Logan Parks, Matt Stencel leading CMU wrestling into 2019-20 season
The lights shined down to the middle of McGuirk Arena as the Central Michigan wrestling team took part in its annual Maroon and Gold Intrasquad meet.
Maroon defeated Gold, 17-16, but the results do not matter to the Chippewas and they won't matter until the Michigan State Open on Nov. 2, when CMU opens the 2019-20 season.
What matters is improvement, especially in the beginning stages of the season for the Chippewas.
Matt Stencel comes into his junior season as an All-American after finishing seventh last season at the NCAA Championships. He also had a 31-6 record last season with a perfect 13-0 mark in dual matches.
The Oregon, Ohio native has become more of a vocal leader for CMU this season and is not afraid to tell his teammates the way it is, or where the team can improve.
"I just hope these guys can respond the right way," Stencel said. "It sometimes comes off as if I'm not the nicest person but I really do care about these guys. So if I get after these guys I just want them to be as successful as me last year or even more successful."
Logan Parks is the lone senior on the team — taking after Jordan Atienza, who was the only senior on the team last season.
Last season, Parks started for the Chippewas in the 152-pound weight class and posted a 23-14 record with a 7-5 mark in dual matches. He also was a qualifier for the NCAA Championships and finished third in the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Parks was able to win matches late last season with takedowns in the final seconds on multiple occasions last season. The victories helped turn momentum to give CMU the chance to win duals.
The Taylor native said that he is more of a lead by example kind of guy rather than an outspoken leader, like Stencel.
"I just kind of do the right things and I hope people see that," Parks said. "I talk to a lot of guys individually and I hope that helps. I really just try to do the right things from what I'm eating, to the practice room and living just everyday life."
Coach Tom Borrelli is coming into his 29th season at the helm of the Chippewa program. The well-recognized coach has a 329-151-7 record during his time at Central Michigan.
Borrelli said that he has been impressed with both Stencel and Parks and how they have both come into their new roles in the offseason.
"He's a behind the scenes kind of guy," Borrelli said of Parks. "He's not a vocal leader when it comes to practice, but he's doing some things behind the scenes. When he sees things in practice that aren't right, I think he says things individually to people and doesn't make a scene in front of the team."
The coach, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Michigan Chapter in 2018, added that junior Drew Hildebrandt has stepped up as a vocal leader of the team, just like Stencel.
As for Parks, Stencel said that he likes the style that the senior has and it is positive for the team.
"He’s super quiet and he works hard," Stencel said of Parks. "That’s how our guys get up and work hard is they see him put his head down and get to work."
On the flip side, Parks said that Stencel is the guy to address the team rather than speak to guys individually.
"Matt’s more vocal," Parks said. "He’ll talk to all of us in a big group. He’s helped a lot and I think he’s going to be great for the program."