Tyrel Todd had been looking forward to last Saturday for two years.
The All American redshirt junior was going for his first win in three tries against Minnesota’s No. 5 Roger Kish.
In 2006, Todd lost on a single-leg takedown in overtime. In last season’s rematch, a 15-8 defeat coupled with a knee injury marked one of the lowest points of his career.
“I wrestled probably the worst match I’ve wrestled in college against him,” Todd said. “I wanted to get my lick in and beat the tar out of him (on Saturday).”
Kish had lost his previous two matches. It was a perfect opportunity for Todd to avenge the worst night of his collegiate career.
But Kish sat out during the 24-15 Michigan loss. He had also missed the first meeting between the Wolverines and Golden Gophers at the Cliff Keen National Duals on Jan. 13 due to an injury.
Now Todd has to wait for his chance – again.
The Bozeman, Mont., native took out his disappointment on Kish’s replacement, Mitch Kuhlman, and notched five takedowns, three in the third period, cruising to a 12-5 decision. But it wasn’t much of a consolation prize.
“It was a big letdown,” Todd said. “I hope he gets better, because that’s one guy I’d like to get a big win against.”
Todd’s high expectations are well-founded. He’s ranked second in the nation at 184 pounds, the highest ranking on the team and of his career. He’s currently riding a career-high 19-match winning streak and hasn’t lost since Nov. 24. Michigan coach Joe McFarland points to dedication and aggression as the reasons for Todd’s successful season.
“(He’s) in there every day, grinding it out,” McFarland said. “He wrestles with a lot of pressure. He makes guys wrestle hard for a seven to eight-minute match and some of these guys can’t keep the pace with him.”
In the last two months, almost no one has been a match for Todd. He’s taken 11 of his last 14 matches with bonus points. This season, he’s totaled four pins, a technical fall, and seven major decisions. Excluding the falls and the one injury default he registered earlier this season, he has outscored his opponents 167-42.
Streaks this long typically require a little bit of luck. But Todd has been crushing the competition for two months.
That domination is by design. Todd says he aims to win convincingly every match.
His style is geared towards draining an opponent’s energy. When the third period comes, the match is often his for the taking.
“I come in with tie-ups right away,” Todd said of his style. “I apply a lot of pressure on the head, pull down on it and make them tired. In the first period, a guy may be able to go toe to toe with me. But by that second period, he’s going to be so tired that I’m going to find chinks in his defense and get to my scoring holds.”
Todd attributes his success to the team’s strength and conditioning program, which Todd believes has helped to make him the strongest wrestler in the nation at 184 pounds.
With the last leg of the season about to begin, Todd said Michigan needs to strive for winning big in every weight class. He expressed his desire to tally a pin and the maximum six dual points this Friday against Illinois.
For Todd, the best way to hammer his point home is by sending an opponent to the mat on his back.