Junior Oliver takes title at 149 pounds, wrestling team finishes seventh at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Sophomore Justin Oliver wrestles against junior Colt Cotten during the match against Buffalo University on Sunday, February 7, 2016.

Justin Oliver was one of three Central Michigan wrestlers to place in the top-eight of their weight classes in the 2017 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

Oliver, a junior, was also the lone individual champion.

The No. 7 ranked wrestler at 149 pounds finished 6-0 in the two-day tournament with three wins over ranked opponents.

The Chippewas finished seventh as a team, with No. 2 Ohio State taking home the team title.

Oliver handed No. 9 Troy Heilmann of North Carolina his first loss of the season with a 9-7 victory to claim the tournament title. 

Oliver scored a 12-0 Major Decision over No. 5 Colton McCrystal of Nebraska earlier in the day to put himself in the championship.

“This is a fun tournament that gets tougher every year,” Oliver said. “It felt good to get out and wrestle some of the tougher competition in the country. Coming away with the first-place finish helps my momentum through the season, hopefully all the way to nationals.”

No. 20 Mason Smith (141) finished fifth after a medical forfeit by his opponent, finishing 7-2 for the tournament with two pinfalls and four technical falls.

The sophomore earned a Technical Fall over Eli Stickley from Wisconsin, 18-2 and a first period Pinfall victory over reigning All-American and No. 8 Tommy Thorn from Minnesota. He fell 7-5 to No. 3 Bryce Meredith from Wyoming to compete for fifth place.

“Mason had a very good tournament,” said head coach Tom Borelli. “Last year he was 0-2 in this tournament, this year he was 7-2 and had some dominant wins.” 

No. 8 Jordan Ellingwood finished eighth at 184 pounds, falling to No. 7 Drew Foster of Northern Iowa in Double Sudden Victory, 3-1.  

Ellingwood earned a 13-3 Major Decision over No. 17 Michael Coleman from Navy, but fell to Stevan Schnider from Binghamton, 3-2, placing him in his seventh-place matchup.

Ellingwood finished fifth in last year Cliff Keen Invitational

No. 16 CJ Brucki (174) fell to Purdue’s Dylan Lydy, 7-5, eliminating him from the tourney.

As a whole, Borrelli was pleased with his team’s performance. He said that finishing seventh as a team while facing the high level of competition in the field of 45 gives the Chippewas a lot to build on.

Heffernan injured during Day 1

Senior Colin Heffernan suffered a shoulder injury at the 2:18 mark in his match against Tristan Rifanburg on Friday. The match ended 42 seconds into the second period by default. Heffernan would medically forfeit his next match, eliminating him from the tournament. 

The severity of his injury is unknown at this time, according to Borrelli. Heffernan will be evaluated when the team returns to Mount Pleasant. He is currently ranked No. 15 at 157 pounds.

CMU Wrestling is back in action with a dual meet at No. 17 South Dakota State on Friday, Dec. 8 at 8:30 p.m.