Wrestling opens regular season Sunday against Tennessee-Chattanooga
The wrestling team walked off the mat Feb. 19 failing to clinch a Mid-American Conference regular-season championship for the first time since 1998.
The team, undeterred by the loss, went on to win its ninth consecutive MAC Tournament title. CMU placed two wrestlers in All-American status and finish as one of the top 15 teams in the nation.
“We put a lot of emphasis on winning a regular-season MAC Championship,” said coach Tom Borrelli. “But in the long run, it is probably one of the least important things we do. You don’t qualify for nationals unless you win the conference tournament, and you can’t become an All-American without getting to the national tournament.”
CMU opens its season this weekend against Tennessee-Chattanooga at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rose Arena.
“We are motivated,” said sophomore heavyweight Jarod Trice. “We want to win a MAC championship but, more importantly, we have been working to improve our placement nationally.”
The team also is returning 149-pounder Tony D’Alie, 157-pounder Steve Brown and 125-pounder Conor Beebe, all seniors.
“We have some pretty good senior leadership on this team,” Borrelli said. “They have had a really good summer and have brought that into the preseason.”
CMU also will insert some new faces into the roster as freshman Ben Bennett will join the squad after redshirting last season.
Central is ranked 13th in the nation as a team and is picked by MAC coaches to win the conference championship.
The Mocs started slow this season, with dual losses to Kent State and Virginia Tech. Freshman 174-pounder Jake Young (6-1) has been one of the bright spots for the team, taking a tournament title at the Hokie Open.
“It is going to be a really good dual for us.” Borrelli said. “They are pretty competitive and it will be a good start for our season.”