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Central Michigan favored to win MAC Championships, which will have 22 Pre-Allocation Spots for the NCAA meet

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Matt Stencel (Central Michigan) image courtesy of Central Michigan Athletics

The 2022 Mid-American Conference Championships will be held on March 4-5 at Convocation Center in Ohio, hosted by Ohio University. Fans can watch live on ESPN+, with complete information on the schedule and streaming links at the MAC Championships Central page

It is safe to say that the 2022 MAC Championships will be different than last year. Missouri, which won every conference title they entered in the MAC, has returned to the Big 12. This year will be a battle to see which team steps up to become the champion in Mizzou’s absence. Central Michigan is the only MAC school in the final NWCA Div. I poll at No. 21, and is the only conference school to receive any votes.

Below, find a breakdown of the tournament, including wrestlers in the final NCAA Coaches Rankings of the season and a highlight on each team taking the mat this weekend. There are 22 wrestlers ranked in the final coaches poll of the year who are set to wrestle for individual titles.

MAC in the Final NCAA Coaches Rankings

125 pounds: No. 21 Anthony Noto (Lock Haven), No. 33 Jake Ferri (Kent State)

133 pounds: No. 33 Richie Koehler (Rider)

141 pounds: No. 11 Dresden Simon (Central Michigan), No. 30 Gabe Willochell (Edinboro), No. 32 Kaden Cassidy (George Mason)

149 pounds: No. 23 Corbyn Munson (Central Michigan), No. 27 Alec Hagen (Ohio), No. 29 Brent Moore (Clarion), No. 30 Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State), No. 31 John Arceri (Buffalo)

157 pounds: No. 14 Johnny Lovett (Central Michigan), No. 30 Ben Barton (Lock Haven), No. 32 Alex Carida (Bloomsburg)

165 pounds: No. 14 Izzak Olejnik (Northern Illinois), No. 27 Ashton Eyler (Lock Haven),

174 pounds: No. 22 Sal Perrine (Ohio), No. 26 Mason Kaufman (Northern Illinois)

184 pounds: No. 14 Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois)

197 pounds: No. 32 Will Feldkamp (Clarion)

Heavyweight: No. 8 Matt Stencel (Central Michigan), No. 26 Isaac Reid (Lock Haven)

NCAA Pre-Allocation Spots (22 total): 125 (1), 133 (1), 141 (3), 149 (5), 157 (2), 165 (3), 174 (2), 184 (2), 197 (1), 285 (2)

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (12-4 record overall, 7-0 conference)

The Chippewas return with two MAC champions, Dresden Simon (141) and Matt Stencel (285). Stencel became only the ninth four-time MAC champion in conference history last year, and because the NCAA did not count last season on eligibility, will seek to become a five-timer. Simon has won the last two MAC titles and is gunning for No. 3. Nine of the 10 Chippewas received a seed this year, with Johnny Lovett (157) joining Simon and Stencel as No. 1 seeds. Four CMU wrestlers are in the Coaches Rankings. Undefeated in conference dual meets, CMU is the favorite to win this year.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: No. 21
Returning 2021 MAC champions: Dresden Simon (141), Matt Stencel (285)
2021 MAC team placement – 2nd
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Dresden Simon (No. 1 at 141), Johnny Lovett (No. 1 at 157), Matt Stencel (No. 1 at 285), Brock Bergelin (No. 2 at 125), Aaron Bolo (No. 2 at 197), Brent Fedewa (No. 3 at 174), Tracy Hubbard (No. 4 at 165), Corbyn Munson (No. 5 at 149), Vince Perez (No. 8 at 133)

LOCK HAVEN (10-5 record overall, 6-1 conference)

Lock Haven had a strong dual meet season, going 6-1 in the conference, with their only loss to Buffalo. It is safe to say Lock Haven will improve on last year’s last place finish at the conference meet and has a big chance to get very close to the top. They have a No. 1 seed in Anthony Noto at 125, and four wrestlers seeded in the top four of their weight. Lock Haven has four athletes in the latest Coaches Rankings, meaning they are expected to qualify for the NCAAs.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 14th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Anthony Noto (No. 1 at 125), Isaac Reed (No. 2 at 285), Ben Barton (No. 3 at 157), Gable Strickland (No. 4 at 133), Parker McClellan (No. 6 at 197), Tyler Stoltzfus (No. 7 at 174)

BUFFALO (12-6 record overall, 7-2 conference)

