The Michigan wrestling team kicked off its centennial season in East Lansing this Saturday with several standout performances at the Michigan State Open. The tournament was a non-scoring event, so the team did not receive a place, but individually, six Wolverines earned a spot on the podium.
Michigan’s highest individual placer was freshman Chance Lamer, who captured the 141-pound open division title in his first collegiate tournament. Lamer’s collegiate debut was atypical, but nevertheless impressive. After starting his day with a bye, Lamer defeated Oklahoma’s Zack Zeamer with a decisive 15-5 major decision victory. His next two opponents had to forfeit due to injury, so, after only one full match and hours of idle time, Lamer found himself wrestling for first place against Cal Poly’s Lawrence Saenz. Lamer once again looked strong, winning 10-4 after recording four straight single-leg takedowns and a point for riding time.
Pat Brucki, a Princeton graduate transfer who finished fourth at the NCAA championships in 2019, opened his final season with a second-place finish. Brucki started the day looking dominant, with two major decision victories and one pin in his first three matches. A convincing victory over Michigan State’s Ryan Vasbinder sent Brucki to the finals. He narrowly lost to Oklahoma wrestler Jakob Woodley, 4-2, in the finals after giving up a takedown in overtime.
At 133 pounds, two Wolverines placed, with sophomore Dylan Ragusin going 4-2 on the day and taking fourth while graduate student Drew Mattin went 3-2 to earn fifth.
Ragusin opened the day with a wild 26-11 tech fall victory over Olivet’s Dylan Phelps. Ragusin subsequently suffered a narrow loss to the tournament’s eventual champion, Oklahoma’s Tony Madrigal, 4-3, but he recovered to win three straight matches with decisive victories. Ragusin dropped the third-place match, 5-2, to Illinois’s Lucas Byrd, who took fifth at last year’s NCAA Championships.
Mattin started his day with two straight victories, pinning Illinois’s Josh Contreras and beating Spartan Jordan Hamdan, 6-3, before losing 5-1 to Michigan State’s Rayvon Foley in the semifinals. Mattin would lose again, this time to teammate Ragusin, 15-2, before bouncing back to defeat Wisconsin’s Kyle Burwick in the fifth-place match.
In the freshman/sophomore division, redshirt freshman Chris Kim and true freshman Zack Mattin both had impressive debuts, earning second and third place, respectively.
Kim, wrestling at 133 pounds, started with a quick pin of Edinboro’s Cameron Soda before beating two Ohio State wrestlers, Chase Liardi and Will Bettancourt, in narrow decisions. Kim would then face his third-straight Buckeye wrestler, Andre Gonzalez, this time losing in a tight, defensive 2-0 match.
Mattin, wrestling at 149 pounds, demonstrated his pinning capabilities throughout the day. Mattin won his first two matches with pins before being pinned by Cal Poly’s Luka Wick, the eventual tournament winner. Mattin bounced back from the loss, beating Northwestern’s Grant Hans, 10-3, in the consolation semifinals and pinning Wisconsin’s Aidan Medora 52 seconds into the third place bout, earning himself a spot on the podium.
Although non-scoring, the tournament provided quality experience for new wrestlers and gave the team a chance to compete before its season-opening duel against Cal State Bakersfield next Sunday.