Landon Pelham earns pin, No. 24 Chippewas fall to No. 5 Virginia Tech

Tecumseh sophomore Landon Pelham tries to break free of his Purdue opponent in McGuirk Arena on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Virginia Tech had amassed a 20-7 lead over the Central Michigan wrestling team Friday in McGuirk Arena. 

At that point, the No. 24-ranked Chippewas were not going to be able to win their dual against the Hokies with two matches remaining in their home opener. 

That did not stop Landon Pelham. 

Pelham, a redshirt junior who wrestles in the 197-pound weight class earned a near fall in the first period over Stanley Smeltzer. 

Early in the second period, Pelham further asserted his dominance and pinned Smeltzer at 3:21 in the match. 

After earning the fall, Pelham leaned back on his knees, removed his ear guard and pointed to his teammates and coaches while nodding his head and repeating the same phrase. 

"Let's go." 

Despite trailing by an insurmountable margin, Pelham said he goes out and wrestles each match the same way with a competitive drive. 

"Coach (Tom Borrelli) mentioned to me to be a hero tonight," Pelham said. "And I try to go out and wrestle with that attitude every night. If I let my offense build up throughout the match, I hope I can pin someone every time." 

While Borrelli said he was disappointed with the 20-16 loss to the Hokies on Friday night, he was happy with the way his team competed against the No. 5 team in the country. 

Specifically with Pelham, he has improved his sprawling throughout the season. Borrelli said that was a piece of Pelham's skillset that he struggled with normally but did it well against Smeltzer. 

Borrelli said Pelham's sprawling set up several opportunities as the match went along. 

"Anytime you see improvement like that, it's their practice habits more than anything else," Borrelli said. "Landon has been working real hard at getting better at things he needs to get better at. He moved his feet real well on the lateral to put (Smeltzer) on his back."

For the rest of the team, Borrelli said there his team had several chances to win the dual, but a few matches toward the middle of the lineup swung the way of the Hokies and gave the visitors the victory. 

Similar to last season when the Chippewas were gaining momentum toward the end of the campaign, Borrelli wants his guys to remain aggressive. 

"We want our guys to try to score," Borrelli said. "If you make a mistake and you get beat, that's alright -- we can fix that. We can't fix guys that don't want to be aggressive." 

Here are the results from Central Michigan's 20-16 loss to Virginia Tech.

125 - Junior Drew Hildebrandt scored a 3-1 victory over Joey Prata. Hildebrandt, who is ranked No. 12 in the weight class, earned a takedown in overtime to score the win over Prata, who is ranked No. 13. 

133 - Drew Marten carried a 5-4 lead into the third period against No. 17 Collin Gerardi. However, Gerardi scored three points in the third period, including a late reversal, to secure the win, 7-6. 

141 - No. 18 redshirt junior Dresden Simon earned two near falls to secure an 18-4 win over Josh Baier. 

149 - Redshirt freshman Corbyn Munson fell behind to Bryce Andonian in the first period and was not able to score in the second period and was almost pinned twice. But in the third, Munson scored four points before dropping the 13-8 decision. 

157 - Senior Logan Parks, ranked No. 11 in the weight class, battled No. 16 B.C. LaPrade in a low-scoring match. LaPrade was able to push ahead by a point and Parks could not earn the late takedown and lost, 3-2. 

165 - No. 5 David McFadden took a 14-4 lead over redshirt freshman Tracy Hubbard through two periods. McFadden scored seven third-period points to win, 22-9. 

174 - Virginia Tech's Cody Hughes grabbed an early lead over redshirt sophomore Jake Lowell and cruised to a 7-4 decision win. 

184 - Redshirt freshman Ben Cushman struggled in his match against No. 3 Hunter Bolen and trailed 9-2 heading to the third period. Bolen finished the match with an 18-4 major decision. 

197 - Pelham def. Smeltzer by fall (3:21).

285 - No. 8 and junior Matt Stencel scored a takedown in the third period to secure a 3-1 win over No. 18 John Borst. 

Up next

Central Michigan looks to bounce back in a hurry with its third Mid-American Conference dual of the season against Northern Illinois at 3 p.m. Sunday in the NIU Convocation Center.