Borelli, Simon win honors as three Chippewas win conference titles, six qualify for nationals


Central Michigan redshirt sophomore Jake Lowell lifts Michigan State redshirt freshman Layne Malczewski off the mat Friday, February 21 at McGuirk Arena.

Six Central Michigan wrestlers will compete for national titles at their respective weight classes.

Following a strong showing over the weekend at the Mid-American Conference Championships, several Chippewas have earned an extension to their season. The NCAA Division I wrestling championships are scheduled to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from March 19-21. 

Thanks to his team's performance, Chippewa coach Tom Borelli was named co-MAC coach of the year for the 13th time in his 29-year career. It was the first time since 2012 that he had won the award, sharing the honor with Northern Illinois coach Ryan Ludwig. 

Juniors Drew Hildebrandt, Dresden Simon and Matt Stencel each won the conference championship in their respective weight class. Hildebrandt claimed the 125-pound title, Simon won at 141 and Stencel earned the 285-pound championship. 

Three others, Drew Marten, Logan Parks and Landon Pelham, will join the trio of champions at nationals. As a team, the Chippewas placed second to Missouri, who finished first for the eighth consecutive season. 

Hildebrandt will make his second consecutive appearance at nationals, finishing 1-2 a season ago. After placing second in the conference last season, Hildebrandt went unbeaten and won the conference championship with a 2-0 victory over Old Dominion's Kilian Cardindale. 

Simon also claimed his first-career conference championship, dominating his opponents by a total score of 41-11 over his four matches. For his performance, the Dansville native won the Outstanding Wrestler Award. 

Stencel won the 285-pound bracket for the third consecutive time, claiming the title with an 11-0 major decision over Jon Spaulding of Edinboro. With his third straight championship, Stencel becomes the ninth Chippewa to win three titles. The last person to do it, Ben Bennett, is currently an assistant on the coaching staff. 

Parks, the only senior on the roster, is going to nationals for a second year in a row after finishing fifth in the conference at 157. Pelham finished fourth at 197 and Marten finished third at 133. Redshirt sophomore Jake Lowell also placed, finishing sixth in the 174, and stunning top-seeded Jacob Oliver of Edinboro, 13-5, in the second round. 

Central Michigan won multiple individual championships for the first time since 2013. The three championships gives the Chippewas their most in a single year since five wrestlers won championships in 2012.