2022-2023 Early NCAA Lineup Looks

Early Lineup Look: 2022-23 Central Michigan Chippewas

Early Lineup Look: 2022-23 Central Michigan Chippewas

Central Michigan has finished in the top 25 in duals each of the last two seasons, but the Chippewas have some key lineup vacancies to fill.

Aug 22, 2022 by Mark Spezia
Early Lineup Look: 2022-23 Central Michigan Chippewas

Central Michigan will be in rebuilding mode after losing much of the firepower from last season's squad which went 12-4 — the program's most dual wins since 2013 — and 7-0 in the Mid-American Conference before finishing second to Lock Haven in the MAC tourney. 

The Chippewas were #21 in the final NWCA Top 25 Poll for the second straight year. CMU beat then-#25 Campbell and South Dakota State, 25th in the final poll, and lost a squeaker to Michigan State (#15) by two points.

Only 14 other Division 1 programs (out of 78) were ranked among the nation's top 21 in the season-ending poll the past two years.

Duplicating that feat will likely prove difficult, however, with only five starters back. Just two wrestlers on CMU's 2022-23 roster have ever competed in the NCAA Championships in which the Chippewas finished 39th last season.  

Among the departed are stalwarts Matt Stencel (285) and Dresden Simon (141), who combined for three All-Americans honors, eight NCAA Championships berths and seven MAC titles during their careers.  

Central Michigan's 2022-23 Projected Lineup 

125: Sean Spidle

133: Vince Perez

141: Ja'Karion Meritt 

149: Corbyn Munson

157: Johnny Lovett

165: Tracy Hubbard

174: Alex Cramer

184: Ben Cushman 

197: Cade Dallwitz

285: Bryan Caves 

125: Sean Spidle, SO

The three-time Michigan high school state champion went 14-8 last season in a backup role with six bonus-point wins. Spidle appears to be the best option to replace starter Brock Bergelin, who was third in the MAC last season. Spidle's best victory came against 2021 NCAA qualifier Zurich Storm (Campbell). 

Other options: Trey Bates

133: Vince Perez, SO

Perez finished 17-21 with four bonus-point victories in his first season as a starter. He went 2-3 at the MAC Tournament, finishing eighth. The Michigan state champion's overall career mark stands at 18-24. 

Other options: Grayson Sonntag

141: Ja'Karion Meritt, SO

The Kentucky state champion, 14-11 with five bonus-point wins at 133 last season, seems the leading candidate to replace Simon. He was 10th in the final conference rankings, released prior to the MAC tournament. Merritt's best win last season came against Lehigh starter  and two-time Pennsylvania state champion Sheldon Seymour. 

Other options: Will Grater

149: Corbyn Munson, JR

Munson's third season as a starter was by far his best as he finished 26-9, leading the team in victories, after going 21-20 the previous two seasons. Munson's eight bonus-point wins were second on the squad to Stencel. One of the Chippewas' two returning NCAA qualifiers, Munson was also third in the MAC, after taking seventh in 2021, and fourth in the final MAC rankings. His career record is 47-39. The Michigan state champion's best wins have come against three-time NCAA qualifier Kanen Storr (Michigan) and two-time qualifiers Cory Crooks (Oregon State) and Kody Komera (Kent State). 

Other options: Mason Breece, Mitchel Christensen, Mason Shrader

157: Johnny Lovett, SO

The two-time NCAA qualifier finished 22-8 last season with five bonus-point wins. Lovett has gone 3-4 overall at the NCAA Championships, reaching the round of 16 in 2021. The two-time Florida state champion was second in the MAC last season, after taking third the previous year, and No. 1 in the final conference rankings. Lovett's signature career win thus far has come against All-American and four-time NCAA qualifier Hunter Willits (Oregon State). He has also knocked off All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier Will Lewan (Michigan) as well as four-time NCAA qualifier Jarrett Jacques (Missouri). Lovett, who boasts a 32-13 career record, was the only CMU wrestler to appear in Flowrestling's Way Too Early 2022-23 rankings. He is #16 at 157. 

Other options: Trenton Wachter, Chandler Amaker.  

165: Tracy Hubbard, JR

Hubbard started at 165 in 2019-20 before spending next season behind Lovett at 157 as Alex Cramer took over the 165 spot after transferring from Old Dominion. Last season, Hubbard returned to the starting lineup at 165 and broke through with a 23-11 record (six bonus-point wins) after going 16-17 the previous two years. He was fourth in both the MAC tourney and final MAC rankings. Hubbard's best wins have been against NCAA qualifiers Caleb Fish (Michigan State) and Ben Anderson (Duke). His career mark is 39-28 and has become an NCAA Division 1 starter despite never finishing higher than fourth in the Michigan high school state tournament. 

174: Alex Cramer, SO

The Illinois state champion started at 165 in 2020-21, going 7-4, finishing third in the MAC tourney and receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. Unfortunately, an injury prevented Cramer from competing and nagging injuries also forced him to take a medical red-shirt last season. He is back and will likely fill a starting vacancy at 174, the same weight Cramer started at for Old Dominion while a true freshman in 2019-20. His career record stands at 25-22. Cramer, the program's 2021 Most Improved Wrestler award winner, has beaten NCAA qualifiers Jake Silverstein (Rider), Austin Murphy (Campbell) and Riley Smucker (California State-Bakersfield). 

Other options: Cody Brenner, Lenny Galasso

184: Ben Cushman, JR

The two-time Michigan state champion was 10-17 during his third season as a starter last year with three bonus-point wins. Cushman was 10th in the final MAC rankings. His overall career mark stands at 27-43. 

Other options: Spencer Steiner

197: Cade Dallwitz, SO

The three-time Michigan state medalist appears the best option to succeed last year's starter, Aaron Bolo, who finished third in the MAC tourney. Dallwitz has gone 16-17 the past two seasons with four bonus-point wins. 

Other options: Logan Badge, Cameron Wood 

285: Bryan Caves, FR

The two-time Illinois state champion gets the monumental task of replacing Stencel, one of the MAC's all-time best heavyweights and its only five-time conference champion. Caves went 15-6 in open competition, including a pair of bonus-point wins, while taking a redshirt as a true freshman last season. He defeated Michigan state champion Keegan Nugent (University of Michigan) twice. 

Other options: Simon Lato