Borrelli and Bennett honored with MAC wrestling awards
Central Michigan wrestling coach Tom Borrelli and junior Ben Bennett earned Mid-American Conference honors Friday.
Borrelli received his 12th MAC Coach of the Year award.
“It just means I’ve coached a lot of really, really good wrestlers,” Borrelli said. “They’re the ones that have to win the matches for me to get those awards.”
Bennett was named MAC Wrestler of the Year. He is the fifth CMU wrestler to win the award.
“I think that’s well-deserved for him,” Borrelli said. “I felt like he had a very good season. He wrestled a really tough schedule and performed well all year long. I know at nationals he would have liked to have a little better outcome, but I feel like in the entirety of his whole season he was very consistent.”
While Bennett grappled successfully with the experience of two finishes in the top eight of the NCAA Championships in previous seasons, Borrelli was dealt a hand of young wrestlers.
He brought seven underclassmen to Athens, Ohio to compete in the MAC championships and six finished in the top three, aiding in keeping the Chippewas MAC Tournament Championship streak alive at 11 straight.
“I just felt like they had a good attitude all year,” Borrelli said. “They didn’t get down on themselves and they kept improving.”
Borrelli also tallied his 300th win in duals along the way. His record is 306-134-8 in his 26 seasons as a head coach. He added 14 wins and suffered 9 losses this season to bring his record with the Chippewas to 260-109-7 in 21 seasons.
He has had 36 All-Americans go through his system at CMU, eighth most among active coaches in the country.
Bennett had 26 wins in his freshman season and has increased the number by four each of the following years to make his record 34-8 this season. His career winning percentage is .804, which would be the fifth best in CMU wrestling history.
This year he was a MAC Champion and an All-American for the third straight season. There are nine other Chippewas who have won three MAC titles, and there are two who have been named All-American three times.
Three awards were handed out by the MAC. They were selected by the six head coaches of the conference. The freshman of the year was given to Kent State’s Ian Miller.
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