division I competition in order to qualifier for an RPI, an important measure as the NCAA Championship loom. Getting Heffernan four matches on Saturday at Edinboro, rather than just one on Sunday in the dual, will help to that end, Borrelli said.
Oliver was healthy enough to wrestle at Old Dominion, but Borrelli said he wanted to give the junior – an All-American two years ago who harbors legitimate aspirations of finishing among the elite again this year – a little more rest as the season hits the stretch run.
“I just felt like this was a long trip, a tough trip,” Borrelli said. “I’d rather bring him back when we’re at home.”
The Monarchs won four of the first five matches on Sunday to seize a 13-6 lead. CMU’s lone victory during that stretch came at 141, where ninth-ranked Mason Smith recorded his fifth pin of the season.
In each of those four losses, CMU wrestled a freshman or a redshirt freshman.
“In four of those first five matches I felt like we’re better than that,” Borrelli said. “Little frustrated with that and I think we can get better there. Those are young guys that we’re trying to bring around. You just want them to represent themselves a little bit better.
“It’s not as much about wins and losses as it is about them feeling good about themselves after they wrestle.”
Logan Parks started the Chippewas’ streak of five-consecutive victories with an 8-1 win at 165. CMU then got wins from CJ Brucki (174), Jordan Ellingwood (184), Jordan Atienza (197) and Matt Stencel (285). Ellingwood and Atienza both posted major-decision wins, both by 12-4 scores.
“I think if we are healthy, and I think we will be at the end of the year, I’m real excited not only about the conference tournament, but also nationally,” Borrelli said.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 26, OLD DOMINION 13
125: Michael McGee (ODU) dec. Drew Hildebrandt, 3-2
133: Caleb Richardson (ODU) dec. Dresden Simon, 5-2
141: Mason Smith (CMU) pinned Mason Wohltman, 2:52
149: Alex Madrigal (ODU) dec. Nolan Saxton, 1-0
157: Larry Early (ODU) major dec. Blake Montrie, 10-2
165: Logan Parks (CMU) dec. Luke Drugac, 8-1
174: CJ Brucki (CMU) dec. Seldon Wright, 4-1
184: Jordan Ellingwood (CMU) major dec. Antonio Agee, 12-4
197: Jordan Atienza (CMU) major dec. Noah Bushman, 12-4
285: Matt Stencel (CMU) dec. Ali Wahab, 7-2