As Michigan gears up for the upcoming NCAA Championships, the Wolverines’ final home dual meet of the year served as another test for the squad.
They passed with flying colors.
The No. 3-ranked Michigan wrestling team (10-1 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) extended its five match winning streak against No. 14 Michigan State (9-3, 4-3), winning seven of the first eight matches. Sunday’s 24-13 victory sent off a lengthy class of seniors and graduate students in their final regular season contest in Cliff Keen Arena.
It’s hard to find a wrestler more consistent than No. 1 graduate student Nick Suriano. At 125 lbs, Suriano asserted his dominance against Tristan Lujan from start to finish, earning a 14-3 major decision to put the Wolverines up 4-0.
“Nick Suriano, he’s special,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “The guys have connected with him quickly because of the intensity, the work ethic and the way he competes.”
But the Spartans bounced right back from Suriano’s display.
After No. 7 Dylan Ragusin’s loss to Spartans’ No. 11 Rayvon Foley, No. 17 graduate student Stevan Micic hoped to prevent consecutive Michigan State match wins.
Micic’s season has been filled with difficult injuries and inconsistent training, but following a win against Indiana on Friday, he had an opportunity to come out of his last home match on a good note. Micic came out prosperous, winning a 10-3 decision.
Following Micic’s win, 149-pounder Kanen Storr – another injury-ridden senior – displayed resilience in a final home win of his own.
“I made a decision to believe in myself and work hard,” Storr said. “I knew once I stepped back in this lineup that I was going to prove that I’m here to stay, and I’m here to do a job for this team.”
A takedown late in the second period gave Storr a narrow 4-2 lead, and a relatively stagnant third period cemented the win. The 5-2 decision validated Storr’s hard work.
In a low scoring match where neither of the 157 lb wrestlers took control, No. 9 redshirt junior Will Lewan came out victorious over No. 17 ranked Chase Saldate. His takedown with 30 seconds remaining to secure a 3-1 advantage led to a 3-2 victory by decision.
Going into intermission, the Wolverines held a 13-3 lead. Coming out of the break, the Michigan upperweights extended it.
Although a 5-1 decision may not seem like a dominant win, 165 lb redshirt sophomore Cameron Amine imposed his will on his Spartan opponent. From the very beginning, Amine displayed his strength, lifting Nathan Jimenez off the mat multiple times throughout the match.
“He’s just an incredible gamer,” graduate student Myles Amine said of his younger brother. “Come a few weeks from now he’s gonna surprise a lot of people, but he’s not going to surprise me.”
Also dominant was No. 5 Logan Massa. Massa’s early takedown and two consecutive nearfalls gave the 174 lb graduate student a 12-0 lead. Two takedowns and a Michigan State stall finalized a technical fall, increasing Michigan’s lead to 21-3.
Myles has proven his importance throughout the season, and Sunday showed no different. Despite struggling to find his rhythm in the first two periods, a ferocious intensity in the final period secured Myles a 8-4 decision over Spartans’ No. 19 Layne Malczewski at 184 lbs.
In Sunday’s victory, Michigan’s seniors rose to the occasion, but it is clear that these seniors are waiting for something bigger to celebrate this season.
“We’re hosting NCAAs,” Myles said. “So technically, my senior day is going to be on March 19, the NCAA finals.”
And if the Wolverines perform the way they did against the Spartans, they’ll have plenty to celebrate.