Buffalo’s 7-2 conference dual meet record includes losses to Central Michigan and Clarion. How strong a tournament team the Bulls are will be determined by the team depth. Their highest seed is No. 2 Derek Spann at 133. There are eight seeded athletes in this lineup, and if they can beat their seeds, they can challenge for one of the higher spots. John Arceri (149) is the only athlete in the most recent Coaches Rankings.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 9th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Derek Spann (No. 2 at 133), John Arceri (No. 4 at 149), Sam Mitchell (No. 4 at 197), Michael Petite (No. 5 at 157), Noah Grover (No. 5 at 165), Jay Nivison (No. 5 at 174), Toby Cahill (No. 8 at 285), Peter Acciardi (No. 8 at 184)

OHIO (9-4 record overall, 5-3 conference)

Ohio had a winning record in the conference, going 5-3 against MAC rivals. Especially notable is their win over Lock Haven. Two of their wrestlers received No. 2 seeds this year, Jodan Slivka (157) and Sal Perrine (174) and they have seven seeded wrestlers. Perrine and Alec Hagen (141) appear in the Coaches Ranking. They should improve on last year’s 12th place finish if their athletes compete close to seed.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 12th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Jordan Slivka (No. 2 at 157), Sal Perrine (No. 2 at 174), Gio DiSabato (No. 3 at 133), Kyran Hagan (No. 4 at 141), Alec Hagan (No. 6 at 149), Zayne Lehman (No. 6 at 184), Oscar Sanchez (No. 7 at 125)

KENT STATE (7-7 record overall, 5-4 conference)

Kent State also had a winning conference dual meet record, going 5-4 against MAC teams. KSU has seven seeded wrestlers, with their highest seed being No. 2 Colin McCracken at 184. Jake Ferri is next with No. 4 at 125. Ferri is the only KSU wrestler in the Coaches Rankings. With seven seeded wrestlers in the MAC, they can be in the hunt if they improve upon their seeds.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 8th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Colin McCracken (No. 2 at 184), Jake Ferri (No. 4 at 125), Brendon Fenton (No. 5 at 133), Brady Chrisman (No. 6 at 165), Kody Komara (No. 7 at 149), Tyler Bates (No. 7 at 197), Bobby Pryhocki (No. 8 at 157)

CLARION (9-7 record overall, 5-5 conference)

Clarion had a winning dual meet season, and went 5-5 in MAC duals this year. Clarion is led by a No. 1 seed Will Feldkamp (197) and a No. 2 seed, Brent Moore at 149. Both athletes appear in the Coaches Rankings. They have six seeded wrestlers in the MAC Tournament.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 7th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Will Feldkamp (No. 1 at 197), Brent Moore (No. 2 at 149), Seth Koleno (No. 3 at 141), Tyler Bagoly (No. 5 at 285), Joey Fischer (No. 6 at 125), John Worthing (No. 6 at 174)

CLEVELAND STATE (6-8 record overall, 5-5 conference)

Cleveland State is led by No. 1 seed Marcus Robinson (149), who placed second in the conference meet last year. Ashton Eyler has the No. 2 seed at 165, and three other Cleveland State wrestlers have No. 3 seeds. These wrestlers could score many points for CSU. Robinson is the only Cleveland State wrestler in the Coaches Rankings.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions:
2021 MAC team placement –6th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Marcus Robinson (No. 1 at 149), Ashton Eyler (No. 2 at 165), Logan Heil (No. 3 at 125), Riley Smucker (No. 3 at 165), Ben Smith (No. 3 at 197), Deandre Nassar (No. 3 at 184), Jacob Manley (No. 7 at 133)

RIDER (4-10 record overall, 4-4 conference)

Rider has a No. 1 seed in Richie Koehler at 133, who placed second in the conference meet last year. They also have a No. 2 seed in Quinn Kinner at 144. Koehler is the only Rider wrestler in the Coaches Rankings. With just four seeded wrestlers, and a rough dual meet season, Rider will be stretched to approach their third-place finish from last year.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 3rd
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Richie Koehler (No. 1 at 133), Quinn Kinner (No. 2 at 144), Tyler Klinsky (No. 5 at 125), David Szuba (No. 6 at 285)

GEORGE MASON (9-8 record overall, 3-4 conference)

