This past weekend, the Michigan wrestling team drew from the skills of an exciting new talent and a seasoned veteran.
Michigan capped off a dominant performance in its first two dual meets with last night”s 28-8 win over Central Michigan at Cliff Keen Arena. On Friday night, No. 4 Michigan traveled to East Lansing to compete in front of a packed crowd. Despite the hostile atmosphere, Michigan annihilated No. 18 Michigan State, 27-6.
“I thought we wrestled aggressive,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “It”s the exciting kind of wrestling, and it”s the kind of wrestling I like.”
The Wolverines were led by 157-pound redshirt freshman Ryan Bertin and junior 125-pounder A.J. Grant, who each wrestled and defeated two nationally ranked opponents this weekend.
In his first year at the varsity level for Michigan, Ryan Bertin is showing everyone what he”s made of. Bertin has jumped to a No. 6 ranking at 157-pounds on Amateur Wrestling News” poll and has already defeated many of the nation”s top wrestlers. Saturday night, Bertin made No. 13 David Bolyard of Central Michigan look like a junior varsity high school wrestler from Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Bertin controlled the entire match en route to a 15-5 major decision victory.
“He”s been wrestling great so far, and he just gets better by the match,” McFarland said.
Against Central Michigan”s Jason Borelli, ranked No. 18 in the nation, Grant was completely dominant throughout the match. The All-American scored on a reversal and a takedown in the second period and then with another takedown in the third period to win the match, 7-2.
At Michigan State on Friday night, Bertin”s weight class was called out first, and he gave the Wolverines a 3-0 lead with a hard-fought 4-2 win over No. 7 Gray Maynard.
“Ryan was a great way to start out the match for us. He gave us the momentum we wanted,” McFarland said.
Grant, ranked seventh in the nation, took on No. 11 Chris Williams of Michigan State. Williams, an All-American and fan favorite, hyped up the crowd by sprinting onto the mat and snapping his singlet on and off. Everyone in the stands knew the importance of the match in the rankings, and in the match. The Wolverines were up 15-6 at that point and Williams could have put the Spartans back into contention with a six-point pin.
Both wrestlers came out with a lot of energy, but neither scored in the first period. At the beginning of the second, Grant drew first blood, scoring one point on an escape. Williams countered with his own escape at the beginning of the third period to tie the score at 1-1. Immediately after the score by Williams, Grant shot a deep double leg to take Williams down. The exhausted Williams couldn”t do much as the time ticked off the clock. Grant finished with a 6-2 win over his in-state rival.
“We”re definitely showing every team that we”re in shape and we”re ready to go,” Grant said.