Wrestling downs Michigan, Buffalo over the weekend
After winning their fourth consecutive match on Sunday, the Central Michigan wrestling team capped off another undefeated weekend.
"I think our guys are feeling pretty good about themselves," said head coach Tom Borrelli. "I think they gained a lot of confidence this weekend and hopefully we can keep moving forward and improve on it."
On Thursday, No. 17 CMU took on No. 10 Michigan in an attempt to reclaim their spot as the best wrestling program in the state of Michigan in one of the most highly anticipated meets of the season.
After a few back-and-forth matches, the dual meet came down to the last match between two Wisconsin natives — CMU's Newton Smerchek and UM's Ayoola Olapo.
Smerchek won the match by decision, upsetting Michigan by a score of 19-18.
In CMU's match on Sunday at Buffalo, the Central Michigan wrestlers dominated winning by a score of 35-3 against another Mid-American Conference team.
These two wins set CMU's record at 7-2 on the season, and 4-2 in MAC dual meets.
"We just have to keep improving," Borrelli said. "Obviously Oliver and Heffernan are ranked the highest, but we want to keep moving up with Severn, Ellingwood, and Brucki. I think (Brent) Fleetwood and (Corey) Keener could sneak in there at the end of the year depending on how they do in the MAC tournament and remaining schedule."
Before the Buffalo match, CMU had five of their ten starters ranked in the nation on InterMat.com. Those five wrestlers include Justin Oliver (8), Colin Heffernan (7), C.J. Brucki (20), Jordan Ellingwood (16), and Austin Severn (14).
They also had six wrestlers ranked in the top four in the MAC prior to the Buffalo match. Those wrestlers include Mason Smith (4), Oliver (2), Heffernan (2), Brucki (2), Ellingwood (3), and Severn (2). The redshirt freshman Mason Smith is on a 3-match win streak.
"I really think (Smith) is gaining confidence and feeling better about himself," Borrelli said. "You can see that in the way he is wrestling."
Wrestlers Oliver, Heffernan and Brucki lead the team with 23 wins, followed by Ellingwood who improved his win total to 21 on Sunday.
CMU has three dual meets left in the season before the MAC tournament. Two of the three are MAC dual meets against Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The last of the season is an away meet against No. 16 Wisconsin.
CMU will face Eastern Michigan in MAC dual meet on Feb. 10. The first match is scheduled for 7 p.m.