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Corey Keener had had it with the recruiting process.

Lots of long road trips with nothing to show for the time and effort. The school wasn?t right for him, he wasn?t right for the school, or things just didn?t work out.

?I was at a point that I remember coming home from Northern Illinois, I was like, ?I don?t even want to stop at Central Michigan. I?m tired of all these recruiting trips,? ? the Blue Mountain senior wrestler recalled Monday night. ?And my dad was like, ?No, you at least have to go there. You already scheduled the visit.?

?Sure enough, I went out there and fell in love with it,? Keener added with a laugh.

He gave his verbal commitment to CMU in September and recently signed his Division I letter of intent to make it official.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

Everything fit for Keener at Central Michigan: He loved the Mount Pleasant, Mich., campus; he?s excited about CMU?s sports medicine/physical therapy program; he already knew a few guys on the team; and he described coach Tom Borrelli as a ?down-to-Earth guy who?s pretty straight forward with you.?

Nazareth?s Zach Horan, Parkland?s Mike Ottinger and Wyomissing?s Nick Hodgkins ? all state champions like Keener ? are on the Chippewas roster.

?So it was kind of cool to see all three of those guys out there,? Keener said. ?I knew them, and I felt comfortable out there with those guys. The campus ? that was by far the nicest I?ve seen.

?They have a real good sports medicine program out there,? he added. ?I?ll probably graduate in 6 and a half years with my doctorate in physical therapy. That?ll work out real nice, hopefully.?

Maryland and Rutgers were also on Keener?s short list, but once he saw Central Michigan, he made his decision.

?Real relieved, just to get it done,? he said.

About the only bad thing that?s happened to Keener lately is an injury he suffered in September training for the Super 32 tournament.

Trying a throw, he dislocated his kneecap and damaged some cartilage. The original diagnosis was rest and rehab, but he reached a point where the knee wasn?t getting any better. So on Nov. 4 he said he had arthroscopic surgery to repair the problem.

?I?m feeling better already,? Keener said.

With his college choice settled, the focus now is to get healthy again for wrestling season. Keener said he?ll probably miss the opening weekend at the Solanco Mule Classic but is aiming to return for Blue Mountain?s Gauntlet Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 16.

His goals for the season are clear: Become a four-time District 11 champion, become a four-time Northeast Regional champion, become a two-time state champion and become the all-time winningest wrestler in District 11 history.

Keener enters the season with a 143-15 career record, within reach of the 175-5 standard set by 2008 Easton graduate and national champion for Oklahoma State Jordan Oliver.

By signing, Keener joins a long list of recent Blue Mountain graduates who have wrestled at the Division I level. That group includes Josh Kindig, Cort and Brandon Choate, Tyler Rauenzahn and Brook Gosch.

?I know Josh (Kindig), his senior year he got hurt and missed Ironman. It was no big deal,? Keener said. ?He came back and was state champ at the end of the season. All that matters is the end of the season.

?There?s no pressure now,? he added. ?There was pressure because I had to perform for colleges to notice me, but now there?s no pressure. I still want to represent my college and my high school well, but just go out there and wrestle, have fun. I think this year might be some of my best wrestling with no pressure, just having fun and doing my thing out there.?

To Continue Reading Article by Bob Lipsky, republicanherald.com