The Central Michigan wrestling team opened up Mid-American Conference play Saturday with a 23-12 victory over the Ohio Bobcats in Athens, Ohio.
All of the CMU upperclassmen won their matches, though the underclassmen struggled, finishing 1-3 in the contest.
“I think our younger players are learning to compete at this level,” head coach Tom Borrelli said. “They have a lot of things to improve on, but they are learning.”
Heavyweight Jarod Trice (No. 4) got the night started off on the right foot with a 3-1 decision over Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson.
Junior Joe Roth fed off the win by Trice, following the heavyweight match with a 12-3 major decision at the 125-pound weight class.
Sophomore 133-pounder Tyler Keselring won by major decision, 10-2, over the Bobcat’s Thomas Mclaughlin. CMU junior Scott Mattingly won the fourth match using reversals and riding time to put CMU up 14-0 following the 141-pound matchup.
CMU’s first loss of the night wasn’t until redshirt freshman Lucas Smith fell 3-1 to Ohio’s Spartak Chino in the sudden victory period for the 157-pound weight class.
After the first loss of the night, CMU remained far ahead in the meet, 17-3. The Bobcats, however, gained another victory in the next match. Ohio’s Harrison Hightower defeated CMU sophomore Mike Ottinger in a 10-4 decision at the 165-pound weight class. Still, CMU led 17-6 in the meet.
In the penultimate match of the night, No.5 senior Ben Bennett sealed Ohio’s defeat with a pin at the six-minute mark, putting the Chippewas up 23-6.
“There are a lot of things that we need to improve on individually, because every guy has something different they can improve on,” Bennett said. “But we’re going to continue to work on technique and continue working hard.”
Before entering conference play, CMU opened the season with a tough non-conference schedule, with three of its first five matches against opponents ranked in the top fifteen.
“Playing ranked teams gives us a good picture of what we have to work on as a team and what situations we need to focus on in the future,” Borrelli said.
CMU will return home and continue conference play at 2 p.m. Saturday with a match at McGuirk Arena against Buffalo.