Matt Stencel earns All-American honors, wrestling finsishes 28th overall at NCAA Championships

Ohio sophomore Matt Stencel wins his match against his Purdue opponent in McGuirk Arena on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Matt Stencel walked away from the NCAA wrestling championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a seventh place finish in the 285-pound weight class. 

The sophomore heavyweight completed his 4-2 run of the tournament with a 3-1 decision over Trent Hillger of Wisconsin on March 23. On top of that, his season ended as the 54th All-American in Central Michigan wrestling history. 

Stencel started out the tournament as a No. 9 seed against No. 16 seed Chase Singeltary of Ohio State, which was a 5-2 decision for Stencel. He then earned a 17-9 major decision over Demetrius Thomas of Pittsburgh in the second bout of the tournament. 

The Oregon, Ohio native would then find himself in the consolation bracket with a 3-1 loss to the top-seeded Derek White of Oklahoma State. 

In the "wrestlebacks," Stencel defeated Michigan's Mason Parris by fall at the 2:30 mark. He would then face Youssif Hemida of Maryland, who would defeat Stencel by a 6-2 decision and would put Stencel in the seventh place match against Hillger. 

Stencel ended the 2018-19 campaign with a 31-6 record and had 19 pins. 

"I came here wanting to win a national title," Stencel said. "I came up short, I got seventh place. I learned a lot. It was a good experience, it'll be good for me next year. Little things make a big difference here."

Anthony Cassar of Penn State took the top spot in the 285-pound weight class with a victory over White to begin the Nittany Lions' domination of the tournament. 

PSU won the national championship with a team score of 137.5 and seven wrestlers earned All-American honors. Three Nittany Lions secured individual national championships. Jason Nolf won the 157-pound weight class and Bo Nickal claimed the 197. Both Nolf and Nickal were No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets. 

As for the Chippewas, they finished with a team score of 12.5, which was good enough for 28th place in the final standings. 

Sophomore Drew Hildebrandt finished his season with a 1-2 showing in the NCAA's (21-12 overall). Wrestling as the No. 13 seed, Hildebrandt defeated Gabe Townsell of Stanford with a 6-0 decision.

Hildebrandt was then defeated by fourth seeded Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State by a 5-3 decision. In the wrestlebacks, the Granger, Indiana native came up short against Alex Mackall of Iowa State with a 7-4 decision. 

Junior Logan Parks qualified for the national tournament as a No. 18 seed in the 157-pound weight class. He was quickly bounced from the championship bracket with a 5-3 decision to Illinois' Eric Barone. 

Parks then defeated Benjamin Barton of Campell with an 18-1 technical fall. The Taylor native would then be eliminated from the tournament with a fall to John Van Brill of Rutgers. 

Parks ended the season with a 24-16 record, his second consecutive winning season after struggling his freshman campaign.