Michigan wrestling was overwhelmed at Crisler Center on Friday night.
In front of nearly 8000 fans, the third-ranked Wolverines suffered their first home defeat of the season at the hands of No. 6 Ohio State — mustering just three individual victories en route to a 23-15 final.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Michigan could get on the scoreboard — eking out overtime wins on each side of intermission that salvaged whatever it could in an otherwise dominant performance by its rivals.
“Got to compete harder,” coach Sean Bormet said. “ … (Ohio State) competed to get to their offense harder and more often than we did. That was the biggest difference.”
But take the optimistic perspective, and view these potential setbacks as mere previews to the main attraction — simply an underwhelming appetizer to a succulent and satisfying entree.
Because when heavyweight Mason Parris steps onto the mat for the last bout of each match, the undefeated fifth-year has a way of erasing recent bad memories and sending Michigan wrestling fans home happy, regardless of an otherwise forgetful contest.
Rising to the nation’s number one ranking after defeating Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet last week, Parris continued his unblemished campaign with an impressive and unrelenting performance, earning six points against Ohio State’s Hogan Swenski and adding to his team-leading total of 56.
Parris got to work early and often, scoring three first period takedowns of the helpless Swenski on the way to seven total. Early in the third, Parris secured his eleventh pin of the season for a decisive 21-5 victory.
“I just wanted to go in … and dominate,” Parris said. “Keep my confidence up … do what I usually do. … I’m happy with the way I performed.”
It’s no mystery why the two-time NCAA All American is full of confidence these days. Parris’ campaign has been of such a dominant and ascendant fashion, the conversation inevitably shifts from his opponent facing him on the mat to competition with his 2021 self — an NCAA runner-up.
“My goal is to be an NCAA champ,” Parris said. “I’m not going to settle for anything less. That’s been the goal my entire life. This is my last season so I’m not leaving any stones unturned … I’m doing everything in my control to win.”
Losing dual meets to both Penn State and Ohio State doesn’t exactly bode well for Michigan’s team title hopes — but with another intimidating win under his belt, the formidable and vengeful-minded Parris’ lifelong goal is alive and well.