Wrestling struggles in loss to NDSU

The CMU Wrestling team stands for the National Anthem on Jan. 4 at McGuirk Arena.

North Dakota State stampeded Central Michigan in a non-conference dual and snapped its two-match losing streak. 

It was a night of few bright spots for the Chippewas (3-5, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) as they fell to the Bison (7-5, 2-3 Big 12 Conference) in McGuirk Arena, 23-15.

The lone senior Jordan Atienza started out his match in the 184-pound weight class strong with a couple of early takedowns to take give himself the lead against Michael Otomo. 

Atienza had accumulated enough riding time through the first two rounds for the guaranteed insurance point, but he didn't need it due to defeating Otomo, 9-5. 

Otomo did not allow Atienza the ability to attack often. Atienza generally likes to take his shot on the left leg, but Otomo was blocking it the entire match, so Atienza was forced to adapt.

"Being persistent let me get to him," Atienza said. "When the thing you want isn't there, go for the next best thing. That was my leg attack to the other side." 

Patience and persistence was the key for Atienza, who admitted he gets himself into trouble when he forces his attack. 

I did a good job of taking what he was giving me," Atienza said. "Not forcing things and staying aggressive was the key for me."

How it happened

CMU was forced to forfeit the 125-pound weight class because Drew Hildebrandt was unable to compete, giving NDSU a 6-0 lead before either team hit the mats. 

Sophomore Deven Perez lost 9-2 to No. 15 Cam Sykora in the 133-pound match. Sykora controlled the match from the outset. 

In the 141, redshirt freshman Drew Marten defeated Sawyer Degan in a match that Marten was in full control. Marten earned a takedown to go up 4-2 in his match, and Degan then scored a takedown of his own to tie.

Dresden Simon jumped to a 10-3 lead over Jaden Van Mannen utilizing a near fall in the first period. The sophomore won the 149-pound weight class 13-9 to cut the Bison lead to 10-6. 

Junior Logan Parks jumped out to a 2-1 lead on Luke Weber in the 157-pound weight class with a strong takedown. Weber tied the match on a stalling call against Parks and then scored a takedown in the final seconds of the match to win 4-3. 

"It effects everybody," head coach Tom Borrelli said. "You can't play defense in a wrestling match. As soon as you start thinking defensively, the other guy gets life, and he can feel you're worried a little bit."

Borelli stressed being aggressive. He wants his lineup to extend their lead when they have one.

"As long as you're expanding your lead, you're probably focusing on wrestling," Borelli said. "You're not focused on the score clock, or concentrating on how to hold on."

Bret Fedewa was on the wrong end of a technical fall against No. 20 Andrew Fogharty in the 165. Fogharty nearly pinned the redshirt freshman Fedewa two different times throughout the match to score eight near fall points. 

Redshirt freshman Collin Lieber dropped an 8-2 decision to Lorenzo De La Riva. Lieber fought back against De La Riva's early attack, but it was too little, too late for Lieber. 

In the penultimate match, sophomore Landon Pelham lost hard fought match to Cordell Eaton in the 197-pound weight class. 

In Thursday's final match, No. 9 Matt Stencel took on Brandon Metz in the 285-pound weight class. The sophomore Stencel, known for winning by fall, almost suffered a fall in the first round against Metz. 

Stencel turned the match around and earned his 15th victory by fall of the season.

"Earlier in the year, I don't know if he would've had the composure to do that," Borelli said. "I've seen that in a number of his matches recently. He got thrown but had enough composure to get up and not get pinned. Matt's a pinner, if he puts a guy on his back, he's probably going to pin him."

CMU will hit the mat again against the Ohio Bobcats at 2 p.m. Feb. 3 in McGuirk Arena.