Under the radar: Johnny Lovett shows high potential for CMU wrestling


Miami redshirt senior Johnny Lovett wrestles his Northern Illinois opponent on Jan. 17, 2021.

Johnny Lovett already had his match in hand, but he knew he could score more. 

Lovett, a redshirt freshman for CMU's wrestling team, had built up a lead against Northern Illinois' Anthony Gibson in the 157-pound match on Jan. 17 in McGuirk Arena. That lead grew to 11-5 late in the third period. 

Lovett had another point coming after the buzzer for riding time, but he was looking to score bonus points with a major decision. 

After all, head coach Tom Borrelli preaches going after bonus points. 

With just 11 seconds left in his match, Lovett found a way to score one more takedown to solidify a major decision, an extra point toward the dual meet and momentum heading into the upper weights -- where the Huskies were the toughest. 

"I was real impressed with Johnny," Borrelli said. " ... We thought Johnny would be pretty explosive against (Gibson) and (Gibson) would have a hard time defending his shots and (Johnny) really took it to him."

Throughout the match, Lovett displayed the athleticism that has the team excited for his future. The crowd -- yes, the crowd of 44 parents (roughly 30 CMU parents) -- went crazy when Lovett scored the last-second takedown. 

"It was great to see him get out there and string together some takedowns, get that last-second major, that's great experience for the end of the year," said redshirt senior Landon Pelham. " ... That's the kind of stuff that's great going into the postseason."

Lovett's win was the first of his season after going 0-2 at the Missouri tri on Jan. 8. 

With the potential the team sees in Lovett, it won't likely be his last.

"Anyone that watches him knows that he has a tremendous amount of potential," Borrelli said. "He just has to learn how to pace himself, learn mat strategy and learn when to explode and when to relax. He's starting to figure some of those things out."

While he redshirted last season, he was able to learn from now-graduated Logan Parks, who showed him the ropes of college life and how to find success as a Chippewa wrestler.

Despite his success against NIU and the potential he has, Lovett flew under the radar in terms of recruiting. He only had a handful of offers before Borrelli and CMU found him and gave him the opportunity to shine. 

So far, so good for Lovett and the Chippewas.

"Johnny has been great, he's been a spark in our lineup," Pelham said. "We all know the potential we've seen in him. We know how good he can be, he has the potential to be an All-American this year if he puts it all together."