Stevan Micic calmly approached the final period of his 133-pound weight class match against Rutgers’ Nick Suriano, even though blood embellished his collarbone.
In doing so, the Michigan wrestling junior reminded everyone of his No.1 ranking in the weight class and his undefeated title as he took down Suriano with one re-shot high crotch midway grab, ending the match 3-2 in favor of the Wolverines.
“He was kept away. In the third period, I found an opening and grabbed him,” Micic said. “I took his single leg and was able to score.”
Micic was grateful for the learning opportunities the match gave him.
“I am glad to be in a close match like that,” Micic said. “There is a lot to learn. It is good preparation for Big Ten and the national tournament.”
His tenacious performance set the tone for the rest of the meet, guiding the No. 4 Michigan wrestling team to a 28-7 win against the Scarlet Knights on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought we all came to compete,” said fifth-year senior Alec Pantaleo. “We all brought great energy and I am really excited about where the team is in the season.”
Though the individual matchups were relatively low scoring, the consistent intensity that was brought to each performance reinforced the Wolverines’ status as a contender in the Big Ten.
“I liked that we were aggressive in the majority of our matches,” said Michigan coach Sean Bormet. “Even in the tight matches, our guys continued trying to score.”
Freshman Jelani Embree also brought a fiery intensity to the 184-pound match against Rutgers’ Anthony Oliveri, where his agile footwork proved to be the difference. Oliveri tried to make a grab for Embree’s legs in the first period, but Embree staved off Oliveri’s attempts to overtake him, moved down and flipped the power dynamic. Ultimately, he earned two points for a near takedown of Oliveri. Embree won the match, 7-2, with three different takedowns throughout the contest.
Sophomore Kanen Storr was especially tough when his match against Peter Lipari in the 141-pound weight class went into overtime. After ending the third period with a score of 1-1 and no riding time advantage, the stalemate continued in the minute-long overtime match. It wasn’t until Storr earned four points with a near-fall in the third tiebreaker period that he was ruled winner by decision.
“I think they have to believe in their ability to score, believe in their offense, and believe in the style of wrestling that they train,” Bormet said. “If they do that in the first minute, they need to do that in the seventh or eighth minute to get the job done.”
Though Alec Pantaleo earned four points for a near fall in the second period, he remained determined not to falter against John Van Brill in the 157-pound weight class. Pantaleo eventually took down Van Brill and hooked the Rutgers wrestler’s leg and remained on top.
“I picked my attacks discreetly rather than blast doubles,” Pantaleo said. “I would have liked to finish on double legs. He is an exceptionally tall dude, so I had to make sure that I took him down fast.”
It was bittersweet for the senior as he finished his final away meet as a Wolverine.
“I remember my first dual meet wearing maize and blue,” Pantaleo said. “All good things end. I am at the point where I am trying to win for my team because it is about all of us rising together. Leading from here, we are going to be even better next year.”