YPSILANTI The Michigan wrestling team went into the Eastern Michigan Open filling only nine of the 10 weight classes but of those nine, seven were champions.
In their first preseason action, the Wolverines dominated wrestlers from Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State and powerhouse Edinboro.
“It”s been a great day for us. I”m really happy at how we competed,” Michigan coach Joe McFarland said.
Junior A.J. Grant had the stiffest competition on his way to the 125-pound title. Grant had to overcome two of the best freshmen wrestlers in the nation in Michigan State”s Nick Simmons and Indiana”s Joe DuBuque.
Simmons holds almost every Michigan high school wrestling record as a four-time state champion, and DuBuque came in as a high school national champ.
Grant”s experience was too much for Simmons as he won by decision, 4-0. In his semifinal match against DuBuque, Grant looked dominant, but DuBuque kept it close with tricky counters off Grant”s double leg takedowns. But in the end, DuBuque”s countermove-wrestling was no match for the All-American”s relentless attack, and Grant took the win, 3-2.
“DuBuque was tough. He had some good hips, and he wasn”t easy to take down,” Grant said. “But all I had to do was wrestle like we do at Michigan banging style and I pulled it out.”
Although he wasn”t one of the seven tournament champions, Jeremiah Tobias was one of the most impressive Michigan wrestlers on the day. After winning his first match, Tobias lost, 9-7. Tobias battled back to record pins in four of his next six matches en route to a third-place finish. Tobias broke the Eastern Michigan Open tournament record for most pins.
Michigan”s other tournament champions included Mike Kulczycki, Clark Forward, Ryan Bertin, Otto Olsen, Andy Hrovat and Matt Brink at 133, 141, 157, 174, 184 and heavyweight, respectively. All-American Hrovat recorded an impressive three technical falls on the day.
“We look like we”re in good shape. We look aggressive, and we”re doing a lot of good things, but we”re not done yet,” McFarland said. “We still see some things we have to work on, but for the most part its been a pretty good start to the season.”