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North Central College North Central College is offline
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North Central Repeats as CCIW Champions

Headlined by four individual champions across the tournament, the North Central College men's wrestling team found themselves at the top of the standings for the second consecutive year at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Wrestling Championship, prevailing by two points to runner-up Millikin University.

The Cardinals were in front for a majority of the tournament, taking an early lead and never looking back. They finished with 133.5 points, with Millikin University finishing as runner-up with 131.5. In a distant third place was host Elmhurst College with 90 points. The rest of the field ended up as Wheaton College in fourth (79.5 points), Concordia University-Wisconsin in fifth (58.5), Milwaukee School of Engineering in sixth (54.5), and Augustana College in seventh (53).

North Central grapplers were on the top of the podium for four of the 10 weight classes, with Moe Mitchell being the first at 125. Mitchell had a first round bye before winning by major decision (12-4) in the semifinal. He then was able to get a 6-4 decision victory in the championship to win his first individual conference championship of his career.

The second individual champion was at 133, with Jaime Suarez claiming first by blowing through his competition. He first was able to tech fall his opponent 17-2 at 3:14 before scoring a 12-3 major decision in the semifinal to make it to the final. He then claimed his first conference championship by injury default in the final.

The third Cardinal to claim an individual championship was Cam Hayes at 174. Hayes pinned his opponent in the first match up before carrying that momentum to an 8-2 decision in the semifinals and a 7-4 decision in the final over Millikin's Hedrick. The final wrestler to claim a title was Tyler Vittal at 197. Vittal got to the final match with ease, recording a fall in the first round before scoring a 9-4 decision victory. He then capped off the Cardinals championship night by scoring a gripping 8-6 victory over the third-ranked 197-lb wrestler in the country, Keajion Jennings from Millikin.

Runner-up finishers for the Cardinals were Anthony Rink at 141 (14 team points), Cody Baldridge at 184 (13), Audel Ochoa at 285 (14). Also scoring for the Cardinals, Marc Fleenor finished third at 141 (10.5), Danny Harris finished fourth at 165 (8.5), and Dominick Ambrose finished fifth at 157 (8).

This is the Cardinal's eighth CCIW Conference Championship in program history and second under the direction of head coach Joe Norton, who was named as the CCIW Co-coach of the Year along with Millikin's Ryan Birt. Chris Williams, Millikin's 141-lb. wrestler, won the tournament's most outstanding wrestler for his efforts on his way to his individual conference championship at 141.

The Cardinals look ahead to Feb. 23-24 when they compete at the NCAA Division III Lower Midwest Region Championships in Dubuque, Iowa for a chance at a national championship berth.
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titan442 titan442 is offline
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Great article. I'm an alumnus of Illinois Wesleyan, so I know the CCIW well. Congrats to North Central and to all of the wrestlers and coaches in the conference. Good luck to all wrestlers the rest of the way!
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