The No. 3 Michigan wrestling team (1-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) opened up its season today with a convincing victory over No. 15 Rutgers (0-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten), 26-10.
With Stevan Micic, ranked No. 2 in the 133 pound weight division, along with Myles Amine, ranked No. 1 in the 184 pound weight division, both out due to injury, the Wolverines deployed a young lineup for the match.
For freshman Dylan Ragusin, that meant getting the start in his first career college wrestling match. He opened the night for the Wolverines against Rutgers’s Nicolas Aguilar, ranked No. 14 in the 125 pound weight division.
Less than one minute into the bout, Ragusin completed the biggest upset of the night. He quickly pinned Aguilar, giving Michigan a 6-0 lead early, and energizing the Wolverines in a fan-less Rutgers Athletic Center.
“I just wanted to get the dual started off with a bang and get the season started off with a bang,” Ragusin said.
Michigan coach Sean Bormet spoke on what it was like preparing Ragusin to kick off the season as a true freshman.
“(Ragusin is) a big-time wrestler,” said Bormet. “He told me he was getting so excited about the start of his first dual meet, and it showed in the way he wrestled.”
Redshirt junior Jack Medley wrestled in place of Micic in the 135 pound bout, defeating the Scarlet Nights’s redshirt freshman Devon Britton via decision, 10-5, propelling the Wolverines to a 9-0 lead early.
“Medley bumping up a weight, stepping in and following up with a decision was an outstanding way to start the duel,” Bormet said.
Rutgers followed up with a major decision from redshirt senior Sabastian Rivera, No. 4 in the 141 pound class, over Michigan redshirt junior Drew Martin. Rivera transferred from Northwestern prior to the season, and is the defending Big Ten champion in the 133 pound division.
With Rivera’s major decision tightening the match to a score of 9-4 in favor of Michigan, Michigan’s Kanen Storr, ranked No. 6 in the 149 pound division, defeated Rutgers’s Michael VanBrill in a key overtime decision to take back the momentum.
The Wolverines seized on that momentum, following up Storr’s victory with wins in the following 157 pound, 165 pound and 174 pound bouts to open up a 22-4 lead over the Scarlet Nights.
In the 174 pound bout, No. 2 ranked redshirt senior Logan Massa, who did not wrestle with Michigan as he prepared for the Olympics last season, made his highly-anticipated return against No. 20 ranked redshirt senior Joe Grello for Rutgers. Massa pulled away from Grello in the third period, leading to a 13-5 major decision.
“I had some pre-match jitters,” Massa said. “But once I got out there it felt normal, it felt right. It was good to be back doing what we love.”
Rutgers’s John Poznanski, a highly-touted freshman recruit, defeated Michigan freshman Joseph Walker by decision in the 184 pound bout with both athletes making their collegiate debuts.
Following a Rutgers decision in the 197 pound bout, No. 2 ranked junior Mason Parris of the Wolverines defeated Scarlet Nights redshirt senior Christian Colucci in an 11-3 major decision to close out the match at 26-10 in favor of Michigan.
“We had a great win tonight,” Bormet said. “I had so much fun watching those guys compete.”
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