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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2023-24 InterMat's Year-End MAC Awards

    The 2023-24 season is in the record books, but before moving on, it’s time to salute the top performers in each conference. Yesterday, we started with the Big 12 conference; now, onto the MAC. 

    MAC Wrestler of the Year: Anthony Noto (Lock Haven)

    This makes for the third consecutive year that Anthony Noto has been honored in our year-end awards. He was named the conference wrestler of the year in 2023, and in 2022, the freshman (newcomer) of the year. 

    Noto came into the 2023-24 season ranked second in the preseason after a fourth-place finish in 2023. At two points during this year, Noto held the number one spot in the nation. A few weeks after competing in the All-Star Classic, Noto defeated the eventual ACC champion, Jakob Camacho (NC State), who was ranked #1 in the country, at the time. 

    At the 2024 MAC Championships, Noto used a 13-5 major decision over Blake West to claim his third consecutive conference title. In doing so, Noto became the first Lock Haven wrestler to win three conference championships since 1997. 

    Despite dominating the MAC, Noto was given the 12th seed in Kansas City. That set him up for a first-round match against All-American Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State), the only first-round meeting between two All-Americans in the tournament. Noto won that bout 5-3 and another over Diego Sotelo (Harvard) to make the quarterfinals. In the quarters, Noto used an overtime takedown to defeat returning NCAA runner-up, Matt Ramos (Purdue). Ramos was the opponent who defeated Noto in the All-Star Classic. 

    After a close, one-point loss to the eventual national champion (Richie Figueroa - Arizona State) in the semifinals, Noto bounced back with wins over Big Ten opponents, Caleb Smith (Nebraska) then Eric Barnett (Wisconsin) to claim third place. 

    With at least another year of eligibility remaining, Noto holds an 84-10 career record and will be considered one of the top title contenders at a turbulent 125 lb weight class. 

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    photo courtesy of George Mason athletics

    MAC Freshman of the Year: DJ McGee (George Mason)

    For the second year in a row, George Mason has the conference Freshman of the Year. This season’s honor goes to 157 lber DJ McGee, who finished with a 25-7 record. That was a bit unexpected after McGee went 7-3 during his redshirt season. 

    McGee started the year with a nine-match winning streak - one that included a title at the Battle at the Citadel and a shocking upset over returning All-American Michael Blockhus of Minnesota. McGee proved his Blockhus win was no fluke as he finished fourth at the Midlands just over a month later. 

    After the new year, McGee closed out the dual season with wins in five of his last six bouts. His only loss during that stretch came against eventual All-American Peyten Kellar (Ohio). McGee saw Kellar again in the MAC finals, but still fell 2-0. McGee ended up as the runner-up in the conference’s deepest weight class. In the MAC semis, McGee posted his second win of the season over eventual Round of 12 finisher Johnny Lovett (Central Michigan). 

    In Kansas City, McGee went 1-2 in a brutal 157 lbs weight class. His lone win came at the expense of North Carolina’s Sonny Santiago by a 4-2 score. The two opponents who defeated McGee were seeded in the top-11. 

    Borrelli_Tom970.jpg

    photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriiors.com

    MAC Coach of the Year: Tom Borrelli (Central Michigan)

    Just two days after winning his 15th MAC title, Tom Borrelli announced he would step down from his post as Central Michigan’s head coach after 33 years at the helm for the Chippewas. In his final campaign with CMU, Borrelli’s squad went 8-8 with a 6-1 record in the conference. Three Central Michigan wrestlers earned a trip to nationals in Kansas City, led by 174 lb MAC champion Alex Cramer. 

    At his final national tournament, Borrelli saw Cramer go 2-2 and Lovett advanced to the bloodround before coming up a match shy of earning All-American status. Lovett suffered a first-round loss, but bounced back with wins over three opponents seeded higher than him to make the Round of 12. 

    The 2023-24 dual season brought Borrelli’s career record to 368-179. He ended up coaching 45 All-Americans and 93 MAC champions. Borrelli had a national champion (Casey Cunningham - 1999) and three top-ten finishes at the NCAA Tournament. CMU’s fifth-place finish in 1998 represented the highwater mark for Borrelli and the Chippewas. 

    As of now, three of his former wrestlers are current DI head coaches. 

     

    Previous Award Winners

    MAC Wrestler of the Year

    2023: Anthony Noto (Lock Haven)

    2022: Matt Stencel (Central Michigan)

     

    MAC Freshman of the Year

    2023: Nathan Higley (George Mason)

    2022: Anthony Noto (Lock Haven)

     

    MAC Coach of the Year

    2023: Keith Ferraro (Clarion)

    2022: Scott Moore (Lock Haven)

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