Wrestling team to open MAC play Saturday in Athens, potentially without No. 2 Scotti Sentes

Head coach Tom Borrelli said the team’s goals every season are to win a Mid-American Conference regular season championship, tournament championship and compete at the NCAA Championships.

In what was a rarity one of their three goals, winning a regular season MAC Championship, was not accomplished last season.

Central Michigan will start its hunt to regain its stronghold in the regular-season against Ohio at 7 p.m. Saturday in Athens.

Last season was the second time since 1999 Central Michigan failed to win the conference regular-season championship.

“In some ways, that was a little bit of a disappointment,” head coach Tom Borrelli said.

Ohio finished third in the MAC last year with a 2-3 conference record.

The last five meets CMU competed in against the Bobcats have had drastically different margins of victory for the winner.

The Chippewas split the last two meets against the Bobcats with a win last year by two, and a loss the year before by four. But in 2007 through 2010, CMU outscored Ohio in three matches. 120-3.

“Their guys have matured,” Borrelli said. “When we had a veteran team, they were very young. Now, we’re a little younger, and they’re more (experienced).”

Senior Jarod Trice was absent from last season’s 17-15 victory, but did wrestle in Athens when the team lost 21-17 in 2011.

He defeated Jeremy Johnson, 4-2.

The two wrestlers will likely wrestle off this weekend. Trice is ranked No. 2 in the conference, and Johnson is ranked No. 3.

“(Johnson) is probably their best guy on their roster,” Borrelli said. “He hustles a lot. He wrestles at a high-pace. He’s pretty good on top.”

Senior Scotti Sentes was also not a participant in last season’s win against OU, and was one of the few bright spots in the team’s 2011 match against the Bobcats.

He gave CMU six points, pinning his opponent 5:05 into the match at 133-pounds.

Borrelli said Sentes is not guaranteed to start this weekend despite earning MAC Wrestler of the Week after winning two matches last weekend, including one over No. 17 Jamie Franco of Hofstra.

Sentes redshirted as a result of an undisclosed injury last season.

Borrelli said he wants to be sure the senior is healthy.

“He is improving; his body’s getting stronger,” Borrelli said. “He’s coming around. He had a really serious injury, and he’s getting over it.”

CMU will also take Sentes’ cohort at 133-pounds – sophomore Tyler Keselring – to Athens, and the decision regarding who will start will be made there.

Sentes concluded his interview by walking out of the wrestling room suddenly Thursday when asked about his thoughts regarding not being guaranteed a starting spot this weekend.

“I don’t want to do the interview, man,” he said. “That upset me.”

He did say he was getting healthier every day.

Sentes lost his first match in the intrasquad meet on Oct. 30, normally an indicator of who is going to start.

But Borrelli decided to place him in the starting position, and he has won three-straight, ranked No. 2 by InterMat in his weight division.