“Hustle,” yelled Michigan coach Sean Bormet, as freshman Cole Mattin battled for position with Central Michigan junior Dresden Simon.
“Hustle. Hustle. Hustle,” the entire team chanted.
In what was a night of impressive performances, Bormet and the No. 21 Michigan wrestling team were animated for good reason. They were watching as a true freshman — who had his redshirt pulled less than 24 hours prior to the day’s meet — was wearing down the 26th-ranked wrestler in his weight class en route to a 11-8 win.
“It’s a win,” Mattin said. “And I’m excited. I can’t sit on this, but it gives me more fire moving forward.”
Mattin’s performance was representative of the contributions of many Michigan wrestlers whose key victories contributed to the Wolverines 22-12 win over Central Michigan. Performances from established wrestlers and newcomers alike encouraged their coach.
“We had a tremendous effort out there on the mat today,” Bormet said. “You know, we had some tough matches, some high scoring matches and our guys continue to wrestle hard the whole seven minutes. We turned some scores around and I’m proud of those guys.”
Alongside Mattin, other Wolverines stood out as sources of optimism going forward.
Michigan sophomore Max Maylor joined Mattin in earning his first collegiate victory, as Maylor emerged triumphant over Central Michigan’s Jake Lowell. Maylor flashed the potential that accompanies his talent and long frame by pinning Lowell at the dying breaths of the second period to net a sudden victory.
“Max came out, you know, won a lot of tough positions,” Bormet said. “Started wearing the kid down mentally, the kid made a mistake and Max capitalized, got the bonus points for the team.”
Aside from the two victorious debutants, many Wolverines met lofty expectations. Three of Michigan’s highest touted competitors — redshirt freshman Will Lewan, sophomore Mason Parris and redshirt sophomore Jelani Embree all beat out their respective opponents.
“Jelani, he did a tremendous job,” Bormet said. “There’s definitely some areas he can work on in terms of just better control, but he was wrestling hard and had great motion today, some great leg attacks, and he continues to get better week after week.”
Though he admits his team still needs to improve technically, Bormet’s repetitive emphasis on high team and individual effort — hustle included — powered Michigan.
“From a team standpoint, we got some technical things, like not finishing, that we’ve got to work on but overall I was pleased with our pace and how hard we were wrestling,” Bormet said.
Though the team was not close to perfect in its execution, Michigan wrestlers repeatedly outlasted their weight-equivalent counterparts. Michigan wrestled harder, with faster pace and with higher effort than Central Michigan.
The Wolverines heard their coach’s call from the sideline.