Coming off of its first loss of the season, the No. 3 Michigan wrestling team looked to make a statement.
And against Rutgers, it didn’t take long to find its voice. Consistency throughout the meet allowed Michigan (8-1 overall, 3-1 Big Ten) to defeat No. 24 Rutgers (9-4, 1-3), 24-9, on the road and make the much needed statement it was looking for. The Wolverines remained strong, only dropping three bouts, including one against Rutgers top wrestler No. 11 Dean Peterson.
At the halfway point of the dual meet where Michigan held a 12-6 lead, 174-pound redshirt senior Max Maylor needed to make noise in order to keep the Wolverines’ momentum rolling. In a close bout in which Maylor went up early, his consistency helped him secure crucial points toward the Wolverines’ victory.
“When we step on the mat we try to have our best performance and keep that consistent mindset,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “Guys were motivated to improve in some areas where we were deficient against Penn State.”
The loss to Penn State on Friday clearly gave Michigan motivation to come out and compete in a big way. But it didn’t do so right away.
In the first four bouts, the Wolverines continued to go back and forth with the Scarlet Knights. 133-pound redshirt sophomore Dylan Ragusin and 149-pound redshirt sophomore Fidel Mayora stepped up to tie the meet after the second bout, 3-3 and fourth bout, 6-6.
However, moving into the next few weight categories, Michigan turned the tide.
No. 10 157-pound redshirt senior Will Lewan and No. 5 165-pound redshirt junior Cameron Amine brought momentum to the Wolverines. Both wrestlers were consistent throughout all three periods, winning 3-1 and 10-4 respectively.
“Something we’re trying to dial in is overall consistency,” Bormet said. “As a team what we’re striving for is to continue to elevate performance and compete with consistent energy and intensity.”
In what proved to be the most important bout of the afternoon, Maylor stepped up to keep the momentum rolling to the upper weights. Maylor is not someone the Wolverines typically lean on, but his consistency proved pivotal on Sunday.
“When I go out there I’m trying to breathe, relax and calm down,” Maylor said. “We really just came back better (after Friday) and that says a lot about our team being able to take a loss and come back two days later and get a big win at Rutgers.”
Maylor set the pace for the remainder of the meet. And after his 5-4 victory, Michigan went into the final bout of the afternoon leading 18-9. No. 2 heavyweight fifth year Mason Parris sealed the deal, securing the only pin of the afternoon.
With consistency in the later part of Sunday’s meet, the Wolverines look to bring that same energy for the first half of each meet going forward.
“I thought it was a solid, solid performance today,” Bormet said. “There’s always room for improvement. There was a bit of a mixed result between the first five weights and the second five weights. So we need to make sure when we keep consistency.”
After suffering their first loss of the season, the Wolverines bounced back. Now, they look to continue to ride a new wave of momentum following the win over Rutgers. While consistency is improving, Michigan still looks to continue to grow in that facet.