The big match is what college wrestling is all about. It”s usually the battles between two ranked wrestlers that decide the outcome between quality teams. Meets come down to who can make that last-second takedown, and who can manage that double-overtime escape.
The No. 3 Michigan wrestling team competed in two dual meets this weekend that were decided by its marquee match-ups. Michigan came off a one-month break from competition, but still managed to maintain its flawless dual meet record. The Wolverines crushed Cleveland State on Saturday night, 29-9, and edged No. 13 Lehigh 21-16 the night before.
“I thought the guys competed well, especially with this being the first time they competed in nearly a month. They all came back from break in good shape,” Michigan coach Joe McFarland said.
On Saturday night in Ohio, the match between No. 10 Foley Dowd of Michigan and Cleveland State”s No. 13 Phil Mansueto was all that fans hoped it would be. The gym was packed with over 2500 Viking faithful in attendance, but Dowd was not intimidated. He drew first blood in the second period on an escape, but Mansueto was able to tie it with a takedown of his own in the third. Dowd retaliated with a double-leg takedown to take the 3-1 lead with 1:45 left in the match. After an escape from Mansueto with a little over a minute left, Dowd held on for the 3-2 win.
Of the nine points Cleveland State scored, six of them were from Michigan”s forfeit at 141 pounds. The other three points were won by Viking heavyweight No. 17 Russ Davie in his defeat of backup Michigan heavyweight Aaron Walter. Walter tried to keep the match close, but Davie was just too strong on top, racking up five minutes of riding time en route to a 6-0 victory.
Of the 10 matches wrestled Friday night against Lehigh, half were between wrestlers ranked in the top 20 nationally. At 149 pounds, Michigan”s No. 8 Mike Kulczycki held No. 13 Mike Pirozzola to only three escapes, winning the match 10-3.
At 157, Michigan”s Ryan Bertin, ranked fifth in the nation, put on a veritable takedown clinic against No. 20 Warren Stout, recording eight takedowns in an 18-6 major decision.
Michigan 165-pounder Charles Martelli, ranked 13th in the nation, dropped a close 6-2 decision to No. 5 Chris Vitale.
At 184, No. 4 Andy Hrovat earned a major decision over No. 11 Rob Rohn, 12-4, with three of his takedowns coming in the third period. Lehigh”s Jon Trenge, ranked second in the nation, defeated No. 9 Kyle Smith by scoring two takedowns in the final period.
The Wolverines head out west next weekend to take on Oregon and Oregon State.