CMU wrestling tops NIU in its first win of the season
McGuirk Arena was rocking on Friday as Central Michigan wrestling claimed its first win of the season against Northern Illinois University in a 23-18 Mid-American Conference nail biter.
The Chippewas are now 1-5 overall and 1-1 in MAC play and hand NIU its first conference loss. The Huskies are now 5-4 overall and 2-1 in conference.
“We've been trying to figure out how to have grit, how to wrestle for a full seven minutes and how to figure out how to win those matches, and maybe that turned the corner,” said head coach Tom Borrelli.
After the Chippewas were down 12-0, redshirt junior Johnny Lovett in the 149-weight class came back from a 4-0 deficit to make it a one-point match heading into the final period. Lovett escaped to tie the score and took down NIU redshirt freshman Kavan Troy out of Rochester Hills four times to win the match 15-7, cutting the Chippewas deficit to 12-4.
Following the momentum shift, redshirt senior Corbyn Munson of the 157-weight class immediately won his match in a pinfall halfway through the first period. Waving to hype up the crowd to get louder, CMU was down by two.
“Honestly it comes down to the older guys trying to shift the momentum," Munson said. "We have pretty young guys in the lower weights, it's me, Johnny, Tracey, Cushman and our job is to pick up the momentum and show them what it's like to be a CMU Chippewa.”
Following an NIU pinfall to make the score 18-10, redshirt junior Alex Cramer had a four-point decision in the 174-weight class.
In the 184-weight class, redshirt senior Ben Cushman got the Chippewas into winning position with a 6-2 win.
In the most important match of the night CMU junior Cameron Wood and NIU sophomore Jacob Christensen would decide who would walk away victorious. As the Huskies held an 18-17 lead, Wood made a comeback in his match after he was down 3-1 with 40 seconds left. A key takedown by Wood erupted the Chippewa fans, forcing overtime. Within a minute, a takedown ended the 197-weight class matchup, giving Wood a 5-3 victory, and the Chippewas their first lead of the night.
Ending the night was redshirt freshman Bryan Caves in the 285-weight class. Caves was up 3-2 and provided a late take down to put the match on ice, giving himself a 5-3 lead, winning it for the Chippewas.
“This is a hard place to wrestle," Borrelli said. "It has always been a hard place to wrestle. I don't care who comes in here. The fans are right on top of you. It's a perfect venue for us, and when the fans are getting into it, it really gives our guys a lot of energy.”
CMU will continue its home stand against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 2 p.m. on Sunday at McGuirk Arena.