On senior night, Feb. 20, at the EMU Convocation Center Friday night, Eastern Michigan University’s wrestling team dropped their final dual meet of the year by a score of 24-12 to Mid-American Conference foe Central Michigan University.
For Eagles Jake Byers, Mike Curby and brothers Brandon and Collin Zeerip, this would be the final time they would be able to come out to be introduced as Eagles in front of their home crowd.
In the opening match at 125 lbs., Eastern’s Blake Caudill trailed Central’s Brent Fleetwood 3-0 going into the third period. With two seconds before the match ended, Caudill, still trailing, flipped the script and pinned Fleetwood and what was nearly an early 3-0 deficit for EMU turned into a 6-0 lead.
It looked as though Eastern’s seniors would be heading out in style, but Central Michigan reminded everyone it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
Central would go on to win five straight decisions in the 133, 141, 149, 157 and 165 lb. bouts. All five decisions were decided by five points or less. The 149 lb. match between Nicholas Barber and Colin Heffernan as well as the 157 lb. matchup between Cody LeCount and Brandon Zeerip would both go into overtime to be decided, but the Chippewas went on to win each match.
The Eagles trailed 6-15 at the conclusion of the 165 lb. bout, but with four matches to go a victory was still within reach. That would change though in the 174 lb. match between EMU’s Kevin MacCallum and CMU’s Jordan Ellingwood.
Leading 3-0 with 1:17 left in the second period, Ellingwood pinned MacCallum to pick up six points for Central. The pin increased Central’s lead over Eastern to 21-6 and Eastern’s hopes of coming out on top became slim at best.
Eastern’s Mike Curby dropped a close 4-2 decision in the 184 lb. weight class to Central’s Austin Severn, increasing Central’s lead to 24-6.
In the 197 lb. matchup between EMU redshirt junior Anthony Abro and CMU’s Jackson Lewis, the two were tied at the end of three periods and required overtime to settle things. With just nine seconds left, Abro did secured the win with a takedown.
“I just kept pushing and pushing until I finally got to my offense and scored,” Abro said.
EMU redshirt freshman Gage Hutchison finished off the night by winning a 7-5 decision over Adam Robinson in the heavyweight match. The win added another three points to Eastern’s team score, but Central would walk away with the 24-12 win.
With the loss for EMU, the Eagles finish the year with an 8-12 regular season record, to pair with a 1-7 MAC record. While this record indicates a slight step backwards compared to last season’s 13-7 record, the Eagles believe there is a bright future ahead for the program.
“We’ve got a really good freshman class,” Abro said. ”We’ve got a lot of redshirt[s] right now, guys who could really be keys to winning next year that are going to be really important. I think next year we’ll come back a lot stronger.”
The year is not over yet for Eastern Michigan, as they now look forward to their opportunity to compete in the MAC Championships. The tournament held in Columbia, Missouri, will get underway on Saturday, March 7, and conclude the following day.
125: Blake Caudill (EMU) pinned Brent Fleetwood (CMU) Pin, 6:58 EMU 6, CMU 0
133: Tyler Keselring (CMU) def. Vincent Pizzuto (EMU) 2-1 EMU 6, CMU 3
141: Zach Horan (CMU) def. Michael Shaw (EMU) 7-2 EMU 6, CMU 6
149: Colin Heffernan (CMU) def. Nicholas Barber (EMU) 5-1 (OT) EMU 6, CMU 9
157: Cody LeCount (CMU) def. Brandon Zeerip (EMU) 3-1 (OT) EMU 6, CMU 12
165: Jordan Wohlfert (CMU) def. Devan Marry (EMU) 7-2 EMU 6, CMU 15
174: Jordan Ellingwood (CMU) pin. Kayne MacCallum (EMU) 3:43 EMU 6, CMU 21
184: Austin Severn (CMU) def. Mike Curby (EMU) 4-2 EMU 6, CMU 24
197: Anthony Abro (EMU) def. Jackson Lewis (CMU) 3-1 (OT) EMU 9, CMU 24
HWT: Gage Hutchison (EMU) def. Adam Robinson (CMU) 7-5 EMU 12, CMU 24