Fresh off a 33-6 pounding of No. 24 Penn State (2-2 Big Ten, 5-8 overall) Friday, the Michigan wrestling team (4-1, 13-3) gnashed No. 4 Ohio State (3-1, 18-2), 23-12 yesterday in Columbus.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the strength of Mike Kulczycki”s 17-7 major decision over the Buckeyes” Josh Daugherty in the 149-pound match. No. 5 Ryan Bertin added to the lead by beating No. 8 Josh Janson, 12-6.
“I think Mike and Ryan did a great job,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “They took the crowd out of it right away.”
Down 7-0 before Michigan stars Otto Olson or Andy Hrovat wrestled, the Buckeyes were facing steep odds.
When Olson and Hrovat had finished dismantling their opponents, the Wolverines” held a commanding 16-3 lead. Olson, No. 1 in the 174 weight class, destroyed Ohio State”s Ryan Heiber, 22-7. The 15-point margin earned Olson a technical fall, and gave Michigan five team points.
Hrovat followed by crushing his opponent, No. 17 Anton Talamantes, 22-8 for another major decision.
The Buckeyes kept the score respectable by winning their favorable matchups. Before Olson and Hrovat won their matches, Seventh-ranked John Clarke earned a close win over Michigan”s No. 9 Charles Martelli, and No. 4 Nick Preston fought to a well-earned 9-3 win over Michigan”s No. 5 Kyle Smith. Second-ranked Tommy Rowlands slipped by Michigan heavyweight Matt Brink, 4-3, making it 16-9.
But the axe fell on Ohio State when Michigan”s No. 8 A.J. Grant recorded a 12-3 major decision over Jesse Leng. With Grant”s major decision, Michigan had earned five extra team points resulting from major decisions or technical falls.
This type of aggressiveness, in the eyes of Michigan coach Joe McFarland, is needed for the team”s success down the road.
“We talked about getting more of these (major decisions, technical falls and pins),” McFarland said. These “will help us down the stretch.”
Friday, against Penn State, the Wolverines did not let up. Heavyweight Matt Brink started the win parade by beating Pat Cummins, 5-2. Wins by Grant and No. 7 Foley Dowd followed.
The Wolverines then handed the Nittany Lions their heaviest punishment. Olson recorded his first of two technical falls and earned five team points by beating Todd Brennan of Penn State, 25-8.
Hrovat scored six team points on a fall when he pinned Curt Thompson at the 6:16 mark of the match.
To complete the demolishment of Penn State, 197-pounder Smith beat Pete Mielnik 17-7 in a major decision.
The Wolverines have continued to display killer instinct by routing the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes by a combined score of 56-18 this weekend. Since its loss to No. 1 Minnesota, Michigan has won four straight matches by double digits. Beyond the strong performances by team leaders Hrovat and Olson, the Wolverines demonstrated that they could jump ahead and bury teams of any caliber.
Whenever a Michigan wrestler competes, “I want him to go out and dominate his guy,” McFarland said.