After the first weekend of conference tournaments, six Michigan Grapplers have already punched their tickets to the NCAA tournament, while a few others are in contention for at-large bids.
CMU had a solid MAC tournament, finishing second to Missouri. The Chippewas went 3/3 in the finals (Hildebrandt, Simon, and Stencel) and picked up another automatic qualifier (Lovett). Multiple guys will be looking for at-large bids.
More Michigan natives will be competing for NCAA qualifying bids this weekend at the B1G and Big 12 conference tournaments. A preview for those tournaments will come later in the week.
125lbs – Drew Hildebrandt, CMU
Hildebrandt repeated as MAC conference champion, which will likely secure him the #2 seed at NCAAs. Hildebrandt picked up a 12-0 major in his first match before winning a tight 3-2 match over Tropea of Rider in the semis. He cruised in the finals against Surtin of Missouri with a 6-0 decision.
133lbs – Jarrett Trombley, NC State
Trombley was in a very tough weight class at the ACC tournament. 133lbs had 5 ranked wrestlers vying for 4 allocations. Trombley picked up a 3-1 win over the #3 seed and nationally ranked Heilmann of North Carolina to secure a spot at the national tournament.
141lbs – Dresden Simon, CMU
Simon had a dominant MAC tournament as he repeated as champ. The Chippewa picked up a pin, a major, and then 8-4 and 12-5 decisions in the semis and finals, respectively. Simon’s championship match was a win over Bell of Rider, who had upset nationally ranked Hart of Missouri in the semis.
157lbs – Johnny Lovett, CMU
Lovett entered the MAC tournament as a 6 seed with only 4 allocations for the weight class. In the quarterfinals, Lovett picked up a win via injury default against nationally ranked Ruffin of SIUE. Lovett’s lone loss was in the semis to Jacques of Missouri. Lovett then secured a spot at the NCAA tournament with a 13-9 win over Petite of Buffalo before putting an exclamation point on the weekend by majoring Pappas of Edinboro in the 3rd place match.
285lbs – Matt Stencel, CMU
Stencel made history over the weekend, becoming the first ever 4x MAC champ at 285lbs (and only the 9th overall). He joins CMU assistant coach Ben Bennett and Campbell assistant coach Wynn Michalak as the only 4x MAC champions in CMU history. Stencel should enter the NCAA tournament as a top-4 seed.
285lbs – Taye Ghadiali, Campbell
Ghadiali was able to qualify for the NCAA tournament in just his redshirt freshman season. In the semis, Ghadiali used overtime to avenge an earlier season loss to Perrine of Gardner-Webb. He fell in a 5-3 decision to nationally ranked McAleavey of Citadel in the finals.
At-Large Bids Needed
133lbs – Drew Marten, CMU
Marten finished 7th at the MAC tournament after being upset first round, and the MAC had 5 allocations at the weight class. He entered the tournament as the 3-seed, which means his regular season performance could be enough to earn him an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
197lbs – Landon Pelham, CMU
Like Marten, Pelham finished 7th at the MACs and will need an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Pelham was ranked in the last coaches poll, which usually holds some weight when determining at-large bids.
285 – Colton McKiernan, SIUE
The MAC had 3 allocations, and McKiernan finished 6th. However, Mckiernan (like Marten and Pelham), was ranked in the latest coaches poll, so there is a chance McKiernan could earn an at-large bid.