Wrestlers swipe at each other’s ankles, referees circle the mat and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck blasts from Crisler Center’s speakers.
Michigan wrestling is back in Ann Arbor.
In the first home dual meet of the season, themed ‘Wrestle ‘n Roll,’ the fifth-ranked Michigan wrestling team (2-0) beat sixth-ranked Lehigh (0-1), 21-13, with key wins from sophomore Drew Mattin, redshirt junior Myles Amine and redshirt freshman Jelani Embree.
The Wolverines started the meet strong with dominant wins in the 133 and 141-pound weight classes, delivered with gritty takedowns by redshirt junior Stevan Micic and redshirt sophomore Kanen Storr, respectively. The wins swung Michigan’s score to 6-0 early in the meet.
Despite initial momentum, redshirt senior Malik Amine faced a tough opponent in the 149-pound division and came away from the second period tied 2-2. Amine left the match with an injury soon after and went through concussion protocol, dropping the match by default and evening the team score to 6-6.
Frustrated by the default loss in a close match, the Wolverines came back with a 9-7 win by redshirt junior Ben Lamantia and a 5-3 win by redshirt junior Logan Massa. Michigan began taking control of the meet, after Myles Amine’s 5-4 win over Lehigh’s Jordan Kutler in the 174-pound division. Amine and Kutler, both All-Americans and ranked in the top-10 nationally for their weight class, wrestled each other twice last year — each earning a win.
Amine delivered a takedown to start the match, which Lehigh’s coach challenged. Despite the objections, the referees upheld the call and Kutler responded with a takedown, tying the score at 2-2. Quick footwork at the start of the second period led to a Michigan escape, and a final takedown in the last 30 seconds captured the win for Amine and pushed the overall score to 15-6.
“I knew that if I went out there and stayed offensive that I’d come away with a win,” Amine said. “I wrestled a very similar match to how I did at the NCAA’s against him, so it feels good.”
Embree continued Michigan’s success, ousting his opponent 7-3 after early takedowns.
Though the Wolverines lost their next two matches in the 197-pound and heavyweight divisions, Mattin rounded out the meet with a dramatic pin and scrappy 3-2 win. Mattin’s win brought the team score to 21-13 and secured the win for Michigan — a hard fought result considering the letdown after the meet was postponed from Friday.
“We won against Central (Michigan) and then we had a lot of buildup, and I feel like our guys were really keyed up to wrestle Friday night,” said Michigan coach Sean Bormet. “Continuing to wrestle hard and work over the full seven minutes will be an important piece going into Las Vegas.”
Myles Amine seconded the disappointment of the change in date, but noted the importance of the win on the team’s preparations for the Nov. 30 tournament in Las Vegas.
“You really just have to not focus on those things and just focus on what’s relevant, which is just showing up and wrestling, whether that’s on a Friday or a Sunday,” Amine said. “Lehigh was a team that beat us up pretty bad last year, so to turn around and gain some momentum going into Las Vegas is a good win for the team.”