In its first home dual in more than two months, Central Michigan returns to McGuirk Arena to continue Mid-American Conference competition against Buffalo at 2 p.m. Saturday.
After beating Ohio University last Saturday in Athens, Ohio, the Chippewas look to continue their dominance in the MAC. Going back over a decade to the 1997-1998 season, CMU wrestling has won 71 of its last 75 MAC duals.
More specifically, the Chippewas look to continue their dominance against the Bulls, whom they have never lost a dual to in school history (17-0). In last year’s dual against Buffalo, CMU took all but two matches, winning 30-6. Despite the win and the resounding record against the Bulls, head coach Tom Borrelli always knows there is room for improvement.
“Our goal is to keep improving. We can’t control rankings, but if we rise in them, that’s gravy,” Borrelli said.
The Chippewas come into this match with four players ranked in the top 15 in the nation and three of them in the top five. The Bulls also has two wrestlers ranked in the top 20 who will try to put an end to CMU’s streak over Buffalo.
After missing last Saturday’s dual, No. 2 Scotti Sentes (3-0) will return and most likely face the Bulls’ No. 19 Erik Galloway (9-3) or Justin Farmer (4-8) in the 133 weight class.
“I expect Scotti to wrestle well. He decided it was best for him to rest last week, so I know he is excited to wrestle this Saturday,” Borrelli said.
Another interesting match up will be sophomore Mike Ottinger (4-6, 0-1 MAC) vs. Buffalo’s No. 13 senior Mark Lewandowski (13-1) for the 165 weight class. Ottinger will be fighting hard to gain his first conference win of the year.
Only three underclassmen will wrestle Saturday, all of whom look to avenge loses from last week and gain their first conference victory of the year.
“I expect all three underclassmen to wrestle better,” Borrelli said. “Ottinger was caught early in a hold and had to fight his way back the whole match. I would like to see Lucas Smith be more aggressive and for Jackson Lewis to wrestle better from the bottom.”
After not winning the MAC regular-season title last year for the first time in a decade, the Chippewas are determined to reclaim their spot on the top, and it all starts with these early MAC duals.
CMU will lean on its senior leadership this Saturday to help the three underclassmen obtain their first conference win and the team’s second conference win of the season.