Christian Cullinan leads wrestling team to ninth place finish at MSU Open Sunday

Four Central Michigan wrestlers finished in the top three in their weight class bracket Sunday at the annual Michigan State Open in East Lansing.

Senior Christian Cullinan finished second among 125-pound wrestlers, leading the Chippewas with 22 team points. He recorded back-to-back pins before losing to Pittsburgh's Anthony Zanetta by a 4-3 decision.

Junior Joe Roth finished right behind Cullinan in third at 125 pounds with 19 points. Sophomore Tyler Keselring and redshirt freshman Lucas Smith each finished third at 133 pounds and 157 pounds, respectively.

Roth won third place by an injury default to Connor Youtsey of Michigan, who couldn’t finish the match.

Smith recorded a pin in 4:23 to open the day but dropped his second match by a 5-4 decision to Columbia's Jake O'Hara, who went on to win the weight class. Smith bounced back in the consolation bracket, recording two pins, including one in 52 seconds against Indiana Tech's James Bennett.

Overall, CMU finished ninth out of the 30 teams competing with eight team pins and 171.5 points.

"This tournament wasn't perfect, but it showed some things that we are doing well and some things we will have to work on for later," head coach Tom Borrelli said.

The day began for the Chippewas with 133 pounder Keselring’s 13-4 win over Kam Olsen of Olivet.

Wrestling continued as Cullinan, Nick Becker, Smith, Joey Kielbasa, Donnie Corby, Ty Davis and Mike Ottinger each won enough matches to ensure they placed in the top six in their weight classes.

Ohio finished first in the annual tournament with 236 points, due largely to having 18 pins – the most pins of any team. Kent State followed in second with 278 points and 15 pins. Eastern Michigan came in third with 182.5 points and 15 pins.

Borrelli said he is looking forward to his guys competing with the same wrestlers down the stretch.

"It's good for these guys to wrestle the same people they will have to beat later on in the season," he said.

The Chippewas came into the match looking to continue success against teams in the Big 10 and Mid-American Conferences after their 21-16 win over Michigan in the season opener Tuesday.

CMU's top three wrestlers, No. 2 Scotti Sentes (133-pounder), No. 4 Jarod Trice (heavyweight) and No. 5 Ben Bennett (184-pounder), did not make the trip.

The team will be back in action on Nov. 24 at the Northeast Duals in Troy, N.Y.