Michigan traveled to Ohio this past weekend to wrestle Cleveland State. It may have been an away match for the Wolverines, but it didn”t seem that way for senior 184-pounder Andy Hrovat.

Paul Wong
Michigan”s Andy Hrovat has rebounded from a preseason loss to secure the No. 2 ranking in the country in his 184-pound weight class.<br><br>BRENDAN O”DONNELL/Daily

A high school match between St. Edwards and rival Walsh Jesuit was held before Michigan”s match against Cleveland State. Hrovat attended St. Edwards, where he was a two-time state champion for the powerhouse program.

“It was great. I walked into the gym, and I was with my family. All these St. Ed”s fans kept stopping me, saying “Hi” and asking me how I”ve been. It was just a great feeling. After the match, everyone just came up to me and congratulated me.” Hrovat said. “It was also a great opportunity for my aunts, uncles and other relatives, who haven”t really seen me wrestle too much, to come out and watch.”

Then, Hrovat gave his friends and family something to cheer about, as he dominated Cleveland State”s Joe Phillips en route to a 3-0 victory.

At the preseason Michigan State Open, Hrovat suffered a crushing loss to Ohio State”s Blake Kaplan. Hrovat looked to be the dominant wrestler, but Kaplan hit a tricky countermove known as the “spladdle.” The move gave Kaplan five points a deficit from which Hrovat could not recover in the 7-5 loss.

“I think a lot about that match,” Hrovat said. “I usually never overlook anyone, but there may have been a small chance I was overlooking him.”

The loss caused Hrovat to, as he put it, “take it one match at a time.” This new mentality has given Hrovat the edge he needed. In the regular season, Hrovat is undefeated and his perfection has earned him a No. 2 national ranking. Success, however, has not come easily for the two-time All-American.

Hrovat was born to wrestle and has done so since the age of five. When he was younger, he used to wrestle 200 matches a season, even traveling outside of Ohio to see tougher competition.

While out of season, Hrovat maintains a daily workout routine and wrestles as much as possible. This past summer, Hrovat competed at the Pan Am Games where he captured the silver medal at 187.25 pounds. Hrovat was also named to the U.S. National Team after his third-place finish at the World Team Trials.

“I think my success just comes from the fact that I”ve wrestled so much in my life,” Hrovat said. “It”s just become second nature now to do the moves right, and scramble.”

Many wrestlers hope to make the Olympics one day, but for most, it”s just a dream. For Hrovat,, it”s a realistic possibility. The senior hopes to compete internationally in freestyle after graduation, including the World Championships and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

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