Wolverines successful on the road amid top-25 matchups
Utilizing its aggressive wrestling style against two top-25 teams this weekend, Michigan’s 11th-ranked wrestling team prevailed over both No. 17 Oklahoma on Friday and No. 24 Oregon State on Sunday. The Wolverines lost just five matchups over the weekend.
In its first road dual of the season, Michigan initially put on a clinic as it won the first seven matches to take an early 27-0 lead over the Sooners. Sunday, the Wolverines carried their dominance on the mat to win, 27-15.
Starting at 125 pounds Friday was No. 18 redshirt freshman Austin Assad, who utilized two first-period takedowns to take an early lead. Oklahoma’s Dalton Duffield wavered in the second period with 4:25 left, and Assad shot for the pin to tally the team’s first six points while also earning his first dual win.
“I had a pin and a major decision this weekend, and opening up for the team tips the momentum,” Assad said. “After my pin, everyone was pumped and excited.”
No. 10 redshirt freshman Stevan Micic furthered the team’s aggressive approach early in the match with four takedowns. Micic would go on to hold a comfortable 11-3 lead in the match to contribute to Michigan’s 10-point lead.
Redshirt freshman Sal Profaci fared in a similar manner to Micic, as he also accumulated four takedowns in his 12-4 win, while redshirt sophomore Zac Hall, senior Brian Murphy and redshirt freshman Logan Massa clinched the team victory with three decisions over three top-12 nationally ranked opponents.
“It was a good opportunity for me to make a name for myself,” Hall said. “I was just worried about scoring points and having fun.”
With another major decision by redshirt freshman Myles Amine, the Wolverines gained the confidence to finish out the match on top. Michigan’s lighter wrestlers have continuously set the stage for victories.
“We have a group of guys that wrestle with a lot of intensity, confidence and grit,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “When a team is doing that, you can take care of the technical stuff.”
Redshirt junior Ernest Battaglia and redshirt freshmen Jackson Striggow and Kostya Golobokov dropped their matches, but Michigan’s overwhelming 27-point lead at the onset of the match was too much for Oklahoma to overcome.
Sunday, the Wolverines repeated precisely the same performance. By dropping only two matches, they prevailed 38-7.
Assad and Micic both dominated their respective opponents, winning 12-2 and 19-3. Profaci, however, did not share the same fate, as he fell to No. 19 Joey Palmer.
Hall prevailed by major decision 14-4, and Murphy shut out his foe by technical fall 16-0. Massa defeated his opponent by fall at the three-minute mark to secure Michigan’s lead and silence the Beavers.
The rest of the Wolverines won their matches except for heavyweight freshman Dan Perry, who lost by major decision, 15-3.
Michigan will travel to Las Vegas next weekend to compete in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, looking to bring its aggressive play throughout the tournament. The top of their lineup seems poised to start strongly again.