Seniors shine in final wrestling home meet despite weather delay

Members of the CMU wrestling team celebrate after redshirt freshman Matt Stencel pins his opponent in the match against Eastern on Feb. 9 in McGuirk Arena.

A two-hour delay failed to phase No. 16 Central Michigan wrestling on senior night, defeating Eastern Michigan, 29-7.

CMU improves to 8-4, 5-1 in the Mid American Conference. EMU drops to 7-7 (3-4 MAC).

The Chippewas won eight out of 10 matches.  

The Eagles had issues traveling to Mount Pleasant due to the snow storm impacting the southern part of the state. 

“There was a (debate) whether Eastern would make the trip. In the end it didn’t make a difference,” said senior wrestler CJ Brucki. “We hung out in the locker room and did our own thing. It was the same routine as normal.”

Seniors Shine

Seniors Colin Heffernan, Hunter Rollins, Jordan Ellingwood, Brucki and Newton Smerchek were recognized at the intermission for their accomplishments on and off the mat.

Three seniors competed and won their matches in Friday’s dual.

Heffernan, the No. 14 ranked 157-pound wrestler, knocked off J.J. Wolfe 14-9. The Cleveland native scored four of his six takedowns in the third period.

“You want to go out with the best show you can put on,” Heffernan said. “I got caught in funky moves, so I had to get a couple takedowns. Once the third period came I probably didn’t need all those takedowns, but I wanted to have as much fun as I could.”

Heffernan also noted his shoulder is back at 100 percent.

“My shoulder has felt the best it has all year,” Heffernan said. “I think my conditioning has felt the best all year. I felt like I could wrestle another 20 minutes if I had to tonight. I’m back to where I can finally say I’m at 100 percent.”

Brucki, No. 14 ranked 174-pound wrestler, defeated Andrew McNally via an 18-2 technical fall.

“I was thinking get as many points as I can,” Brucki said. “Our team philosophy is ‘put 10 points on the board and the win will take care of itself.’ I knew I was going to go out there and wrestle as hard as I can.”

Borrelli felt Brucki’s victory was a momentum changer in the meet.

“Brucki’s (technical) fall gave us some breathing room,” Borrelli said. “I knew the (184) pound match would be pretty close. (EMU’s Kayne MacCallum) is pretty hard to get to. He wrestles very defensive and Ellingwood is not a big point scorer.”

Ellingwood, the No. 15 ranked 184-pound wrestler, knocked off MacCullum, 4-0.

More Results

Friday’s dual ended on a high-note.

Redshirt freshman Matt Stencel (285 pounds) earned his 24 win of the season, pinning reigning MAC runner-up Gage Hutchinson 1:36 into the bout. 

Redshirt freshman Drew Hildebrandt (125) defeated Thomas Gutierrez 5-4, scoring a takedown late in the third period. No. 10 Mason Smith (141) knocked off Sa’Derian Perry 7-5.

Smith competed friday while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Borrelli noted after the meet that Smith was three pounds underweight going into his match.

Junior Justin Oliver returned to the mat Friday after missing three weeks to a right knee injury. The former All-American and No. 4 149-pound wrestler found himself trailing 6-0 early in the match, but rallied to knock off Kyle Springer 12-10.

“To come back and win that match, especially for his first time back, was unbelievable,” Borrelli said. “Most people would be dead in the water. (Oliver) gave up six points and two more takedowns and still won the match. That’s pretty amazing.”

Junior Jordan Atienza (197) defeated Derek Hillman 10-5, scoring three takedowns and a reversal on the EMU redshirt junior.

Redshirt freshman Dresden Simon (133) dropped his match 2-1 to Noah Gosner, earning 1:07 of riding time in the loss.

Sophomore Logan Parks (165) dropped his match via major decision 13-5 to Zac Carson. The Eagles’ sophomore earned five takedowns in the bout.

What’s Next

CMU wrestling faces Kent State at 2 p.m. Sunday in Kent, Ohio.

Borrelli hopes for a safe trip and to get his team ready for Sunday’s clash with the Golden Flashes.

“I hope the bus doesn’t get stuck,” Borrelli said laughing. “We (have to) get fluid in some of these guys, they’ve got to recover, some of them were shot tonight. (Smith) was shot, Oliver was shot. We have to get them back healthy (Saturday) and get ready to wrestle on Sunday.”