The No. 3 Michigan wrestling team (2-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) capped a perfect opening weekend on Sunday by dominating Maryland (0-1, 0-1), 38-3. The Wolverines won their first two duals by a combined score of 64-13.
In its two duals, Michigan — missing fifth-year senior-starters Stevan Micic and Myles Amine in both — flashed its sky-high potential.
“I think we realized this weekend that we’re a really good team,” fifth-year senior Logan Massa said. “And if we work hard and stick together and keep building, we could win a national championship. We could bring that back to Ann Arbor this year.”
Sunday’s dual began at 125 pounds with freshman Dylan Ragusin. After kickstarting Friday’s dual with a bang — pinning his opponent in just under a minute — Ragusin used a third period reversal and near fall on Sunday to grab a 9-1 win for himself and four team points for Michigan.
The freshman’s victory was the first in a string of seven consecutive individual wins which culminated in a commanding 29-0 lead for the Wolverines.
Of those seven, four were for bonus points, including one fall courtesy of junior Drew Mattin at 141 pounds. At the 4:31 minute mark of the match, Mattin, who entered the second period trailing 2-1, used an arm bar to pin his opponent and grab six points for Michigan.
“I haven’t hit that move in a while,” Mattin said. “But I just knew going into that match that I was tough on top and could get to my moves and turn him and pin him.”
Echoing his wrestler, Michigan coach Sean Bormet said, “Today I could see (Drew) was very determined on top. He was doing a good job riding then the guy on bottom started giving him too much position, and Drew capitalized.”
In the string of seven consecutive wins, two other standouts were sophomore 157-pound Will Lewan and Massa. Lewan tech falled his opponent, 22-6, by executing two four-point turns. Massa, who struggled out of the gates, closed his match by blitzing his opponent in the third period. He used three takedowns and a near fall in the final period to win, 18-10.
“A lot of these guys like to slow me down because they know I’m a good wrestler, so they’re just trying to hold on and pick their position,” Massa said. “So it took me a bit to open him up and get to my sides, get to my positions that I wanted to wrestle in. Once I did, I exposed him and took care of the match.”
To finish the weekend slate, junior heavyweight Mason Parris triumphantly closed his match in 1:39 minutes, pinning his opponent and placing the cherry on top of the Wolverines’ first weekend of 2021.
Reflecting on the weekend and what it might portend, Bormet expressed his satisfaction with the team’s attack rate and mat wrestling, but noted the need to clean up small technical problems and further improve the team’s conditioning. In assessing his team, Bormet also emphasized the importance of day-to-day improvement and building mental toughness.
As for the wrestlers, they are just grateful to be back on the mat.
“We just have a lot of energy,” Mattin said. “Everyone has a chip on their shoulder, and we’re just trying to make the most of this year.
Added Massa, “It’s great to be back on the mat, repping the maize and blue.”