Sometimes, it’s just about staying the course.
The No. 21 Michigan wrestling team (7-6) had come out of a tough stretch of Big Ten dual meets, losing three matches in a row against three of the top-12 ranked schools. With the Big Ten tournament coming up, a trip to Edinboro (10-8) could have caused some trouble. But the Wolverines did not overlook the Scots, dominating in a 33-6 win on Friday.
Michigan was led by a gritty effort from fifth-year senior Jackson Striggow at 197 pounds. Down several points in the first period, Striggow fought back and took control of the match in the later periods, pushing the pace and getting several takedowns to ultimately secure the comeback.
“I didn’t let it get me too much — being behind in the first — because I knew I am in better shape than anybody that I wrestle,” Striggow said. “My pace would wear him down to where I could score points on him and take the lead back.”
At 125 pounds, No. 18 redshirt sophomore Jack Medley also had a strong showing, getting several back points to claim a 23-5 technical fall. Redshirt senior Austin Assad next claimed a forfeit victory at 133 pounds and freshman Cole Mattin secured a decision at 141 pounds. No. 9 redshirt junior Kanen Storr kept the momentum going for the Wolverines, as he picked up a 6-2 decision at 149 pounds. Redshirt freshman Will Lewan also secured a decision at 157 pounds to give Michigan a large lead, as it headed into the break up 20-0.
“We wrestled a really great dual,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “The guys wrestled with a lot of confidence, a lot of energy, as a great finish to our dual season.”
Following the gauntlet of Big Ten duals, and with the Big Ten championships coming up, this meet could have been overlooked. But Michigan avoided the potential pitfall.
“Sometimes coming off of a long stretch of Big Ten duals, in front of a smaller crowd, there could be a letdown,” Bormet said. “So I wanted to make sure to avoid that, and for them to focus on the type of wrestling and matches that they were gonna have at the Big Ten championships.”
The Wolverines head into the Big Ten championships on Mar. 7. Coming out of the tough schedule of Big Ten play — with losses in four of the last five dual meets — this non-conference dual was a useful tune up to get the team executing at the highest level again, so they could be as effective as possible during the imminent postseason.
Added Striggow: “I looked at it as something to build off of heading into Big Ten (championships). Keep getting better, keep building on the good things I did last match and the match before that to keep giving myself confidence.”
Michigan kept rolling out of the break, as redshirt junior Tyler Meisinger got his first fall of the season with his first-period at 165 pounds.
After a couple tough losses for redshirt freshman Max Maylor at 174 pounds and redshirt sophomore J.T. Correll at 184 pounds, the Wolverines got back on track through Striggow’s determined victory. No. 2 sophomore heavyweight Mason Parris finished things off for Michigan with a resounding major decision, 10-2.
“We’re measuring how we wrestle match-to-match regardless of opponent,” Bormet said. “So we just wanted our guys to focus on wrestling to their fullest potential, executing the way that they need to to have success at the Big Ten championships.”