With four of its key wrestlers redshirting to potentially compete in the Olympics, the Michigan wrestling team needs its underclassman to close the gap. Early in the season, they’ve shown up in big ways.
In Friday’s match against Maryland, numerous underclassmen competed. Despite the Wolverines’ youth, they defeated the Terrapins, 34-4.
Redshirt sophomore Jack Medley kicked off the night for Michigan in the 125-pound weight class. After a short blood timeout early in the first period, Medley returned to the mat ready to wrestle. Doubling his score in each period, 4-1, 8-1 and then 16-2, he dominated his opponent, Brandon Cray, the entire time.
True freshman Cole Mattin also contributed with an overwhelming win. Mattin and his opponent were struggling to gain the offensive position when Mattin took a chance, flipping his opponent over to gain a two-point reversal. Commanding the rest of the match, Mattin held his opponent to zero points until late in the third period. He came away with a 14-2 win, adding four points to the overall team score.
“We’ve been putting them through a lot of adversity in the practice room just to kind of continue to build resilience,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “And I think they’ve been handling it really well. I think it’s starting to show as we’re getting our line-up back to full strength.”
In an impressive showcase of his young talent, 157-pound freshman No. 12 Will Lewan beat his opponent, 19-4. Lewan stepped onto the mat confident to wrestle, and dominated for the entirety of the match. Without much struggle, Lewan gained five takedowns and three near-falls. The match was decided when it started.
While Medley, Mattin and Lewan are all newcomers, the rock of the team, sophomore Mason Parris, has stayed consistent. While technically an underclassman, Parris’ reputation preceeds him. In the heavyweight match-up between No. 2 Parris and Maryland’s Parker Robinson, Parris ended the match early with a fall late in the second period after controlling all of the first. Contributing six points to the overall team score, he ended the meet with a final team score of 34-4.
“We knew this season would present plenty of opportunities and plenty of adversity,” Bormet said. “The focus was on improvement week in and week out and mental growth. And just fighting through adversity.”
Despite the impressive wins from many underclassmen, the weekend wasn’t perfect. Maximillion Maylor, a 174-pound redshirt freshman, lost to a freshman from Maryland, 5-3. In a close match, Maylor couldn’t overcome a third-period takedown and quickly lost control of the match.
“We’re kind of measuring potential,” Bormet said. “Where we’re at, but also where we think our potentials at. We’re measuring kind of how hard we’re working and how fast we’re moving toward that potential.”