CMU wrestling wins prestigious tournament
The Central Michigan University wrestling team won the Reno Tournament of Champions at Reno, Nev. on Dec. 20 for the first time.
They scored 132.5 points to beat four-time defending national champion Oklahoma State, which had 131 points and had won the tournament four consecutive years.
The Chippewas had five wrestlers advance to the finals.
However, all five failed to win an individual title.
“That tournament has always revolved around (OSU),” said coach Tom Borrelli. “I think it’s the first step in the process – we had five finalists. We were disappointed in our final round. We have to have guys who are hungry for individual titles.”
Sophomore Trevor Stewart (165 pounds) and juniors Brandon Sinnott (174), Christian Sinnott (184), Wynn Michalak (197) and Bubba Gritter (heavyweight) all finished second.
The No. 10 Chippewas are now looking to duplicate the performance at the NCAA Championships in March at Auburn Hills.
“It’s good for us to beat (OSU), but we could have wrestled better in some situations,” Michalak said. “It really helped to have that many people going deep in the tournament because that’s what we need at the national tournament.”
Stewart won five consecutive matches as the No. 3 seed but lost to OSU’s defending national champ Johnny Hendricks in the finals. Hendricks won 15-5 and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Brandon and Christian Sinnott and Michalak were seeded No. 1 in their weight classes. Brandon Sinnott lost 9-4 to the University of California-Davis’ Ken Cook in the finals.
Christian Sinnott advanced to the finals with two wins by major decision and one by technical fall but also lost in the finals. Cal State Fullerton’s Ian Murphy won the title with a 5-1 win.
Michalak pinned his first two opponents and won by decision in his next two matches to advance to the finals. Northwestern’s Mike Tamilow ended Michalak’s bid for a second consecutive title at the tournament with a 6-2 win.
Gritter, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 2 seed Ty Watterson of Oregon State in the semifinals but lost to California-Poly’s Cody Parker 10-3 in the finals.
“Getting five finalists was huge,” Christian Sinnott said. “We probably took them for granted in the finals. I think we took some huge steps and showcased the character of our team. We’re improving and improving fast.”
Juniors Luke Smith (125 pounds), Brandon Carter (149) and Eric Neil (157) also placed in the top six. Smith was fourth while Carter and Neil finished sixth.
CMU returns to the mat at Midlands in Evanston, Ill. on Dec. 29-30.
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