Despite No. 2 heavyweight sophomore Mason Parris’ pin over No. 3 redshirt freshman Tony Cassioppi, the No. 22 Michigan wrestling team (6-4 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) fell to No. 1 Iowa (11-0, 8-0), 27-9, on Senior Night.
Redshirt freshman Joey Silva secured one of two Michigan wins Saturday night, beating Iowa’s Paul Glynn, 7-5. Already down 3-0 heading into the second match of the night, Silva momentarily tied the dual at 3-3 in team score. Glynn managed to tie up the match at 5-5 late, but an escape by Silva secured the win for the Wolverines.
“Joey did a great job throughout the match,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “One thing is continuing to manage weight control. He did a really good job managing his weight in weigh-ins. It’s really all about managing that recovery piece. I saw some great things offensively for him and he did a really nice job on top.”
However, things became grim for the Wolverines after Silva’s win, as they dropped the next seven matchups. Five of those matchups were within four points, but the rankings favored Iowa in nearly every matchup.
Michigan came closest to another win when redshirt sophomore Jelani Embree faced off with Iowa’s Cash Wilcke. With a score of 3-2 in Wilcke’s favor late in the third period, he strayed to the edge of the mat. Embree attempted to wave him back into the circle, but even after receiving a stall warning, Wilcke remained near the edge of the mat.
“It was a situation where Jelani needed to have more match strategy and mat awareness,” Bormet said. “The Iowa wrestler was playing the edge a bit, and I’m not sure if Jelani realized the official had called the Iowa wrestler there for stalling when he was hanging and hovering around the edge of the mat. There were still 12 seconds left, and Jelani was walking back in trying to bait him to come into the center and he wasn’t coming back into the center.”
The headlining match of the night came last in the heavyweight category, as Parris faced off with Iowa’s Cassioppi. It began evenly matched, with Parris and Cassioppi gaining control over each other at different points. However, in the second period, Parris was able to pin Cassioppi to the mat in Michigan’s second win of the night, keeping himself undefeated on the season.
“It was a great confidence booster for me,” Parris said. “I went out there with a lot of confidence already. He was my last high school loss, so I definitely wanted some revenge with him. I just wanted to go out there and beat him.”
Parris’ vengeful win was ultimately in vain. Regardless of his score, the Wolverines’ previous shortcomings already put the dual out of reach. Still, against the best team in the country, Michigan’s wrestlers found an opportunity to test themselves.
“Every opportunity when you compete, you have to go into it to get better,” Bormet said. “We talk about how you wrestle a style where you’re constantly trying to get better and improve. You can do that even in a loss and you can not do that even in a win.”