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EMU Grapplers Conclude MAC Competition Friday at No. 10 CMU
Eagles take on sixth nationally-ranked opponent this season
Jacob Dorulla KSU 2013
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YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) –
The Eastern Michigan University wrestling team competes in its final Mid-American Conference dual-meet of the 2012-13 season Friday evening, Feb. 18, against No. 10 Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant Mich. Match time is slated for 7 p.m.
  
The Eagles (7-11; 1-3 MAC) will battle a nationally-ranked team for the sixth time this season when they meet up with the 11-time defending conference champion Chippewas (12-3; 4-0 MAC). EMU is 1-4 in its endeavors against ranked opponents this year.

CHIP DIP: In case you hadn't noticed, Central Michigan has all but run the table in the MAC in recent years, having won the previous 11 conference titles. This dominance has been bad news for the Eagles, who are 9-54-1 all-time against CMU have not recorded a victory during the seven-year tenure of Head Coach Derek DelPorto. Last season, CMU upended EMU, 21-12.
  
It has not all been bad news for EMU wrestlers when taking on CMU, as redshirt junior Nick Whitenburg has won his match at 197 lbs. in each of the last two seasons against a grappler wearing the Maroon and Gold.

SCOUTING THE CHIPPEWAS: Central Michigan boasts five top-25 wrestlers including a pair which crack the nations top-five. At 184 lbs., Ben Bennett holds down the No. 2 spot while Jarod Trice occupies the No. 5 ranking at heavyweight. Christian Cullinan is No. 7 at 125 lbs., while Scott Sentes is No. 7 at 133 lbs. and Chris Mecate is No. 16 at 141 lbs. 
  
CMU has won five matches in-a-row since losing to No. 19 Virginia, 20-13, Jan. 12.
 
“Central has a very specific style of wrestling throughout their lineup,” noted Head Coach Derek DelPorto. “We will prepare for that style and fight as hard as we can.  They always have a knowledgeable crowd so they will present a small distraction.  Regardless, we will fight!”

A PAIR OF INSPIRED PERFORMANCES: Redshirt seniors Filiberto Colon and Aaron Sulzer made the most of their Senior Night bouts Friday, Feb. 1, against Kent State. Both grapplers recorded pins on the evening and accounted for 12 of EMU's 15 team points.
 
“I was very proud,” said Head Coach Derek DelPorto. “Getting a pin at this level against quality opponents is not an easy task, let alone on Senior night.  That was fun to watch.“
  
Friday was Colon's first regular-season match of the year. The Belleville, N.J. native wrestled in a pair of unattached matches earlier in the season, but had not recorded a victory until he pinned Mack McGuire at the 5:58 mark of the 133 lbs. bout.
  
Sulzer's pin at 157 lbs. against Tom Sasfy was his fourth of the year and brought record to 16-9 overall, 11-6 in regular-season tussles and 4-0 in conference action. A win Friday against CMU would make him the second EMU wrestler in as many seasons (Andrew Novak) to post an undefeated MAC season.

SENIOR NIGHT UPSET FALLS SHORT: Despite pins by Aaron Sulzer and Filiberto Colon, the Eagles could not hold onto a nine-point lead against Kent State on Senior Night, Feb. 1. The Golden Flashes made up a 15-6 deficit to walk away with a 24-15 win and down the Eagles for a 29th consecutive time.
  
Redshirt junior Seth Schaner was the only other Eagle to win his match. Schaner evened his MAC record at 2-2 for the Eagles with an 11-10 decision against Luke Kern at 141 lbs.
  
Prior to the dual-meet, Sulzer, Colon and heavyweight Chris Eggert were recognized for their contributions to the EMU wrestling team over their careers.

REGULAR SEASON CONCLUDES FEB. 17 AT BOWEN: The 2012-13 regular season draws to a close Sunday, Feb. 17, when the Eagles host Iowa State at Bowen Field House. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. EMU is 2-3 in home matches this season, having beaten Cleveland State, Nov. 30, and Olivet, Jan. 16
  
The dual-meet with the Cyclones will be EMU's first look at one of three teams which will join the MAC for the 2013-14 season in wrestling. Missouri and Old Dominion will also wrestle out of the MAC beginning next season.

NOT ALL ABOUT WINS AND LOSSES: Wrestling is set up where regular-season success or failure does not necessarily mean the same in the postseason. For example the 1995-96 Eagles went 1-4 in MAC matches during the regular season but ran away with the MAC tournament championship.
  
For Derek DelPorto's squad, the focus now turns to peaking at the right time for a postseason run. “I think we are progressing well,” said DelPorto. “I believe we will be in great shape for the MAC Tournament, which is our ultimate goal at this point in the season.”

MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS ON THE HORIZON: The 2013 MAC Championships will be held Sunday, March 10, on the campus of the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. The Eagles will attempt to build off a third-place finish last season when they ultimately sent four grapplers to the NCAA Championships as a result of their performance at the conference tournament.
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