Atienza wins, Parks pins as wrestling defeats Purdue on Senior Day

Livonia senior Jordan Atienza celebrates senior day at his last wrestling meet in the McGuirk Arena on Sunday, Feb. 24.

It came down to the final bout. 

The battle featured seventh-ranked Matt Stencel in the 285-pound weight class. The sophomore Stencel (23-4) faced off against Jacob Aven (10-17). 

Stencel used an early takedown and mid-round dominance to secure a 4-1 decision over Aven, and, just like that, Central Michigan wrestling won the final match and defeated Purdue.

The Chippewas (5-8, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) scored a 20-15 victory over the Boilermakers (7-10, 3-6 Big Ten Conference) at McGuirk Arena. 

Senior Jordan Atienza, the spotlight of the event, used a pair of takedowns in the third period to give himself a victory on Senior Day. 

He started out conservatively and engaged in handfighting with his opponent, Max Lyon. Lyon (20-10) scored a one-point reversal in the second round after a scoreless first.

In the third, Atienza scored all of his points with his two takedowns and an escape in the first 10 seconds of the final period. That escape proved to be the difference in a 5-4 victory over Lyon. 

The win improved his record to 16-9 on the season. Despite it being his final dual in McGuirk Arena, Atienza did not let the emotions get to him.

"Leading up to the match I tried to not treat it like it was my last home dual," Atienza said. "I tried to treat it like any other day. If you get too caught up in the moment, too emotional and too excited about it, you may not wrestle the way you know you can."

Atienza said it was not his strategy to start on the defensive, but it worked out in his favor.

"I was letting the match come to me and not really forcing anything," Atienza said. "His gameplan was to come out aggressive and try to get me tired." 

The halfway point of the dual featured junior Logan Parks wrestling in the 157-pound weight class. 

Parks squared off against No. 13 Griffin Parriott who carried a 4-2 lead into the final period. 

The 13-8 overall Parriott looked to be in control of the match and secure a victory over Parks.

Parks had other ideas.

With just 49 seconds remaining in the match, Parks chased down Parriott and pulled him back for a takedown. That takedown turned into a pin and the McGuirk Arena crowd launched into a frenzy. 

Parks said the crowd helped him, and the rest of the team, bring the aggressive mentality they had been searching for all season.

"The crowd definitely hyped me up," Parks said. "I think the team today had a lot more fight in all of our matches." 

Head coach Tom Borrelli praised his upperclassmen. He said that Atienza and Parks helped swing momentum in his group's favor.

"I think (Parks) was the guy that made it possible today," Borrelli said. "Then (Atienza) really had to scrap for that win."

How it happened

In the first match, sophomore Drew Hildebrandt secured a 16-1 technical fall over Marshall Craig.

Hildebrandt, ranked 17th in the 125-pound weight class, used takedowns early and a near fall towards the middle of the match to open his lead. He finished strong to give CMU an early 5-0 advantage.

In the 133, sophomore Deven Perez dropped a 9-3 decision to Thornton. Thornton took an early edge in the bout with a couple of early takedowns, and he cruised to a victory.  

Next, redshirt freshman Drew Marten was awarded a point late in his match against Nate Limmex in the 141-pound bout. The point cut the Marten's deficit down to six. Limmex was guaranteed the riding time bonus point and was looking to score a major decision.

Limmex won the bout 12-5, but Marten avoided a major decision and an additional point for Purdue.

In the 149-pound weight class, sophomore Dresden Simon earned a takedown late in the first period on his way to a 8-3 decision over Parker Filius. 

The Dansville native moved his individual record to 8-11 with the win over Filius.

Following the intermission after Parks' match, redshirt freshman Bret Fedewa dropped an 8-4 decision to Cole Wysocki. Wysocki took a 6-2 advantage after the first round and was able to secure the four point victory.

Redshirt freshman Collin Lieber took on the No. 10-ranked Dylan Lydy in the 174-pound bout. Lieber kept Lydy at bay in the first round using handfighting and consistent defense.

In the third round, however, Lydy took Lieber down twice to secure a 7-3 decision. 

It brought the team score to 14-12 in favor of CMU with three bouts remaining.

Sophomore Landon Pelham dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 11-ranked Christian Brunner. Pelham scored a point in the final round to cut his deficit down to one, but his comeback was too little, too late. 

Then, Stencel put the finishing touches on the match win for the Chippewas.

Borrelli was excited for his team, but he believes they need just a little more time to reach their full potential.

"I'm proud of our team," Borrelli said. "We've got the right guys here, we just have to get them a little more seasoned. They're fighters, they're not going to give up and they're not going to quit."

The postseason

The Chippewas head to the MAC Championships, hosted by Old Dominion. The tournament runs March 8-9 in the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia.