No. 12 wrestling is looking to maintain the top spot in the Mid-American Conference this weekend when it hits the road against Northern Illinois and Missouri.
CMU will face the Huskies today and history is in its favor. The Chippewas are 30-22-2 all-time against NIU, and have not lost to the Huskies since 2003.
CMU will then head south to battle MAC newcomer, No. 7 Missouri, on Sunday. The Tigers have eight wrestlers that are ranked in the top-20 and of those eight; five are ranked in the top-ten according to Intermat Tournament Strength Rankings.
“We’re feeling excited and ready to go against good competition,” said senior 184-pounder Ben Bennett. “This is why we work hard, to see it pay off.”
The Chippewas have not had a conference road dual dating back to Dec. 1, 2012, but CMU’s history in MAC competition is sterling. It has won 72 of their last 76 MAC duals both home and away.
“I think our record in the MAC gives our guys some confidence,” said head coach Tom Borrelli. “But not just in the MAC; against all good competition.”
Coming into this weekend’s duals, CMU has fallen three spots in the rankings, from No. 9 to No. 12, even with a third-place finish last weekend at the Virginia Duals.
“Rankings don’t mean much to me,” Bennett said. “It’s someone else’s opinion. Regardless there is still a lot of work to do and to improve on.”
The Chippewas have plenty to be happy for, despite a drop in rankings. CMU currently has five wrestlers in the top-20, four of which are in the top ten. Also the Chippewas, during a time that the flu is spreading, are in good health.
“We’re really happy about our teams health,” Borrelli said. “No one is injured or dinged up and no one is sick.”
This road trip will lead into CMU’s last home stand of the season, which continues conference wrestling Jan. 27 against Kent State.
The team will remain at home through the beginning of February (Feb. 3 vs. Old Dominion, Feb. 8 vs. Eastern Michigan).