On a night when the presidential election dominated the thoughts of many Americans, a different kind of decision doomed the No. 13 Michigan wrestling team in its 21-16 loss in a dual meet at No. 17 Central Michigan.
In the team’s first away match of the year, the Wolverines wrestled competitively despite the final score. With three regular starters out of the lineup, Michigan held its own, out-wrestling the opponent in the majority of matches, although a few decisions did not go its way.
“There were some breaks that went the other way, but overall, I felt that in eight out of the 10 matches we out-wrestled them,” said Michigan coach Donny Pritzlaff.
The Chippewas earned the first nine points of the dual meet, as 125-pound Christian Cullinan pinned redshirt junior Sean Boyle in 6:40 and Scotti Sentes won a tight 8-6 decision over Wolverine freshman Rosario Bruno in the 133-pound weight class.
Despite the early deficit, Michigan maintained its composure in an attempt to get back in the thick of the scoring. Michigan 141-pound redshirt freshman Camryn Jackson got the Wolverines right back into the thick of things, earning a 5-4 decision, which Pritzlaff described as “dominant.” Jackson wrestled very aggressively for Michigan, one of the coaches’ goals for the entire team.
“The guys that were successful tonight kept the pressure on the entire match,” Pritzlaff said. “They have to go out there and wrestle hard for the entire seven minutes.”
After another Chippewa victory in the 157-pound match, Michigan freshman Taylor Massa defeated Mike Ottinger in an 8-3 decision in one of the brightest spots for the Wolverines on the night. Michigan redshirt junior Dan Yates then kept the momentum rolling for the Wolverines, earning an 18-5 major decision over Anthony Bill to give Michigan a narrow 13-12 lead on the scoreboard.
“I thought I pushed the pace really well when I was attacking like I wanted to,” Yates said. “I got a lot of shots on both sides and really wore on the kid,” Yates said.
The Wolverines did not stay on top on the scoreboard for long, as Central Michigan’s Ben Bennet pinned freshman Jordan Thomas in 1:43 in the 184-pound weight class. Michigan redshirt junior Maxwell Huntley put the Wolverines back into position to win, earning a 6-3 decision over Jackson Lewis in the 197-pound weight class. In the 285-pound weight class, Central Michigan’s Jarod Trice defeated Wolverine redshirt freshman Justin Dozier in a 4-0 decision.
Though disappointed in the loss, Michigan saw some good things in the early-season match. With the three replacement starters in the lineup, the Wolverines more than held their own against a top team, learning early season lessons along the way.
“We like being aggressive, we like going out there and attacking them, overwhelming them with attack.”
The Wolverines will be back in action on Sunday when they host No. 18 Pittsburgh at Cliff Keen Arena.