Wrestling weight class breakdown

Senior reporter D.J. Palomares and staff reporter Matthew Valinski break down the Chippewas wrestling weight classes.

125 pounds Senior Conor Beebe is the favorite to start at 125 pounds after moving down from 133. Beebe has gone to the NCAA Championships all three years while competing at CMU. Beebe was ranked No. 1 in the MAC in the preseason coaches’ poll and ranked No. 16 nationally. Beebe could get challenged by fellow senior Matt Steintrager and redshirt freshman Christian Cullinan. Beebe lost to Steintrager 3-2 at the intrasquad Oct. 30.

133 pounds Sophomore Scotti Sentes is the favorite to start for the Chippewas. As a true freshman, Sentes earned All-America honors at the 125-pound weight class. Sentes comes into the season ranked No. 9 nationally, but has been picked by the Mid-American Conferences coaches to finish second in the conference to returning champion Danny Mitcheff from Kent State.

141 pounds The starter right now is junior Ryan Cubberly, with sophomore Jeff Shutich battling for the starting spot. Shutich was picked to finish third in the MAC behind NIU’s Pat McLemore and OU’s Germaine Lindsey. Cubberly has moved into the starting spot after going 33-11 in the past two years competing for the Chippewas. Shutich moved into the team’s starting lineup last season and defeated McLemore and Lindsey last year in dual matches.

149 pounds Senior Tony D’Alie finished second in the conference at the 141-pound weight class last season despite sitting out most of the dual matches with a wrist injury. He chose to bump up a weight class for his final season with a preseason No. 19 national ranking. D’Alie also moved into one of the strongest weight classes in the conference — he is picked to finish fourth.

157 pounds Senior Steve Brown is returning for his last season looking for his first All-America honors. At 149 pounds last year, Brown won the MAC Championship, defeating Buffalo’s Desmond Green 6-1 in the finals, and went 3-2 at NCAAs, losing to the eventual third-place finisher Wisconsin’s Kyle Ruschell. Brown is predicted to finish first in the MAC and also is ranked No. 8 nationally.

165 pounds The Chippewas were forced to replace Trevor Stewart at the 165 spot after he graduated with two consecutive MAC Tournament victories. Senior Tyler Grayson will battle with sophomore Eric Cubberly for the starting spot. Grayson finished second in the conference at the 157-pound weight class last year and is picked to finish second in the MAC at 165 this season. The conference favorite is Kent State senior Obie Smith, who was pinned last season by Stewart in the conference finals.

174 pounds Mike Miller comes into the season as the No. 1 ranked 174-pound wrestler in the nation. However, redshirt freshman Ben Bennett is set to challenge Miller for the starting spot. Miller is picked first in the MAC and is coming off a season which concluded with a loss to Michigan’s Steve Luke, 8-4, in the NCAA finals. Along the way, Miller defeated No. 2 Michael Cannon from American University and avenged a regular-season loss by beating No. 3 Brandon Browne of Nebraska. Miller could be challenged by Cornell’s Mack Lewnes, who went undefeated throughout the season before losing both matches in the NCAA Tournament.

184 pounds This weight class is a toss-up after the graduation of last season’s starter, Vince DiDona. If freshmen Ben Bennett does not win the starting spot at 174 pounds, he will likely compete here. Bennett dominated wrestling unattached throughout his redshirt year last season, capturing three tournament titles and finishing in the top four in every tournament he competed in. Freshman Raylen Davis may get the start in the beginning of the season with junior Mike Miller being out with an injury. Davis captured a state championship his senior season at Royal Oak High School before joining the program.

197 pounds Senior Eric Simaz will be back for his second season at 197 pounds after finishing third in the MAC last season, going 13-15 overall and 4-1 in duals. Simaz is predicted to finish second in the MAC, with No. 20 Jimmy Hamel of Buffalo picked to win. Simaz defeated Hamel in the regular season matchup 7-4, but Hamel won the match at the MAC Tournament 3-1 in overtime.

285 pounds Sophomore Jarod Trice took over the starting spot last season, finishing second in the MAC. He is ranked No. 11 in the nation coming into the season and has been picked as the overwhelming favorite in the conference. Trice struggled last season against top 20 opponents, losing nine of his ten matches. However, six of those losses were within one takedown of winning.