MT. PLEASANT, Mich. - Sophomore All-American Jake Percival won his 29th consecutive match en route to the MAC Championship at 149 pounds. The undefeated Elyria native claimed MAC Wrestler of the Year and first-team All-MAC with his performance. He now turns his attention to the NCAA Tournament, held in Kansas City, Missouri in two weeks. The Ohio team finished in third for the weekend with 60.5 points. Check here for complete results.
Final Team Standings 1) Central Michigan 93 2) Northern Illinois 70.5 3) Ohio 60.5 4) Kent State 47 5) Buffalo 34 6) Eastern Michigan 24
Finals Recap Three Bobcats brought back second places in their respective weight classes on the final day of competition at Rose Arena. Sophomore Ed Willis and junior Anthony Carrizales both finished runner-up at 174 and 133. Willis lost to third-seed Gary Cooper by a 5-2 decision, while Carrizales suffered a one-point loss to NIU's Sam Hiatt.
Sophomore Joel Weimer defeated nemesis Travis Kraft in another close battle between the two. The bout would go to overtime, but Weimer ended up with the 2-1 tiebreaker victory to move on to a true second-place matchup with Northern Illinois' James Oliva. He registered his third straight meet victory and second in overtime against Oliva, winning 4-2 after losing by that same score to the Huskies' 197-pounder during the regular season.
Meanwhile, senior Luke Moore upended Eastern Michigan's Tim Hoff in the 165 consolation finals. Then, in the final conference match of his career, he would suffer a 7-2 defeat to top-seed Kevin Carr (CMU), who fell to Kent State's Nick Nemeth in the championship. With his third third-place finish at the MAC Championships, Moore now owns a 96-55 collegiate record.
Junior heavyweight Erik Jones lost in the championship round of the tournament to Kent State's Tomas Rodriguez, 5-1. A transfer from Ellsworth C.C., the first-year Bobcat then faced unseeded Bill Stouffer for second place, but was pinned in 3:29 to end up third in his division.
Junior Paul Hodermarsky knocked off the No. 2-seeded wrestler at 141, Kent State's Ryan Simmons, by 4-3 decision to advance to the true second place match against Josh Wooton (Northern Illinois). In that contest, Hodermarsky lost by pin in 2:42 to finish his season with a 14-12 record.
Freshman Matt Stevens, who had knocked off No. 4 Mike Sebaaly of Buffalo to advance to Sunday's consolation finals, nearly delivered a repeat performance. However, Stevens suffered a two-point decision to second-seeded Marlon Felton (NIU), 8-6, to end up fourth at 125 pounds.
Session Two Recap Sophomore Ed Willis scored a major upset in the 174-pound weight class, defeating top-seeded Mitch Hancock of host Central Michigan, while later in the evening, freshman Matt Stevens pulled off a stunning victory with a 20-second pin over fourth-ranked MAC wrestler Mike Sebaaly of Buffalo.
For Willis (29-11), it marked the second time in 2003 that the team's leader in wins has knocked off a top opponent. In a Jan. 24 dual meet against Northern Illinois, Willis defeated defending MAC champion Bill Lowney, who at the time, held the No. 1 spot in the conference rankings.
Percival won for the 28th consecutive time, recording a 5-0 shutout of Buffalo's Ryan Bently. Percival will defend his 2002 MAC title in a 149-pound match against Central Michigan's second-seeded Ty Morgan. Morgan also ranks 14th in the nation.
Junior Anthony Carrizales recorded an 11-4 decision over CMU's Jason Borelli to advance to the finals of the 133-pound weight class. Carrizales (19-9) will face Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois in a rematch of the Ohio wrestler's only conference loss of the season.
Fellow junior Erik Jones, who lost his No. 1 MAC ranking with a loss to KSU's Tomas Rodriguez, will have a shot at redemption after defeating Dane Bonnigson (Eastern Michigan) for the third straight time this season. His 5-2 decision catapults him into the heavyweight championship against Rodriguez, who pinned Jack Dennis (NIU) in 1:01.
