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Downers Grove

Elmhurst College wrestling wins third straight CCIW title

Six Bluejays, four local products win individual championships

WHEATON — The Elmhurst wrestling team dominated at the CCIW Championships, winning its third consecutive conference championship by a 52-point margin. The CCIW title was the sixth for the Bluejays in the last nine years.

Six Bluejays won CCIW individual titles. Area products from that group include Ryan Earley (Wheaton North), Yousef Al-Ghoul (Glenbard East), Danny Balderas (Downers Grove North) and Mike Benefiel (Montini).

Elmhurst's Steve Marianetti was named the CCIW's Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year and the fifth time in his career after leading the Bluejays to the conference crown and a No. 2 ranking in the latest NWCA National Poll.

Earley, ranked third at 141 pounds, earned the second CCIW title of his career by defeating Augustana's Isaiah Schaub by a 12-3 major decision in the championship final.



Al-Ghoul brought home the first CCIW Championship of his career by edging Wheaton's Peter Huang 7-6 at 165 pounds.



Ranked ninth at 174 pounds, Balderas won the first CCIW crown of his career by defeating returning All-American Matt Burns 10-4 in the championship match.



Benefiel, ranked fourth at 197 pounds, brought home the title with a 10-6 win over Wheaton's Darren Faber.



Elmhurst hosts the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Saturday, March 2 at R.A. Faganel Hall.

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