Former All-American to return Friday against Eastern Michigan

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

Former All-American junior Justin Oliver will return to action Friday night against Eastern Michigan.

The No. 4 wrestler at the 149-pound weight class is anxious to be back in the lineup.

“Having time off to sit and watch matches or even practice bothered me,” Oliver said. “I want to be (competing). I want to wrestle and help my team.

“The break re-built the excitement inside of me. It’s a long season and it’s hard to keep that excitement from beginning to end.”  

Head coach Tom Borrelli is looking forward to having Oliver back.

“It’s not only important to our team because (Oliver’s return) gives our team confidence, but support for him to get matches under his belt before the MAC tournament just so he knows how he feels and knows what he needs to work on,” Borrelli said. “I think it’s more important for him, but I think it gives our team some confidence." 

No. 16-ranked Central Michigan wrestling (7-4, 4-1 Mid-American Conference) host the Eagles (7-6, 3-3 MAC) for senior night at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 in McGuirk Arena.

EMU last knocked off the Chippewas during the 2013-14 season in Mount Pleasant, defeating CMU 18-16. The Chippewas have won the previous three meetings.

Friday will be the final dual meet in McGuirk Arena for Chippewa seniors. All five will be recognized before the meet.

“I know the seniors want to represent themselves the right way in their last home event," Borrelli said. "But I wouldn’t say it’s as big of a match as any other match we’ve had. I’m sure they want to represent themselves well.”

CMU travels to face Kent State at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio.

The Golden Flashes currently boast an 11-8 record (1-3 MAC) and host Old Dominion on Friday. 

Kent State knocked off CMU 18-17 during the previous clash in Kent during the 2015-16 season. The Chippewas knocked off the Gold Flashes last season 40-3 in Mount Pleasant.

Heffernan nearly at full health

Senior Colin Heffernan says he's back to 100 percent health, if not very close, in his right shoulder. 

"It really depends on the day," Heffernan said. "I feel like most days if I'm not at 100 percent I'm right there. Most days I feel pretty close."

Heffernan said he is still rehabbing his right shoulder and is feeling tightness and soreness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder area. 

"It's kind of to be expected with the injury I had," Heffernan said. "There's nothing I can do about it now. I have to manage it the best I can, try to get it as strong as I can and be ready to go with it everyday."

The 14 ranked 157-pound wrestler sustained a shoulder injury on Dec. 1 during the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and returned to the lineup Jan. 21 against Buffalo.

Heffernan added he is a little banged up, but "it's expected this time of year."