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Chippewa Wrestlers Win MAC Opener

By Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com, 01/09/17, 12:45PM EST

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ATHENS, Ohio - Central Michigan won six matches, four by major decision, on Sunday as the Chippewas defeated Ohio, 22-12, in their Mid-American Conference dual opener.

CMU, which is ranked 14th, improved to 2-0  in duals and wrestles at home on Sunday, Jan. 15 (2 p.m.) against Northern Iowa in a MAC dual. Ohio is 4-4, 2-2.

The Panthers, who are ranked 22nd, are 4-2, 2-0 MAC. Their league dual victories have come over Northern Illinois, 23-17; and over Old Dominion, 29-9.

On Sunday, the Chippewas got major-decision victories from Corey Keener (133 pounds), Justin Oliver (149), CJ Brucki (174) and Jordan Ellingwood (184). Colin Heffernan (157) and Austin Severn (197) were CMU's other winners.

"We were continuously trying to expand our leads and we kind of dominated, for the most part, the late part of the matches," CMU coach Tom Borrelli said. "Those are the things you're looking for, trying to get bonus points, wrestling hard in the third period or late in a match. Those are the things that are important."

It was CMU's first dual meet since a 22-10 nonconference home victory over Virginia on Nov. 13. Since that dual, the Chippewas wrestled in two prestigious tournaments, the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, where they finished fifth of 34 teams; and the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., where they were 11th of 42.

"There's a little bit different psychology in duals than in a tournament, a little more pressure on you in duals," Borrelli said. "To go on the road for the first time, wrestling a dual for first time in almost two months, I think for the most part we represented ourselves well. It's a positive."

Borrelli said the Chippewas are continuing to make strides with an eye toward the MAC and NCAA championships in March. 

"I think we're trying to get better," he said. "Our kids are trying to execute what we've been emphasizing to them and I see them trying the things that we're working on, sometimes you can do those things and sometimes you can't, but at least they're trying. They may not be successful all the time, but at least they're listening and working hard to improve, and that's all you can ask."

Central Michigan 22, Ohio 12

125: Shakur Laney (Ohio) dec. Brent Fleetwood, 3-2

133: Corey Keener (CMU) major dec. Hayden Lee, 10-2

141: Noah Forrider (Ohio) dec. Mason Smith, 2-0

149: Justin Oliver (CMU) dec. Kade Kowalski, 14-6

157: Colin Heffernan (CMU) major dec. Andrew Atkinson, 8-6

165: Austin Reese (Ohio) dec. Logan Parks, 4-0

174: CJ Brucki (CMU) major dec. Arsen Ashughyan, 12-4

184: Jordan Ellingwood (CMU) major dec. Dontae McGee, 15-2
197: Austin Severn (CMU) dec. Bailey Faust, 8-2

HWT: Zack Parker (Ohio) dec. Newton Smerchek, 7-3