Entering the second period, fifth-year senior heavyweight Adam Coon narrowly led his opposition.
Cliff Keen Arena was rocking and Coon seemed to feed off the atmosphere. In quick succession, Coon escaped Cody Crawford’s grasp, tallied a swift two-point takedown and then polished off the succession with a decisive fall.
With that result, No. 9 Michigan had completed a shutout of Oregon State, 48-0, in the third annual Joe Wells Classic.
“It was fun to watch,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “I think the big takeaway for us is we’ve been working a lot of different positions in the practice room and really trying to break things down, and we saw a lot of that today.”
The Wolverines built on their successful second-place finish at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational last weekend, where Ohio State was the only team in a 49-team field to better them.
After a shaky start to the season in which it was blown out by No. 11 Lehigh, Michigan is bouncing back.
“Against Lehigh, we got punched in the face,” McFarland said. “There were some things leading up to that that we felt we needed to work on, but we got beat on the basic fundamentals out there, we got beat on mat wrestling, and so we’ve been working a lot in those areas. We’ve made some big strides in those areas.”
The strides were obvious against Oregon State, as three out of the nine matchups ended with Wolverines scoring a fall, and two others finished as technical falls.
Fifth-year senior Kevin Beazley scored arguably the most impressive of the falls, pinning Oregon State’s Corey Griego, in the first period. Griego was the nation’s 11th-ranked wrestler in the 197-pound weight class.
“I’ve never been a part of a shutout in college wrestling, so that was really cool,” Beazley remarked. “We don’t train for each opponent, we train for the end of the year. That’s the biggest point we need to get across. In every match we plan on getting better and peaking for the national tournament in March, and hopefully coming home with a team trophy.”
Though the national tournament is a few months away, the Big Ten season starts Jan. 5 with an away dual meet against Indiana. With four other Big Ten teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, now is a perfect time for Michigan to gain top form.
“We want to continue to have some good training sessions, and work on some of the things that we have been the past couple of weeks,” McFarland said. “We’re going to keep training. We’ll send these guys home and I know these guys will stay on top of their training. Then we’ll come back on (December) 27th and get some good practices in.”
Whatever the Wolverines have been doing in practice recently has been working. If this progression continues, a Big Ten and possibly even a National Championship may not be a pipe dream.