This is my "homer article of the week". We do this blog/podcast as legitimate wrestling fans of everyone who has the guts to put their foot on the line. However, we are Michigan fans and that does permeate our product from time to time. Read accordingly.
Michigan was edged by Penn State 19-15 in front of a sold out Michigan home crowd at Cliff Keen Arena on Friday night. It was a very winnable match for the Wolverines and it could have been a heck of a statement win for the re-surging program. However, the defending 4-time NCAA Champs got upsets at 133, 141, and 149 to jump out to a 12-0 start that the home team could never recover from.
#9 Gulibon defeating #8 Bruno at 133 is hardly a major upset, but the next two matches were pretty surprising. Kade Moss had been struggling mightily against tough competition, but was able to defeat #17 Fisher 6-3. At 149, #9 Pantaleo fell to #18 Zack Beitz 6-5.
While the two real upsets there (not counting Bruno in a more or less toss-up match) do involve freshmen for Michigan, the loss is disappointing. It's really tough to see such a chance to defeat one of the marquee college wrestling programs in front of your home crowd slip through your fingers.
The night wasn't without positives. Murphy & Massa got solid wins, Abounader got a pin against the very tough #17 McCutcheon, and Coon defeated Gingrich (one-half of the platooning top 10 heavyweights) 5-2.
Moving forward for Michigan there is another home match with a great chance to prove themselves when they host #12 Nebraska this Friday. Michigan will be favored at 133, 149, 165, 184, 197, and 285 giving them the edge in 6 of the 10 weights. Of course, that is just paper and they will have to prove it on the mat to show that this program is really on the cusp of being elite. Michigan has a very good chance of turning a lot of heads this March. They currently have 6 wrestlers ranked in the top ten. Only 4 teams last year had more than 3 all-americans.
125: #8 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Conor Youtsey MICH, 3-2 / 3-0
133: #9 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. #8 Rossi Bruno MICH, 9-3 / 6-0
141: Kade Moss PSU dec. #17 George Fisher MICH, 6-3 / 9-0
149: #18 Zack Beitz PSU dec. #9 Alex Pantaleo MICH, 6-4 / 12-0
157: #13 Brian Murphy MICH dec. Luke Frey PSU, 3-1 / 12-3
165: Taylor Massa MICH dec. Garett Hammond PSU, 6-3 / 12-6
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU maj. dec. Jake Salazar MICH, 12-2 / 16-6
184: #10 Domenic Abounader pinned #17 Matt McCutcheon PSU, WBF (3:52) / 16-12
197: #5 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. #8 Max Huntley MICH, 3-2 / 19-12
285: #7 Adam Coon MICH dec. Jon Gingrich PSU, 5-2 / 19-15