CM Life wrestling athlete of the year: Jarod Trice

Erica Kearns/Staff Photographer

Jarod Trice

Junior Jarod Trice is the 2011 CM Life Athlete of the Year after finishing fourth at the NCAA Tournament – the best finish by a heavyweight in CMU history.

The Highland Park native finished 29-5 on the season, including a perfect 5-0 against Mid-American Conference teams. As a Chippewa, he improved to 79-22 overall.

One of Trice’s biggest victories of the season came against Kent State on Feb. 20. With five seconds remaining in the dual-meet season, Trice scored a takedown against Brendan Barlow, sealing a share of the MAC title for the Chippewas.

He went on to beat Barlow again in the MAC Tournament finals by a 3-2 overtime decision to claim the heavyweight conference title for the first time in his three-year career.

Trice came into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed, and gained All-American status for the second straight season, finishing fourth.

Since the conclusion of the season, Trice finished fourth at the U.S. Open, securing a spot in the World Team Trials in June. From there, a top finish will gain him eligibility for Olympic training during the 2011-12 season.

Honorable Mention: Scotti Sentes

For the third time in as many years, junior Scotti Sentes qualified for the NCAA Tournament following a top finish at the MAC Tournament.

As the 11th seed, Sentes advanced to the quarterfinals of the national tournament, knocking off four higher-seeded opponents before finishing fourth in his weight class.

The 133-pound All-American finished with a 35-8 record, picking up wins in all five of his conference matches.

Honorable Mention: Ben Bennett

Sophomore Ben Bennett finished eighth at the NCAA Tournament among 174-pounders, earning All-American status for the second consecutive year.

He defended his 174-pound MAC title, finishing first amongst conference wrestlers for the second straight year, beating Ohio’s Nick Purdue in the finals by a 4-1 decision.

Bennett’s 14 dual victories marked a team-high, finishing 30-8 overall. He posted runner-up finishes at the Body Bar Invitational and Cliff Keen Invitational.