EVANSTON, Ill. -- Senior Ben Bennett finally grabbed the Midlands Championships title that has been eluding him through his prestigious Central Michigan career, defeating No. 1 seed Robert Hamlin of Lehigh Sunday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Bennettt entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed and a three-time Midlands runner-up, but breezed his way through the bracket before eventually earning a slim 1-0 decision over No. 3 Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland to set up a rematch of last year's final with Hamlin. The win of Sheptock also made Bennett the 16th member of the Chippewas' 100-win club.
The championship bout came down to riding time and it was Bennett who had a 1:30 advantage, earning him the 2-1 victory and avenging the championship loss from a year ago. Bennett was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament.
The Chippewas tallied 76.5 points to finish fifth as a team, thanks in part to four top-eight finishes.
Senior Christian Cullinan also found his way to the podium Sunday, defeating No. 3 seed Cory Clark of Iowa to finish third at 125 pounds. Cullinan defeated Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma, 4-0, in the consolation semifinals to earn a bid to the third-place match.
Junior Joe Roth finished started his day with a 5-3 decision over Dom Malone of Northwestern, but fell to Patterson in the consolation quarterfinals to fall into the seventh-place match. The No. 10 seed was able to defeat No. 1 seed Anthony Zanetta of Pittsburgh to finish seventh at 125 pounds.
Senior Scotti Sentes (133) and junior Craigh Kelliher (174) both finished eighth for the Chippewas. After each winning their first bouts of Sunday's sessions, the two Chippewas fell in the consolation quarterfinals. Sentes then fell by major decision to Randy Cruz of Lehigh in the seventh-place match, 10-0, while Kelliher conceited his bout with No. 7 Bryce Hammond of CSU Bakersfield.
Senior Jarod Trice fell short in his bid for his third Midlands title at 285, falling in the semifinals to eventual champion No. 4 Chad Hanke of Oregon State, 3-2 in the first tiebreaker. Trice went on to finish tied for fifth as the fifth-place match versus No. 2 Michael McMullen did not take place.