If you went to the match, the statement, “Michigan lost to Ohio State,” might not feel accurate. In front of a record-setting crowd at Crisler Center, the Wolverines took many key matchups, including the marquee match at heavyweight, but fell short in the long run.
With nine ranked matchups and only one Michigan wrestler ranked ahead of his opponent, it was an uphill battle for the Wolverines.
Shocking the world, fifth-year senior Adam Coon defeated two-time national champion, Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion Kyle Snyder, 3-1.
Heading into the match, Coon knew what he had to do. Use his significant size advantage to his benefit and block Snyder’s frequent leg attacks.
Consistently weighing in around 285 pounds, Coon used his 60 pound weight advantage over the 220 pound Snyder to muscle him down for a late first-period takedown. After establishing the early lead, Coon made sure that Snyder never had a comeback chance. By countering Snyder’s few advances and only allowing him to walk away with one escape, Coon defeated the champion — making his case for the top heavyweight in collegiate wrestling.
“I beat him today,” Coon said, “(but) it doesn’t say what’s gonna happen down the road. He’s gonna get better. He’s not a quitter by any means. He’s definitely gonna watch film and figure out how to beat me, and I just gotta make sure I stay one step ahead of him and figure out how to beat him.”
No one outside of Ann Arbor predicted Coon’s victory, painting him as a true underdog.
“The pressure was not on me at all,” Coon said. “It was all on him, I could just go out there and wrestle and have fun. It was nice to have that feeling again and not have all that weight on your shoulders. That’s how I’m gonna have to wrestle him from now on.”
This top-tier matchup came at the end of the meet, although the largest crowd to ever watch a Michigan wrestling event was not bored for a moment.
This was evident in an improbable last-second victory from redshirt sophomore Myles Amine.
Amine, seeking revenge against third-ranked Bo Jordan for his last two losses to the Buckeye, prevailed on Sunday.
After relatively two uneventful periods, things were blown wide open in the third. To begin the period, Jordan got an escape and a takedown to take the lead. Then, with only 20 seconds left, Amine found an escape of his own and proceeded to secure a match-winning takedown.
“If I could tell you what I was thinking, I would,” Amine said. “That’s what I think played in my favor, I had a lot of energy and I always talk with the coaches about the fact that I always have some (energy) and I don’t leave it out there. I have a lot of energy after my matches and I had to find a way to use that energy in the last 20 seconds.”
Despite the great finishes later in the meet, things began rather sluggishly for Michigan. The Wolverines dropped three of the first four matches of the night with redshirt sophomore Stevan Micic claiming the only victory in the early matches.
Then, momentum began to shift in the thunderous arena, but due to some dominant Ohio State performances and controversial calls, Michigan couldn’t claim victory over its rival.
In his win against fifth-ranked Micah Jordan, redshirt junior Alec Pantaleo was on the wrong side of one of these controversial calls. Securing an early takedown, Pantaleo held Jordan in a cradle that nearly pinned him. The seemingly obvious pin was not called and the boisterous crowd voiced their disapproval.
Due to this near fall, Pantaleo collected a strong lead and managed to hold onto it despite exerting most of his energy in the demanding move. Pantaleo won by decision, giving the team three points. If the call had gone his way, he would’ve been awarded six team points, tying Ohio State’s final score.
Also suffering from a controversial call was fifth-year senior Domenic Abounader. After wrestling two close periods, second-ranked Myles Martin landed two hard-earned takedowns to put him up, 5-3. Using the energy of the crowd, Abounader mustered every ounce of energy he had left, earned an escape and took down Martin — only it was a second too late. The buzzer sounded, and Abounader had lost.
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t at least go take a look at it,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “You want the right guy to win, and I guess (the referee) didn’t feel like he wanted to go take a look at it, so I was a little frustrated about that one. In the end, you gotta get it done and we didn’t get it done.”
Now, with the end of the dual season approaching next week, the Wolverines will go over what they learned from their match since they will most likely see the same opponent again in the tournaments to come.
“(We) wrestled a very tough match,” Coon said. “Obviously Ohio State is very tough, they’re ranked at every weight. The next time we go after them, individually, we wanna be able to flip a few of those matches that were very tight.”