ADRIAN, Mich.--Adrian gave nationally-ranked and conference champion Olivet all it could handle in a 23-12 loss Friday to the Comets in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association finale for both schools at the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center. Olivet, which is ranked 15th in NCAA Division III, improves to 12-3 overall and wins the MIAA championship with a 3-0 league mark. The Bulldogs fall to 7-3 on the season and 1-2 in the conference.
Seven of the 10 bouts contested were by decision, with Adrian winning four of those.
Freshman Mateo Diaz staked Adrian to a 3-0 lead with an 11-7 decision over Garret Cleveland at 125 pounds to open the match. Diaz held an early 8-3 lead before Cleveland scored the next four points to close 8-7. But Diaz finished strong with an escape and takedown to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard first.
Olivet countered with an 8-3 decision by Reese Wallis over Elijah Sanchez at 133 to tie it 3-3.
At 141, Olivet got its first lead of the evening as senior Dominic Paterra lost a heartbreaking 7-5 decision in overtime to Andrew Castaneda. The Comets moved ahead 6-3.
But Adrian quickly tied it 6-6 after sophomore and reigning MIAA Wrestler of the Week Noah Nieman decisioned Hunter Murphy, 10-3, at 149.
The Comets, however, took control of the match with three consecutive wins at 157, 165 and 174 by major decision, pinfall and major decision. Olivet led 20-6.
Sophomore Bryant Moore got Adrian back on the scoreboard with a thrilling 3-2 decision at 184. Moore had a takedown in the first period and broke a 2-2 tie with an escape in the second, then hung on for the win.
After senior Zach Reynolds lost a tough 197 battle to Jacob Harvey, 3-1, Adrian freshman Isaiah Espinoza closed out the evening with an exciting 4-2 victory over Owen Miller between heavyweights. Espinoza got two decisive points on a nearfall with just a second remaining in the bout.
The Bulldogs close the dual portion of their schedule on Tuesday at non-MIAA foe Defiance (7 p.m.), seeking to set a modern-day program record with eight wins in a season.
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