CLEVELAND -- Never doubt the importance of bonus points when it comes to college wrestling.
Central Michigan and Cleveland State split their 10 matches, but the Chippewas scored bonus points in three of their victories for the difference in a 21-15 Mid-American Conference dual victory at the Vikings' Woodling Gymnasium. The Chippewas improved to 3-2. Cleveland State is 0-3.
It was the Chippewas' biggest guns who delivered. Fourth-ranked Drew Hildebrandt won on a first-period pin to open the dual at 125 pounds; 12th-ranked Dresden Simon posted a 16-1 technical fall at 141; and fourth-ranked Matt Stencel took a 13-3 major decision at 285.
It was the first pin of the season for Hildebrandt, the first tech fall for Simon, and the first major for Stencel.
"That's why we won the dual meet," CMU coach Tom Borrelli said, adding that while it's nice that all three won in dominant fashion, "we don't want to have to put those guys in that position that they have to do something out of character for the team to win. We want them to be themselves and wrestle their own match and not have to worry about that. They can take that on their shoulders, but it'd be nice if they didn't have to."
Hildebrandt's win staked CMU to a 6-0 lead and the Chippewas never trailed. Their lead was 11-3 after Simon's tech fall and they were up 17-6 following Cramer's win. But Cleveland State won close decisions at 174, 184 and 197 to draw to 17-15 and make things interesting as Stencel, a two-time All-American, took the mat in the night's final bout.
CMU also got close hard-fought decision victories from Johnny Lovett (157) and Alex Cramer (165).
Both Cramer and Lovett earned a riding-time point in their victories, Cramer 3-1 and Lovett 3-2. In Lovett's case, the riding-time point was the difference. CMU's Jake Lowell dropped an 8-4 decision at 174 after trailing 8-1. Lowell rode his opponent throughout the third period and came within a whisker late in the bout of turning him and making things very interesting.
"The nice thing about all of those matches is that Lovett, Cramer and Lowell were really good on top," Borrelli said. "(Lovett) won on a riding-time point and Cramer was good - really good - on top. Even Lowell, he was good on top; he rode the guy the whole third period and was close to turning him. That was the good thing. Those guys wrestled well on top and wrestled really good third periods."
All five of the Chippewas' losses were close: Brock Bergelin (133) and Ben Cushman (184) each lost by one point; Landon Pelham (197) lost by two; and Corbyn Munson (149) lost by three.
The Chippewas go to Buffalo on Sunday for a double-dual with the Bulls and Edinboro. It is CMU's final competition before the Feb. 27-28 MAC Championships.
"I think they'll get better," Borrelli said of his wrestlers, who had not competed since Jan. 17. "It was a shock to the system tonight for some of them. I just felt like it was important for us to get a match in and get a really good blow in. We had guys that were exhausted. You can't simulate what you feel in a match. I felt like that was a pretty good challenge to overcome."
In extra matches, CMU's Drew Marten (133) posted a pair of technical fall victories; Hunter Watts (141) captured a 7-4 victory; Mason Breece won two matches, one of which came on a first-period pin; Tracy Hubbard (157) posted two wins, including a 14-5 major decision; Sage Castillo (197) won by pin in 4:13; and Ryan Ringler (184) also posted a victory.
125: Drew Hildebrandt (CMU) pinned Jake Manley, 1:45
133: Logan Heil (CSU) dec. Brock Bergelin, 7-6
141: Dresden Simon (CMU) tech. fall Joseph Caprella, 4:42 16-1
149: Marcus Robinson (CSU) dec. Corbyn Munson, 8-5
157: Johnny Lovett (CMU) dec. Daniel Patten, 3-2
165: Alex Cramer (CMU) dec. Riley Smucker, 3-1
174: Anthony Rice (CSU) dec. Jake Lowell, 8-4
184: DeAndre Nassar (CSU) dec. Ben Cushman, 3-2
197: Ben Smith (CSU) dec. Landon Pelham, 6-4
285: Matt Stencel (CMU) major dec. John Kelbly, 13-3