Landon Pelham upsets Braun, Chippewa wrestling beats NIU
Landon Pelham had to battle, but he earned a big win over a familiar rival.
Pelham, a redshirt senior, upset No. 21-ranked Gage Braun in the 197-pound weight class to help the Chippewa wrestling team defeat Northern Illinois 22-16 in a Mid-American Conference dual Sunday in McGuirk Arena.
"It definitely felt good," Pelham said. " ... It felt good to get back out and wrestle and feel like myself again."
Last year, Braun defeated Pelham at the MAC Championships with a takedown as time expired in the third-place match.
"That was the last match I wrestled last season," Pelham said. "I had a lot of time to think about it, that was part of my offseason training. I don't want that to happen again."
Not only did Pelham score an upset victory, his win stopped a streak of three-straight wins for the Huskies (2-1, 1-1), which shrunk the CMU (2-2, 1-1) lead down to 16-14.
Pelham's 7-3 victory gave the Chippewas a 19-14 lead heading into the final match of the dual.
"We knew their best weights were from 165 to heavyweight," Pelham said. "I don't like putting pressure on Matt (Stencel), but he lets me know when I go out there, he lets me know, 'Just go out there and wrestle your match, don't worry about the dual,' because he always has my back.
"It's nice having a guy like that behind you."
Head coach Tom Borrelli said he has been impressed with how Pelham has progressed and worked through the offseason.
"He had a good summer," Borrelli said. "He was one of the guys that tried to have a good summer with everything that was going on. He has been pretty driven, he didn't like how things ended last year and not having the chance to wrestle in nationals.
"We were confident going into that match because Landon has been doing a lot of the right things."
CMU built a 16-3 lead by virtue of a technical fall win from redshirt senior Drew Hildebrandt (125) and major decisions by redshirt senior Dresden Simon (141) and redshirt freshman Johnny Lovett (157).
However, the three-match winning streak included two major decisions against 00 Bret Fedewa (165) and redshirt -- Ben Cushman (184).
Borrelli said he and the team knew the strength of the Huskies' lineup was the back end.
"We felt like we had to get off to a good start," Borrelli said. "If things didn't go well for us early, we knew it was going to be pretty close toward the end."
Pelham's win stopped the run and took the pressure off of redshirt senior Matt Stencel (285) in the final match of the dual. Stencel went on to win the match 6-2, sealing the victory for the Chippewas.
CMU is back on the mat Jan. 23 at Clarion for an all-MAC quad against the Golden Eagles, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Kent State.
125: Drew Hildebrandt (C) def. Lucian Brink 17-2 TF
133: Bryce West (N) def. Drew Marten 9-6
141: Dresden Simon (C) def. Caleb Brooks 11-1 MD
149: Corbyn Munson (C) def. Javion Jones 3-1
157: Johnny Lovett (C) def. Anthony Gibson 14-5 MD
165: Izzak Olejnik (N) def. Bret Fedewa 11-1 MD
174: Mason Kaufman (N) def. Jake Lowell 3-2
184: Brit Wilson (N) def. Ben Cushman 9-1 MD
197: Landon Pelham (C) def. Gage Braun 7-3
285: Matt Stencel (C) def. Max Ihry 6-2
133: Brock Bergelin (C) def. Michael Kaminski 11-2 MD
141: Hunter Watts (C) def. Nicholas Termini 12-3 MD
149: Mason Breece (C) def. Dillon Nichols 4-0
157: Tracy Hubbard def. Tristin Guaman 6-0
197: Aaron Bolo (C) def. Will Feldkamp 7-0
285: Cade Dallwitz (C) def. Johnny Schafer 6-1