Story courtesy of Central Michigan Sports Information.
KENT, Ohio - Sixth-ranked Central Michigan celebrated its 11th Mid-American Conference championship in the past 12 seasons following its 21-13 win at No. 20 Kent State in the regular season finale on Sunday.
The roles were reversed from a year ago, when Kent State defeated Central Michigan, 18-14, at Rose Center to end the Chippewas' streak of 10 consecutive MAC titles. This season, it was Central Michigan traveling to the home of the defending conference champion to lock up the outright title.
"I'm really happy for our guys, especially our seniors," said Central Michigan head coach Tom Borrelli. "I know they were really disappointed last year, especially since it happened at our gym. I think the MAC Tournament will be more important for them now since it's at home, but today was an important win for them."
Central Michigan (17-2 overall, 5-0 MAC) matched a school record for victories in a season with the win. Kent State dropped to 15-4 overall, 4-1 in the MAC.
"I thought that we wrestled very well today," Borrelli said. "I felt like we should have won nine of the 10 matches. We didn't get a call at 141 and we made a mistake at 149 when we were leading in the match, but we can learn from those mistakes."
The dual was tied 9-9 after five bouts, and Central Michigan led just 15-13 after the 184-pound bout. Eric Simaz and Jarod Trice sealed the victory for the Chippewas, however, with overtime decisions at 197 and 285 pounds, respectively.
The dual began at 125 pounds, where No. 9 Matt Steintrager shut out Troy Opfer, 5-0. A first-period takedown, second-period reversal and more than 4:00 of riding time accounted for Steintrager's five points.
A pair of top-10 ranked individuals squared off at 133 pounds, where Central Michgian's No. 7 Scotti Sentes edged No. 8 Danny Mitcheff, 3-2. Mitcheff scored the bout's only takedown in the third period, but Sentes escaped twice and used riding time to earn the victory.
"We almost didn't wrestle Scotti after he got hurt against Ohio Friday night," Borrelli said. "That was a pretty formidable opponent that he was facing today, and we weren't even sure if Scotti was going to be able to make it through the match. For him to get the win is really a tribute to the type of competitor that he is."
Kent State recorded its first victory at 141 pounds when Chase Skonieczny defeated Conor Beebe, 5-4. Beebe led 2-0 after the first period and 4-3 midway through the third, but a late escape by Skonieczny tied the score at 4-4. Beebe nearly secured a takedown at the final buzzer, but officials waived it off and Skonieczny earned the decision via riding time.
Matt Cathell followed with an upset victory over Tony D'Alie to give Kent State its only lead of the dual. D'Alie led 6-2 in the third before Cathell reversed D'Alie and scored a fall in the final minute. The pin gave Kent State a 9-6 advantage.
Steve Brown evened the score with a 3-2 decision over Mallie Shuster at 157 pounds. A second-period escape and third-period takedown was enough for Brown to earn the victory.
Tyler Grayson put the Chippewas in front for good with a 5-0 decision at 165 pounds. Grayson scored just one takedown, but added an escape, a penalty point and riding time against Kent State's Ross Tice.
Ben Bennett extended the CMU lead to 15-9 with a 9-3 decision over Keith Witt at 174 pounds. Bennett led just 2-0 after two periods but pulled away with a pair of takedowns and two back points in the final period.
Fifth-ranked Dustin Kilgore kept the Golden Flashes in contention with a major decision at 184 pounds, but Simaz and Trice posted the decisive wins for Central Michigan.
At 197, Simaz and Adam Cogar finished regulation tied 1-1. The pair was scoreless through the sudden victory period, sending the match to the first tiebreaker. Simaz escaped in the first 30-second tiebreaker, then rode out Cogar in the second 30-second period to earn the 2-1 decision.
Trice also needed overtime to earn his 19th consecutive victory. Both he and Kent State's Brendan Barlow scored escapes in regulation and were tied 1-1 entering overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Trice began the first 30-second tiebreaker in the top position. Barlow escaped, but Trice scored a takedown to take a 3-2 lead. Trice added an escape in the second 30-second tiebreaker for the final 4-2 advantage.
Central Michigan will host the Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships at Rose Center March 6-7.