Going into this weekend, sophomore Mason Parris held a 6-0 record on the season. He had already captured the heavyweight title at the Michigan State Open, defeated his competitor in a dual meet against North Carolina and advanced to No. 5 in the national 285-pound rankings.
He left the weekend with a 9-0 record, another tournament win and a No. 3 ranking.
Building on Parris’ success, the Michigan wrestling team (0-1) placed fourth at the Black Knight Invitational in West Point, N.Y. on Sunday. In addition to Parris’ win, redshirt freshman Will Lewan won the 157-pound division of the tournament.
Starting the team’s success, redshirt sophomore Jack Medley placed fourth with a 2-2 record at 125 pounds and fifth-year senior Austin Asaad finished second with a 2-1 record.
Their performances, along with Tyler Meisinger’s sixth place result at 157 pounds and Layne Van Anrooy’s fourth-place finish in the 165-pound division, preluded big wins for Lewan and Parris in their respective weight classes.
Winning all three of his matches — 2-1, 3-0 and 5-2 in the final — at 157 pounds, Lewan won the first tournament of his career as a Wolverine. The win continued Lewan’s steady improvement after redshirting his first year at Michigan.
“Will is a really gritty wrestler and is really good at grinding out those close scores,” said Michigan coach Sean Bormet. “He capitalized and had some really good counterattacks today, which was an area that we needed him to continue to improve on along with increasing his attack rate early in matches. Those are two things he’s definitely making steady progress on and we were glad to see it.”
Lewan’s progress wasn’t alone. Parris also won his division at heavyweight with a pin in his first match, a 13-2 major decision in the second and a 4-0 decision in the third. His performance showed improvements even on his earlier wins this season.
“As Mason continues to improve, he’s really using his hands well and snapping and moving guys and setting up his attacks,” Bormet said. “His riding has also really improved. He’s continuing to distance himself from the competition doing those things.”
Rounding out the team’s showing, redshirt sophomore Jelani Embree and fifth-year senior Jackson Striggow both finished in third place in the 184- and 197-pound weight classes, respectively. Embree’s 3-1 record and Striggow’s 4-1 performance secured 98.5 points for the team, enough to place fourth as a team out of eight schools — Michigan, Army, Maryland, Penn State, Central Michigan, Bloomsburg, Hofstra and Indiana.
“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with our results, but I’m pleased with our progress,” Bormet said. “In a short and long time over these past few weeks, we’ve made big gains positionally, and I’m really pleased with that.”