Wolverines prepare for the upcoming season with Maize and Blue Intrasquad

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 6:18pm

With every dwindling second, shouts from the crowd intensified. 

Redshirt junior Garrett Sutton and redshirt sophomore Myles Amine were summoning every last bit of strength in an attempt to score the one takedown that would end the match.

Sutton was on top, pressing Amine against the mat. But in one quick move, Amine turned the tables to gain an advantageous position. After a few more seconds of grappling, Amine capitalized and decisively scored the takedown.

The battle between the 174-pound teammates was characteristic of the fierce competition on display Friday night at the Bahna Wrestling Center. The practice facility hosted the annual Maize and Blue Intrasquad Meet for the first time, instead of the typical site, Cliff Keen Arena. The smaller venue allowed for an enthusiastic and intimate environment.

“Usually we would do this event in Cliff Keen, and now moving it into the Bahna Wrestling Center, we definitely packed it in a little bit tighter and got a better atmosphere,” said redshirt sophomore Sal Profaci. “With all the people sitting upstairs and around the mat, I felt like I was in a full-blown competition.”

The wrestlers seemed to feed off the atmosphere, as there were a number of close battles between Michigan teammates. Friday night featured the second installment of 10 matches between wrestlers in the same weight class. Winning both matches meant staking your claim as a starter at that weight for the upcoming season.

Dominant performances from redshirt sophomore Stevan Micic, redshirt junior Alec Pantaleo, redshirt sophomore Logan Massa, redshirt senior Domenic Abounader and fifth-year senior Adam Coon all but cemented their starting positions at 133, 157, 165, 184 and heavyweight weight classes, respectively. Micic, Pantaleo and Coon specifically—NCAA All-Americans in their weight class—are hoping this is their year.

“I want to win it all, that’s the goal of every wrestler,” Coon said. “Now some may say I have the toughest route to win it all, when you have to go through all the top heavyweights in the weight class. It’s a tough route, but it’s still something I’m shooting for.”

Although the Wolverines will undoubtedly face stiff competition this season from the likes of Big Ten rivals Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Iowa, they should be set for a successful season. They have a number of standout performers returning this year, and talented young athletes who will gain valuable collegiate experience.

“I thought some of the young guys wrestled really, really hard,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “The intensity level was through the roof with some of those guys.”

Freshmen Layne van Anrooy, Andrew Davison, Ben Freeman and Zach Nemec all impressed in losses to upperclassmen, while Drew Mattin beat redshirt sophomore Austin Assad in a third match, after the two had split the first two matches at 125 pounds.

Three matches were also needed for two other matchups after the wrestlers had split the first two. Redshirt sophomore Jackson Striggow outlasted fifth-year senior Kevin Beazley in the third match at 197 pounds by a score of 7-6, while Amine and Sutton needed a third match—and two sudden victory periods—to decide a winner in their matchup.

“Both our 174-pounders wrestled their tails off, I mean just some great matches,” said McFarland. “You couldn’t have had better effort from both guys. I mean, those matchups were just fun to watch.”