Stencel joins exclusive club with fourth Mid-Am title

Andy Sneddon

An historic accomplishment for Matt Stencel (Clay), three individual champions, and a team runner-up finish for the Central Michigan wrestling team.
Yes, it could have been better – it can almost always be better – but all in all, a good showing once again by the Chippewas at the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Stencel, a CMU senior, became the ninth wrestler in Mid-American Conference history to win four individual league titles when he defeated Rider's Ethan Laird, 7-2, in the final at 285 pounds on Saturday at Cure Insurance Arena.
Stencel, who is ranked fourth nationally by and is a two-time All-American, joins Wynn Michalak (2005-08) and Ben Bennett (2010-13) as the Chippewa wrestlers to have won four league titles.
"It was extremely hard this year (for Stencel), I thought," CMU coach Tom Borrelli said. "That was the toughest weight class in the conference, I thought, by far. You had two top-10 guys – plus him – and I think eight of the guys in that weight class are ranked in the top 33 (nationally).
"Just to navigate that this year, there was a lot of pressure on him; he didn't act like it, he didn't wrestle like it, but anytime you've got a target on your back like that it isn't easy.
"I didn't say a whole lot to him. I think he just knows what he has to do; he has a lot of confidence in himself. I think he likes competing, he likes being in those situations and that's what you want from your athletes."
CMU's Drew Hildebrandt (125) and Dresden Simon (141) repeated as champions in their respective weight classes, joining Stencel in leading CMU to a runner-up finish behind fifth-ranked Missouri, which claimed its ninth-consecutive MAC title with a record 188.5 points.
Stencel, Hildebrandt and Simon are headed to the March 18-20 NCAA Championships in St. Louis and will be joined by teammate Johnny Lovett, a redshirt freshman who placed third at 157 pounds.
The Chippewas collected 129 points to finish as the conference runner-up for the second-straight year. CMU, which is ranked 21st, entered Saturday one-half point ahead of third-place Rider, the host team which came into the tournament ranked 25th. The Broncs finished with 120½ points.
"It was great to have three champions obviously, but just to see everybody kind of rally around each other and fight for that (team) second place and win the next-best thing, do the best you can,” Borelli said.
        Stencel is 7-0 this year with one fall and one major decision. Last year, he earned First Team All-America honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association, becoming CMU’s first repeat All-American since 2013. He was named the MAC Wrestler of the Year and finished 30-4
        Two years ago, Stencel was CMU’s starter at 285 pounds, placing seventh to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. He finished with a 31-6 record including 13-0 in duals and led the nation with 19 pin victories
        In 2017-18, Stencel was an NCAA Championships qualifier at 285 pounds, Mid-American Conference champion, finished 28-17 and recorded a team-high 15 pins.
        As a freshman, Stencel finished 13-6 at heavyweight, recorded nine pins, and one major decision
        At Clay, Stencel was a four-year varsity letter winner and amassed a career record of 184-18. He was a three-time OHSAA state placer, taking second, first and first. He also was a Fargo Cadet Freestyle and Greco All-American in 2015, a Fargo Cadet Freestyle and Greco Champion in 2014, two-time Iron Man Finalist and one-time champion, a Super 32 runner-up and defeated both opponents competing for Team USA in the 2016 Dapper Dan and Dream Team Classic events. (— by Andy Sneddon, and Press Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken)
Guillen qualifies for NCAA tourney
 Stencel is one of two wrestlers who grew up competing with the East Toledo Wrestling Club that reached the NCAA National Tournament this year.
The other, Ohio University redshirt senior Mario Guillen (Perrysburg), grew up in East Toledo and earned a spot at the 2021 NCAA Division I Championships with a third place finish at the MAC championship.
        Guillen defeated Cole Rhone from Bloomsburg with a fall in the third-place match to cement himself on the podium. He was Ohio's top scorer with 15½ team points. Guillen will be headed to the NCAA Championships for the second time in three years. He earned an at-large bid to nationals in 2019. 
        As a team, the Bobcats finished 12th with 34 points. Missouri won its ninth-straight MAC title, finishing with 189½ points.
        Last year, Guillen recorded a 6-4 record and placed fifth at the Michigan State Open. In 2018-19, Guillen had career highs in wins, majors, and falls and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time. He wrestled to a 17-5 record, 7-1 in duals and undefeated in conference duals (5-0), 10 decisions, four majors, one technical fall and two falls.
        In 2017-18, Guillen recorded a 10-6 record and he finished the 2016-17 season with a 12-4 overall record. He accumulated 163 wins in his high school career, a career record for Perrysburg. He was a four-time Pitt Champ and a two-time Brecksville Championship and was the state champion during his senior season.
        Mario has a younger brother, Moises, or “Mo,” who was a redshirt sophomore wrestler at Ohio and also wrestled biddy for the ETWC but is currently looking to transfer. Moises achieved a 174-22 record in his time at Perrysburg and a 51-1 record his senior season.       
        Currently Moises and the Guillen brother’s stepfather, Joe Campos, are Waite assistant coaches under the direction of head coach Russell Jennings. The Indians won a third straight Toledo City League championship this season. (— OU SID and Press Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken)


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