The Michigan wrestling team went from dominators to dominated in its two dual meets yesterday. The Wolverines handily defeated Newberry 22-13 before losing badly to No. 15 Kent State, 28-9.

Six Michigan wrestlers won in their individual matches against Newberry, compared to just three in the loss to Kent State.

“Our guys need to understand that we’re not the ones setting the pace in some of these matches,” Michigan coach Joe McFarland said. “Sometimes my guy is up against a tough opponent, and he just gets shut down a little bit. A lot of times we’re standing around too much and instead of us being in on their legs, they’re on our legs.”

The wrestlers’ performances were vastly different for each match, but freshman Sean Boyle showed he could stay consistent by finishing 2-0 yesterday.

“Sean’s got a big heart, and he goes out there and wrestles hard,” head coach Joe McFarland said. “He’s really throwing himself into these matches, and he’s getting better and better because of it.”

Boyle was one of three Wolverines to win both matches this weekend, along with redshirt sophomore Justin Zeerip and redshirt junior Aaron Hynes.

“Those wins were big for me,” Boyle said. “Hopefully I can build on them and gain confidence. The main thing is to keep getting matches and experience in and try to peak for the end of the year when it matters most.”

Michigan’s major missing component was redshirt junior and team captain Anthony Biondo, who defaulted out of the tournament at last week’s Las Vegas invitational due to a knee injury. McFarland said Biondo sprained his MCL, and he expects him to be back for the Southern Scuffle on Dec. 29.

Filling Biondo’s spot in the 197-pound weight class for the first dual meet was redshirt sophomore Erich Smith, who wrestled up a weight class and lost a tough match in sudden death to Newberry’s Keeno Griffin. Against Kent State, redshirt freshman Hunter Collins wrestled up a weight class to Biondo’s spot and fell 15-6 to Kent State’s Adam Cogar.

Through the beginning of its season, Michigan has showed it can take decisive victories, but when the competition is intense — as it was against a ranked team like Kent State — it’s hard for the team to stay aggressive.

“We’ve gotta be the ones setting the pace in matches,” McFarland said. “We’ve gotta be the ones that are taking shots, we’ve gotta be the ones that are taking chances. That’s the difference in a lot of these matches.”

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