Michigan starts this season 3rd in the Coaches Poll and 4th as a result of the algorithm that produces the Intermat and Flowrestling rankings. It's an exciting season with a top to bottom stud lineup returning five All-Americans and a Big Ten Champion.
On Sunday at 2pm, the annual Maize & Blue will take place in Ann Arbor. The success and anticipation of the season hinders this event a bit though. Three Wolverines will be wrestling the same day in the All-Star Classic in Atlanta (Rossi Bruno, Max Huntley, and Adam Coon).
Many wrestling writers, rankers, and fans are watching three weight classes closely (141, 165, and 174). After all, the rest of the weight classes are occupied by guys in the top ten in rankings in their respective weight classes.
125- Cory Lester vs Mike Volyanyuk
- Both Conor Youtsey and Austin Assad are reportedly "banged up" with mild injuries. Both should be ready to go shortly, but everyone expects Assad to redshirt and All-American Youtsey to go ahead and get on the podium again. Lester is a RS Junior who was a 4-time place winner in Missouri capturing the title as a Senior. Volyanyuk is a true freshmen who was a 3-time state placer in Michigan.
133- Ben Lamantia vs Trevor Zdebski
- AA Rossi Bruno will be at the All-Star Classic. This match will essentially be for the fans, but will feature a couple talented true freshmen. Ben Lamantia comes out of New York with a prep record of 158-14 taking 2nd at Senior Nationals this year. Trevor Zdebski went 3,3,1,1 for powerhouse Detroit Catholic Central.
141- George Fisher vs Cameron Kennedy
- Fisher is ranked 19th by Flowrestling and it's expected that redshirt freshman Zac Hall will challenge for the spot. Hall is a heralded recruit from St John's being a 4-time State Champ and he won the tough Edinboro Open last season. Hall is coming off an injury and we are not expected to see him until December. Fisher leads the series 1-0 over Jimmy's brother winning 4-0. Cameron was a state champ in Illinois and missed last season with an injury.
149- #9 Alec Pantaleo vs Hunter Sharf
- Pantaleo was a breakout star last year earning the 6 seed at the NCAA's as a true freshman. He will wrestle Sharf on Sunday who is a redshirt freshman out of NY. Angelo Latora took one of the challenge matches last season from Pantaleo. Latora is expected to challenge at a later date.
157- Aaron Calderon vs Cody VanderHagen
- #5/4 returning AA Brian Murphy is unlikely to wrestle this Sunday. Calderon is a RS Sophomore who is a former Michigan state champ. VanderHagen is a RS Junior who is 18-24 in open tournaments over the last three seasons.
165- Logan Massa vs Garrett Sutton
- Without a doubt the highlight match of the evening. True Freshman top recruit Massa took the 1st match in the challenge series 4-0. Sophomore Sutton was taken out of redshirt when Taylor Massa bumped up to 174. The 2-time Illinois state champ took 6th at the Big Tens earning an automatic bid to the NCAA's. Massa is a Junior National Champ and 3-time Michigan State Champ. If Massa can close out Sutton here, it's expected for him to start this year as a true freshman. Michigan is trying to win a National Championship and I can't imagine them holding back the winner of this series if they're healthy and ready to go.
174- #12 Davonte Mahomes vs Taylor Massa
- The match is not likely to happen until a later date with Massa reportedly injured. This match is one of the most interesting challenges in all of college wrestling this season for many reasons. Simply though, Abounader is a returning Big Ten champ at the next weight so you have two guys who would be expected to be in the top ten battling for the same spot.
184- #12 Domenic Abounader vs Ben Ralston
- Speaking of the returning B1G Champ, he leads the series over Ralston 1-0 with a 5-2 victory. Last year was an injury shortened year for him that, like his freshman season, peaked with the Big Ten tournament. He has taken 3rd and 1st at the conference tournament, but is yet to earn All-American honors. Ralston is 5th year senior who is a Michigan State Champ and holds a 30-21 career record.
197- Ayoola Olapo vs Jackson Striggow
- #5 Max Huntley will be at the All-Star Classic so Olapo & Striggow will fill the void. Olapo started wrestling as a high school sophomore and claimed 2nd place in Wisconsin as a senior. He is fun to watch and filled with potential and he is a RS sophomore. He is 13-14 in open tournaments the last 2 years. Striggow is a true freshman who capped his prep career of 154-27 with a Minnesota state championship as a senior.
285- Adam Coon is the 3rd Wolverine at the All-Star Classic and there is not expected to be a heavyweight match on Sunday at the Maize & Blue.
There might be some exhibition matches added as we draw closer, but should be a good time to see the development the guys are making in Ann Arbor as they seek to capture a national championship.