George Mason has some depth in its lineup, with eight athletes earning a seed for the MAC Championships. Their highest seed is Alex Madrigal at No. 3 at 149. Kaden Cassidy (141) is the only George Mason athlete in the Coaches Rankings.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 11th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Alex Madrigal (No. 3 at 149), Logan Messer (No. 4 at 174), Kyle Davis (No. 4 at 184), Kaden Cassidy (No. 6 at 141), Avery Bassett (No. 6 at 157), Tyler Bates (No. 7 at 197), Ben Monn (No. 8 at 125), Tyler Kocak (No. 8 at 165)

NORTHERN ILLINOIS (6-10 record overall, 2-4 conference)

If you look at Northern Illinois dual meet record, including a 2-4 conference slate, and you would not think this will be a good weekend for them. However, they bring back defending champion Britt Wilson (184), and have three No. 1 seeds, Wilson, Izaak Olejnik (165) and Mason Kauffman (174). These three alone should capture a lot of points in the standings. Their finish may be determined by how many placewinners they get beyond their top seeds. It will be difficult to match last year’s fourth place, but it is truly possible.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: Britt Wilson (184)
2021 MAC team placement – 4th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Izzak Olejnik (No. 1 at 165), Mason Kauffman (No. 1 at 174), Britt Wilson (No. 1 at 197), Will Feldkamp (No. 1 at 197), Anthony Cheloni (No. 8 at 149), Anthony Gibson (No. 7 at 157), Terrese Aaron (No. 7 at 285)

BLOOMSBURG (9-6 record overall, 2-4 conference)

Bloomsburg’s top seeds are No. 4 Alex Carida at 157 and No. 4 Shane Noonan at 285. Carida is Bloom’s only wrestler in the Coaches Rankings. With only four seeds, Bloomsburg will be scrapping for points in the team standings.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 13th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Alex Carida (No. 4 at 157), Shane Noonan (No. 4 at 285), Cole Rhone (No. 6 at 133), Josh Mason (No. 8 at 141)

EDINBORO (2-11 record overall, 1-7 conference)

Edinboro went 1-7 in the conference and have three wrestlers seeded for the MAC Championships, including a pair of No. 5 seeds in Gabe Willochel (141) and Cody Mulligan (197). Willochel is the only Scot in the Coaches Rankings.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 5th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Gabe Willochel (No. 5 at 141), Cody Mulligan (No. 5 at 197), Ethan Ducca (No. 5 at 184), Dylan Kohn (No. 7 at 165)

SIU-EDWARDSVILLE (1-14 record overall, 1-7 conference)

SIU-Edwardsville won just one dual meet this year, but it was against a conference rival in Clarion. Their highest seed at the MAC Championships is No. 3 Colton McKiernan at 285. None on this roster are in the Coaches Rankings. McKeirnan would need to reach the finals to get an automatic spot in the NCAA Championships.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A
Returning 2021 MAC champions: None
2021 MAC team placement – 10th
2022 MAC Pre-seeds: Colton McKiernan (No. 3 at 285), Saul Ervin (No. 7 at 141), Sergio Villalobos (No. 7 at 184), Kevin Gschwendtner (No. 8 at 174)

2021 MAC Championships results
125 - Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan) won by decision over Noah Surtin (Missouri) Dec 6-1
133 - Matt Schmitt (Missouri) won by decision over Richie Koehler (Rider) Dec 9-6
141 - Dresden Simon (Central Michigan) won by decision over McKenzie Bell (Rider) Dec 12-5
149 - Brock Mauller (Missouri) won by decision over Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State) Dec 6-0
157 - Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) won by decision over Jarrett Jacques (Missouri) Dec 3-2
165 - Keegan O`Toole (Missouri) won by decision over Izzak Olejnik (Northern Illinois) Dec 6-2
174 - Andrew McNally (Kent State) won by decision over Peyton Mocco (Missouri) Dec 8-7
184 - Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois) won by fall over Jeremiah Kent (Missouri) Fall 4:33
197 - Rocky Elam (Missouri) won by decision over Ben Smith (Cleveland State) Dec 10-4
285 - Matt Stencel (Central Michigan) won by decision over Ethan Laird (Rider) Dec 8-2

1. Missouri, 188.5
2. Central Michigan, 129.0
3. Rider, 120.5
4. Northern Illinois, 90.0
5. Edinboro, 80.0
6. Cleveland State, 68.0
7. Clarion, 57.5
8. Kent State, 54.0
9. Buffalo, 44.0
10. SIU Edwardsville, 43.5
11. George Mason, 35.0
12. Ohio, 34.0
13. Bloomsburg, 28.5
14. Lock Haven, 15.0

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