Stencel wins MAC Title, CMU finishes second in conference tournament
Redshirt freshman Matt Stencel captured the 2018 Mid-American Conference Championship at the heavyweight class on Sunday in McGuirk Arena.
Stencel, who entered as a fifth-seed, pinned Eastern Michigan’s Gage Hutchison in the finals.
“I knew I was the only person that could stop (me),” Stencel said. “I knew if I wrestled hard for seven minutes I would get the outcome I wanted, and that was first (place).”
Head coach Tom Borrelli is still confused on Stencel’s seeding in the tournament.
“I think (Stencel) was kind of upset he was seeded fifth,” Borrelli said. “He was the highest ranked guy coming into the tournament in the coaches polls. I don’t know how he got seeded fifth, I can’t figure that out, but it motivated him.”
Central Michigan wrestling finished the tournament in second place with 125 points. No. 3 Missouri won their sixth straight conference tournament with 177 points.
“For us to win this tournament would’ve been a stretch, but that’s the goal, to be as good as (Missouri),” Borrelli said. “We were in a dogfight with every team in the conference after that. Eastern (Michigan) had a great tournament, and our kids were savvy enough to finish second.
Senior CJ Brucki (174 pounds) and sophomore Mason Smith (141) also competed in championship matches Sunday.
Smith lost to Missouri’s Jaydin Eirman via second period technical fall. Eirman earned 11 takedowns in the bout.
Brucki clashed with Missouri’s Daniel Lewis in a rematch of Jan. 19’s matchup where Lewis scored a major decision on Brucki. Lewis pinned Brucki 1:33 into the bout Sunday to claim the 174 pound title.
All three CMU wrestlers clinched births to the NCAA Championships with their second place finishes.
Redshirt Freshman Drew Hildebrandt finished third at 125 pounds. He Knocked off EMU’s Tomas Gutierrez and Missouri’s Barlow McGhee in the process.
Hildebrandt challenged NIU’s Brock Hudkins for true second and an automatic birth to the NCAA Tournament, but fell short in double overtime.
“It was a tough tournament,” Hildebrandt said. “I felt like I wrestled well, but there’s stuff I need to improve on in the off-season. I need to get stronger, a little bigger, a little more aggressive.”
Junior Justin Oliver finished his weekend with a fourth place finish at 149 pounds. The tournament No. 2 seed defeated Old Dominion’s Kenan Carter to earn a spot to battle for third place. He would lose to EMU’s Kyle Springer in sudden victory to finish fourth.
Senior Colin Heffernan punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with a third place finish at 157 pounds. He defeated Northern Illinois’ Caden McWhirter and ODU’’s Larry Early in Sunday’s action to earn the birth.
Sophomore Logan Parks finished the 2018 MAC Championships with a third place finish at 165 pounds. Parks defeated ODU’s Shane Jones and Isaac Bast from Kent State, which pushed sudden victory.
Senior Jordan Ellingwood finished his final MAC Tournament with a fourth place finish at 184 pounds. He defeated Buffalo’s Brett Perry to compete for third, but lost to Canten Marriott from Missouri 2-1 to finish fourth.
Redshirt freshman Dresden Simon dropped both his matches Sunday en route to a sixth place finish at 133 pounds. He lost to Kent State’s Anthony Tutolo and to NIU’s Alijah Jeffery.
Junior Jordan Atienza did not compete in Sunday’s action after sustaining an injury to his right shoulder in his semifinal match Saturday. Borrelli said Atienza’s x-ray Saturday came back clean, and an MRI has yet to be done.
Atienza finished the tournament in sixth place at 197 pounds.