CMU's Tom Borrelli, along with NIU's Ryan Ludwig, were named MAC Co-Coaches of the Year (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Mid-American Conference announced today the wrestling postseason awards for the 2020 season. Sharing the honor as MAC Coach of the Year is Central Michigan's Tom Borrelli and NIU's Ryan Ludwig as Co-Coaches of the Year. Central Michigan junior Matt Stencel was named MAC Wrestler of the Year and NIU's Izzak Olejnik was named MAC Freshman of the Year. The awards were voted on by the Conference's 15 head wrestling coaches.
In his 29th year at Central Michigan, Borrelli led the Chippewas to a runner-up finish at the MAC Championships and an 8-4 overall, 7-2 MAC, dual-meet record. Three of Borrelli's charges won individual MAC titles, including Dresden Simon at 141 pounds, who was named the MAC Championship Outstanding Wrestler Award. Central Michigan was the only MAC program with more than one MAC Champion. Six Chippewas earned a berth in the NCAA Championships, which ranked second in the MAC among the 15 league teams only behind Missouri's eight selections.
Borrelli has amassed a 337-155-7 dual-meet record in 29 years at Central Michigan. His 337 Division I dual-meet victories are second to Oklahoma State's John Smith among active coaches and currently ranks 17th in NCAA history.
NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig guided the Huskies to one of their most successful seasons as NIU amassed 13 wins on the season, the most by a Huskie wrestling team since 2004-05. The Huskies saw four of their wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships and had its first MAC champion since 2013, as Brit Wilson defeated Dylan Wisman of Missouri for the 184 pound championship.
The eighth-year Huskie head man led NIU to a third-place finish at the 2020 MAC Wrestling Championships, its best since 2009 when the league featured just six wrestling teams. Ludwig is the first Huskie head coach to earn MAC Coach of the Year since his mentor, Dave Grant in 2002.
Central Michigan junior Matt Stencel won his third-consecutive MAC title at 285 pounds to cap a 30-4 season. He also qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third-straight year. Stencel finished 11-1 in duals, including 9-0 in MAC duals, and posted victories by pin, tying for second in the nation in that category.
A native of Oregon, Ohio, Stencel was ranked fourth nationally, closed the season on a 13-match win streak and won 19 of his final 20 matches of the season.
NIU redshirt freshman Izzak Olejnik turned in an impressive campaign wrestling at 165 pounds. Olejnik wrestled to a 19-10 overall record, including a 7-2 ledger in the MAC. He finished second at the 2020 MAC Championships, earning a bid to the NCAA Championships. Olejnik went 3-0 in matches decided by major decision and 3-1 in bouts decided by pin.
A native of Bakersfield, Calif., Olejnik's biggest victory of the season came against Buffalo's Tory Keller in the Conference regular season finale, defeating the NCAA qualifier 5-3 in overtime. Olejnik won eight of his last nine matches on the season, with his only loss coming in the rematch with Keller in the MAC Championships.