Wrestling slammed by Central Michigan

Freshman Justin Ruffin, right, wrestles against his 157-pound Central Michigan University opponent Sunday in the Vadalabene Center. Ruffin beat his opponent 3-2.

Wrestling finished their Mid-American Conference season with a 32-10 loss against Central Michigan University Sunday in the Vadalabene Center. Three SIUE wrestlers bested their opponents. 

“The score didn’t really reflect how we wrestled, in my opinion. I think every guy went out and scrapped. We gave them a couple of points by fault, where I think if we would have kept fighting we would have got up in there,” 157-pound freshman Justin Ruffin said.

Even though they didn’t win, Head Coach Jeremy Spates said the team took away many highlights from the competition.

Freshman Sergio Villalobos gave the Cougars a head start by outdoing CMU senior Jordan Atienza 12-11 in the 184-pound  weight class. 

“We did alright — we had some good individual wins. Sergio Villalobos in the first match defeated — I’m pretty sure — a national qualifier, so that was a good win,” Spates said. 

The next three matches were taken by the Chippewas with three straight pins.

“The scoreboard shows that we probably didn’t do as good as we wanted to … It’s late in the season, but we still have time to work on things. It’s just tiny little tweaks and changes there that we have to fix that will change the score greatly, I think,” 165-pound redshirt senior Nate Higgins said after the day’s matches.

Ruffin put the Cougars back on the scoreboard with a 3-2 win against CMU sophomore Bret Fedewa at 157 pounds, while Higgins was able to push through to bring his season record to 8-11.

“Nate Higgins at 165, he’s been in a little bit of a slump. He hasn’t been wrestling great. He went out and got bonus points today and really wrestled well, so we’re excited about that,” Spates said.

Higgins defeated his opponent 14-4.

“This week I’ve been working on getting to the inside tie on our feet … I’m always working towards the inside of the tie while me and the guy are tied up,” Higgins said.

In order to beat their upcoming competition, Spates plans to work on the wrestlers’ mental game and tweaking technical aspects of the game.

“We will really work on [our technical game]. We’ll go watch a lot of film with the guys and see where we can do things a little bit differently, and then a few guys need to change their mentality, too. So we’ll work on some different things with different individuals,” Spates said. 

The Cougars are now 1-9 overall and will face Old Dominion University in Virginia Friday. 

Multimedia Editor Bre Booker

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