No. 9 wrestling finished third at the 33rd annual Virginia Duals over the weekend after a tough loss to No. 19 Virginia on Saturday.
After dominating Rider and North Dakota State on Friday, CMU was in the semifinal round against the Cavaliers.
Coming into the meet, Virginia had six players ranked in the top-20 nationally by Intermat.
“We had a big challenge ahead of us,” said head coach Tom Borrelli. “Virginia has a lot of players ranked nationally. We had to wrestle a little above our heads.”
The Cavaliers started off the round strong, gaining a quick 3-0 lead with a 4-0 loss by senior Christian Cullinan in the 125 weight class. As the round went on, the more of a dogfight it became. The Chippewas found themselves having to wrestle back into the match several times.
Seniors Donnie Corby and Scotti Sentes both had victories that helped CMU tie up the team score at six.
However, Virginia would go on a run and take the team scores to 16-6 following a string of match losses for the Chippewas.
Senior Ben Bennett would have an overwhelming 10-2 victory to cut the deficit 10-16. But, the Cavaliers would soon run away with the semi-final round 20-13.
With a loss against Virginia, CMU found itself in the third-place round against Edinboro University.
“Coach told us we had to wrestle harder going into the round against Edinboro,” said freshman Lucas Smith. “We were a little flat against Virginia but came out with some fire in the third-place round.”
Cullinan would avenge his earlier loss with an impressive 12-4 win to immediately put the Chippewas up 4-0. But, with a loss by Sentes and sophomore Scott Mattingly, CMU would find itself on the wrong end of a 7-4 score.
Fortunately for the Chippewas, Corby saved the day with a much-needed 3-2 match victory to even up the team scores at seven. Smith would win his match 4-0 to put CMU up 10-7.
“We feed off the older guys on the team, and we try our best to help the team and perform for the seniors on the team,” Smith said.
The third-place round was one-sided after the win by Smith, with the Chippewas gaining a final victory of 25-10 against the Fighting Scots.
“We came out with purpose against Edinboro,” Borrelli said. “I was disappointed with our effort against Virginia but thought we bounced back well.”
The Chippewas now look ahead to a road match-up on Friday against Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois.