MAC Wrestling Tournament: Four Chippewas advance to title matches, five to consolation matches
After the first day of competition in Ypsilanti, Central Michigan wrestling sits in second place of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The Chippewas' 76 points is topped only by No. 6 Missouri's 103.5. The first-place Tigers are the favorites to win the tournament, which would be their fourth consecutive MAC Tournament title. Before 2013, CMU had won 14 of the previous 15 MAC tournaments from 1998 to 2012.
Head Coach Tom Borrelli said he's happy with his team's first day of the tournament, but would rather be in first place.
"(I told the team) to just relax and wrestle their match," Borrelli said. "We'd like to win a team championship, but Missouri has a pretty good lead right now. The most important thing is we have guys trying to get into the NCAA Tournament. We'd like to take as many guys as we can there."
Top 5 team scores
1. Missouri - 103.5
2. Central Michigan - 76.0
3. Northern Iowa - 60.0
4. Ohio - 52.5
5. Kent State - 49.0
Borrelli said he thinks eight CMU wrestlers could potentially qualify for the NCAA Tournament by tomorrow's end.
The Chippewas will have nine wrestlers overall competing tomorrow. Four of the nine wrestlers will compete for a MAC championship and the other five will wrestle in the consolation semi-finals. The MAC has 41 bids to be punched to the NCAA Tournament in New York.
Junior 133-pounder Corey Keener, redshirt freshman 149-pounder Justin Oliver, Senior 174-pound wrestler Mike Ottinger and redshirt sophomore 184-pounder Jordan Ellingwood all advanced to the finals.
Sophomore Brent Fleetwood (125), senior Zach Horan (141), senior Lucas Smith (157), redshirt sophomore Colin Heffernan (165) and redshirt sophomore Newton Smerchek (285) will all continue their journey to the NCAA Tournament tomorrow via the consolation rounds.
"I'm not too concerned about any of (the matches)," Borrelli said. "We just have to be ourselves and be sure to wrestle in the positions we're good in and make sure we force (opponents) to wrestle from those positions. We have some matches (tomorrow) that could go either way. Anytime you're in a tournament like this, things are pretty evenly matched."
The doors open at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti tomorrow at 11 a.m. Consolation matches begin at noon and championship matches begin at 1:05 p.m.
Stay with CM Life for more coverage of the MAC Wrestling Tournament tomorrow from the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan.