Despite fast start, Chippewas unable to win pivotal bouts in loss to No. 23 Missouri

Freshman wrestler Ben Cushman wrestles against Missouri Jan. 17 at McGuirk Arena.

The lead off man is supposed to set the tone. Often times, starting a dual strong proves vital to the team's result. 

Central Michigan junior Drew Hildebrandt took the message to heart when he stepped on the mat Friday night in McGuirk Arena. Ranked No.12 in the country in the 125-pound weight class, Hildebrandt took the mat first and matched up against Missouri's Dack Punke. 

"Momentum is big," Hildebrandt said. "I wanted to go out there and light it up."

After the two battled through a scoreless first period, Hildebrandt emerged from the brief time between periods with a vengeance. After grappling for control with Punke early in the second period, Hildebrandt gained control and pinned his opponent to the mat. 

"Not the first period I wanted," Hildebrandt said. "But he chose down and I was ready for the challenge."

In a pivotal Mid-American Conference match, Hildebrandt did his job as the lead off man and set the tone. 

"He's been pretty steady like that all year," coach Tom Borelli said of Hildebrandt. "He's getting better at turning people from the top."

Two matches later, Chippewa junior Dresden Simon emerged victorious against Grant Leeth. Three matches in, the Chippewas led the No. 23 Tigers, 10-4. 

Despite the fast start, the Chippewas dropped four straight matches following Simon's victory in the 141-pound weight class. The Tigers used their strength in the later weight classes to earn a 25-13 victory over the Chippewas (2-4, 2-2). It was the third dual loss in a row for CMU. 

"Their guys are a little bit more experienced than us," Borelli said. "Our guys have a ways to go but they're fighting, they're battling. It's disappointing to watch them give up bonus points and stuff like that. They're fighting but they're just a little bit outclassed right now."

Here are the results from Central Michigan's 25-13 loss to Missouri

125- Hildebrandt def. Punke by fall (4:41)

133- Missouri redshirt sophomore Allan Hart defeated fellow redshirt sophomore Drew Marten, 10-1. Hart controlled positioning for the majority of the match and allowed just a one-point escape in the third period. Marten fell to 14-10 on the season. 

141- In a matchup of two ranked competitors, Simon defeated Leeth, 12-3. Simon gained control early, earning two takedowns and scoring the matches' first seven points. Leeth was able to earn a pair of escapes, however Simon countered each with a takedown and was able to complete his 20th victory of the season. 

149- Missouri's Brock Mauller improved to 17-1 on the season with a 10-4 decision over Chippewas' Corbyn Munson. The redshirt freshman Munson struggled against the strength of Mauller, but was able to fend off his attempt at a major decision late in the match. 

157- Senior Logan Parks fell to Missouri's Jarrett Jacques in a battle of top-15 ranked wrestlers. After a scoreless first period, Jacques answered a Parks escape with a takedown to take a 2-1 lead after two. Jacques opened the third with an escape and a takedown to render Parks' late takedown meaningless. Parks fell to 14-8 on the season. 

165- Redshirt freshman Tracy Hubbard was defeated by Missouri's Peyton Mocco, 8-0. Mocco dominated for a majority of the match, earning a pivotal point for riding time that turned the decision into a major. 

174- Missouri's Jeremiah Kent earned his 15th win of the season with a 14-3 victory over Central Michigan's Jake Lowell. Kent had a strong first period, earning eight points in the first three minutes to set the tone for his eventual victory over Lowell, who earned a late point with an escape. 

184- Chippewa redshirt freshman Ben Cushman couldn't break the dry spell for the Chippewas, falling 12-4 to Dylan Wisman. Ranked No. 24 in the weight class, Wisman earned an extra point for riding time, pushing the margin of victory for a major decision. The major decision made the team score, 22-10, in favor of the Tigers and made the deficit all but insurmountable for the Chippewas. 

197- Redshirt junior Landon Pelham was unable to secure a pivotal pin, sealing the Chippewa's loss. Pelham battled for the entirety of his bout with Wyatt Koelling, but allowed an escape one minute into the third period that proved to be the difference. Koelling earned an extra point for riding time to secure the 4-2 decision. 

285- Junior Matt Stencel continued his impressive start to the  campaign, earning a 8-2 decision over Missouri redshirt senior Jacob Bohlken. Stencel used a pair of first period takedowns to earn his 20th victory of the season. 

Up next

The Chippewas turn around quick as they host Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (1-7, 0-4 MAC) at 2 p.m. Sunday in McGuirk Arena.