The last time the Michigan wrestling team left Corvallis, Ore. on Nov. 16, it was celebrating an upset victory over then-No. 10 Oregon State, with 141-pound redshirt freshman Camryn Jackson pulling off an unexpected victory against then-second-ranked Beaver senior Mike Mangrum.
Unfortunately for the 19th-ranked Wolverines, history wouldn’t repeat itself as they returned to Corvallis for the NWCA National Duals without an injured Jackson. Michigan started its doubleheader by falling to Oregon State, 22-13, before beating Oklahoma 27-19 in the consolation round.
Against the Beavers, the Wolverines held their own until the 184-pound weight class when Oregon State junior Austin Morehead pinned redshirt sophomore Chris Heald in 4:16 to give the Beavers a 16-13 lead. Michigan failed to regain any momentum after the pin, losing decisions in the last two matches by a total of three points.
“We had some opportunities to win the dual meet, and we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities,” said Michigan assistant coach Sean Bormet. “It was a disappointing first-round loss.”
One-hundred-twenty-five-pound redshirt junior Sean Boyle started the meet off strong for Michigan, recording four takedowns on his way to earning a 10-6 decision. After a string of seven straight Oregon State points, ninth-ranked Michigan redshirt junior Eric Grajales scored a 6-4 decision over seventh-ranked junior Scott Sakaguchi. In the previous matchup between the two teams, Sakaguchi defeated Grajales with a 9-6 decision.
“I wrestled a lot harder, I was able to do what I wanted in the match, control the tie-ups, get my attacks off,” Grajales said.
The victory continued the recent slew of success for Grajales, who hasn’t lost a match in 2013 after going undefeated in the conference dual-meet season.
After the first dual-meet loss to the Beavers — which eliminated Michigan from reaching the final eight of the competition — the Wolverines were forced to quickly regroup for their match against the loser of the other regional meet, No. 25 Oklahoma.
“You know you can’t change the past,” said Grajales. “But you can sometimes let it affect you, or not.”
The Sooners made the beginning of the dual easy for Michigan as they forfeited both the 125-pound and 149-pound weight classes, and gave the Wolverines the 12-8 lead after four matches. The wrestlers that did wrestle for Oklahoma gave Michigan everything it could handle. In the first four out of six matches in which the Sooners competed, though, they came away with victories and overcame the forfeits to take a 16-12 lead.
174-pound redshirt junior Dan Yates secured a pin in 5:23 to cap off a day in which he earned five bonus points for Michigan after winning a technical fall in his first match.
“Yates is starting to get back to where his health is 100 percent,” Bormet said. “Therefore he’s also able to train with a little more consistency. His body’s healthy, he’s training hard and he’s wrestling well.”
After Yates put the Wolverines in the lead, Heald bounced back from his earlier pin, earning a 10-4 decision. Things became chippy, though, as 197-pound redshirt sophomore Max Huntley earned a disqualification victory after his opponent twice bit down on his hand, ending the match immediately.
Because Michigan failed to advance out of its region, the Wolverines will take the mat next in the Big Ten Championships on March 9 at Illinois.