By Randy Gregory
Central Michigan University senior Ben Bennett had made it to the finals of the Midlands Wrestling Tournament for the last three seasons before coming up one match short of that elusive title in the prestigious tourney. Sunday, December 30th made it the fourth year in a row for the 2008 Rockford graduate. The first two years were at 174 pounds and the next two were at 184 pounds for the three-time All-American for the Chippewas.
This time would be different however as Bennett squared off in the finals with Robert Hamlin of Lehigh who was seeded third in the nation at 184 pounds. Bennett (seeded fifth nationally prior to the match) used a 1:30 advantage in riding time to claim first place for the Chippewas, who are ranked 11th as a team on the country.
“I was so happy for Ben,” said Rockford wrestling coach Brian Richardson. “I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of his goals this season and I know this was one of them. I think he is ultra focused because he realizes this is his final season as a college wrestler. Nobody works harder than Ben does and he will be a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.”
Bennett was a three-time state champion for the Rams in his prep days as well as being a two-time national champion in junior and senior nationals. His record stands at 12-0 for the 2012-13 campaign and he has now risen to the fourth-ranked wrestler at 184 pounds by both InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News.
Time is running short for Rockford fans and wrestling fans in general to make the trek to Mount Pleasant to see the talented Bennett ply his wares on the mat. Check out Central Michigan Athletics on the web and make it a point to see the physically imposing Bennett in action. You won’t be disappointed!