Jackson Striggow has something to celebrate going into finals week. Entering the second period of his match tied 2-2 in a defensive standoff, the redshirt junior left Sunday’s contest with both fists in the air, a smile across his face and an automatic win from a 15-point pin.
The Michigan wrestling team (3-0) dominated Indiana (2-3), 32-7, in a contest riddled with bonus points, near falls and strong performances by several Wolverines. With high-scoring wins from Striggow, fifth-year senior Malik Amine, redshirt junior Myles Amine and redshirt freshman Jelani Embree, Michigan will leave for the holidays with a big win and momentum for its next dual meet versus Illinois.
Starting the meet well, sophomore Drew Mattin and redshirt junior Stevan Micic delivered wins in the 125 and 133-pound weight classes, respectively. Mattin, ranked tenth in his weight class nationally, and Micic, ranked second in the 133-pound division, both faced unranked opponents.
With two clean wins and a six-point lead over Indiana, eighth-ranked redshirt sophomore Kanen Storr entered the only ranked matchup of the day versus 15th-ranked Cole Weaver, a fifth-year senior from Hudson, Mich. Both three-time Michigan high school state champions at 141 pounds, Storr and Weaver trained in the same gym in high school. But their familiarity didn’t faze Storr, he said.
After a scoreless defensive struggle in the first period, Storr delivered a key near fall, bringing the score to 2-1. Though Weaver escaped to his feet to earn a point, Storr responded with an escape in the third period, securing the win and a 9-0 team score for Michigan.
“There’s a little bit of pressure because he’s like an older brother figure to me: always trains with me, he’s older than me, he’s from Michigan, (three)-time state champ. I know he’s gonna be a great opponent,” Storr said. “I kind of had a down week, but overall, I came out here, I gutted out a win. I didn’t feel my best, so there’s a lot to be proud of there but a lot to build off of also.”
Following Storr’s close win, Malik Amine put on a booming performance in the 149-pound division, winning his match 18-0 and generating a five-point technical fall for the Wolverines. Amine’s momentum largely manifested in the third period, when he pushed the score from 4-0 to 18-0 with three four-point near falls and one two-point near fall.
Despite redshirt freshman Layne Van Anrooy’s loss in the 157-pound weight class, seventh-ranked redshirt junior Logan Massa quickly reestablished Michigan’s success and won his match at 165 pounds, ushering in another bonus-point win in the 174-pound division by third-ranked Myles Amine, who won 19-1 in the second period with three near falls and three takedowns. Combined, Malik and Myles Amine outscored their opponents 37-1 for the day.
Embree, ranked 19th, piled on that success, beating his opponent 14-2 in a major decision and increasing the Wolverines’ team score to 26-4.
Massa, Myles Amine and Embree’s successful outings, though, culminated in Striggow’s 197-pound matchup. After a difficult first period, tied 2-2, Striggow delivered a dramatic pin to win his match and drive the team score up further.
“I think some guys, including me especially, could’ve done a little better at the beginning coming out with a little more momentum, carrying the momentum from each match, but overall I think we had a pretty good day,” Striggow said. “I’ve kind of struggled in that position in a couple matches this year and it’s cost me one or two matches already, so I’ve really been working on it in the practice room and to finally get it, I was pretty pumped up to have it finally work out for me.”
Despite Indiana’s win in the final heavyweight matchup against redshirt freshman Luke Ready, Michigan still won the meet handily due to several standout matchups. The Wolverines emphasize those bonus-point wins, said Striggow, partially with a hammer trophy that one player earns each week by scoring the most points in that meet. Sunday, the contest was a tight one with multiple high-scoring matches.
“I was super pleased with the way we wrestled on the mat,” said Michigan coach Sean Bormet. “After I congratulated those guys on a good performance today, the first thing we talked about as a staff was that it’s an important week to really dig in and focus on school work (and) rest, because we’re still gonna have a good, hard eight days of training ahead. We have some work to do.”