Stevens avenged a 10-2 major decision loss to Sebaaly at the regular-season finale against the Bulls on Feb. 23. His win shows season record does not matter in the postseason as the freshman came into the meet 3-10 (1-4 MAC). Having already matched his conference win total of 2002-03, Stevens will face No. 2 Marlon Felton of Northern Illinois for the second time this weekend in the 125 consolation finals on Sunday. Felton shut out the first-year Bobcat, 6-0, in the opening round.
Sophomore Joel Weimer will get a second chance of his own against Eastern Michigan's Travis Kraft in the 197 consolation finals. Weimer upset the No. 2 seed, Buffalo's Kyle Cerminara, to become the eighth Bobcat still remaining with the second day of competition on the horizon.
Weimer and Kraft have quite a history as of late, and not just in the first round of this year's championships. After Sunday, the two will have faced each other five times in the last two seasons. Three of those matches have gone to the Eagle grappler and three have ended in 3-1 decisions.
Senior Luke Moore, in a rematch with No. 2 Nick Nemeth (Kent State), fell by 4-1 decision, elimiinating him from title contention. However, he rebounded to beat Tim Paladino (Buffalo) in the consolation round wrestle his way into a third-place match against Tim Hoff of EMU. Moore heads into Sunday with a record of 27-13.
Paul Hodermarsky also suffered in his first consolation match, a 6-2 defeat to the MAC's top-ranked 141-pound wrestler, Jason Mester of Central Michigan. Hodermarsky, filling in for the injured Jon Spires, became the third Bobcat to reach the consolation finals with a 3-1 victory over Cliff Smith (Buffalo). Hodermarsky will take to the mats against Kent State's Ryan Simmons, who lost to Josh Wooton (NIU) in the semifinals.
Session One Recap During the afternoon session at the MAC Tournament, held at Rose Arena on the campus of Central Michigan University, five Bobcats recorded opening round decisions on Saturday afternoon, while two more Ohio wrestlers earned first round byes.
Percival remained undefeated on the season with a 19-4 technical fall decision over Eastern Michigan's Nick Conklin. Percival registered his seventh technical fall of the season in a time of 5:55. As the fourth-ranked wrestler in the nation, he will take to the mats for the second time in three weeks against Buffalo's Ryan Bentley. Percival defeated the fourth-seeded MAC grappler (149) in the regular season finale at the Convocation Center on Feb. 23.
Carrizales (133) posted a 7-4 decision against Zack Pyles (Eastern Michigan). As the top seed heading into the tournament, he will match up with Jason Borelli of the Chippewas in the semifinals.
Willis inched closer to the 30-win plateau as he scored a 7-3 victory over Adam Gilmore (Eastern Michigan). Willis leads the Bobcats in victories this season. At 184, Mark Shrout recorded the 10th win of his senior campaign with a 3-1 upset decision over Kent State's Alex Camargo. The Golden Flash grappler entered the meet as the No. 3 seed in that weight class. Willis and Shrout each advance to the second round for matchups with Central Michigan opponents.
Jones made it seven Ohio wrestlers to advance to the second round with a four-point triumph over Harold Sherrell of Buffalo. Jones outscored his heavyweight counterpart, 9-5, and will next face Dane Bonnigson (Eastern Michigan) in a battle of two and three seeds. Jones owns a 2-0 advantage against Bonnigson this year, having beaten him once at the Michigan State Open and once during MAC play.
Two other Ohio wrestlers advanced to the semifinals in their respective weight classes, receiving byes for the afternoon session. Two-time national qualifier Luke Moore will wrestle Saturday night at 165, while Paul Hodermarsky (141) received a bye into the next round. Moore will get a chance to avenge a late-season overtime loss to KSU's Nick Nemeth. Meanwhile, Hodermarsky will have to contend with the host team's Jason Mester, the No. 1-ranked MAC wrestler among all 141-pounders.
In other action, Weimer nearly made it eight Bobcat semifinalists, instead losing a hard-fought decision by just one point to EMU's Travis Kraft. Stevens came out on the short end of a 6-0 decision against No. 2 seed Marlon Felton (Northern Illinois) at 125 pounds. Robert Lyons also fell to a second-seeded wrestler in his weight division (157), losing a 14-1 major decision to Kent State's Mike Tolar. All three await their consolation round opponents.