The Michigan Wrestling team had an uphill battle heading across the Mississippi to Iowa City. With injuries (specifically at 165 & 174) and some tough draws, the expectations for the team from Ann Arbor were not what you would expect from a team that went 8-1 in the Big Ten dual schedule. A disappointing 6th place finish followed as Nebraska & Rutgers had surprisingly good tournaments.
In all honesty though, it wasn't a bad weekend for Michigan. A healthier looking Brian Murphy and sophomore sensation Alec Pantaleo took home very hard earned 3rd place finishes. Murphy even had a takedown that somehow wasn't called (even after a review) that would have likely meant a win over defending National Champ (and this year's Big Ten Champ) Isiah Martinez (Illinois) in the semi-final. Pantaleo had 2 wins over 2014 NCAA Champ Tsirtsis (Northwestern) in the same tournament to now have polls sitting him at 3rd heading in to the NCAA Finals.
Adam Coon fell to defending freestyle World Champion, Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) 7-4. The match was fascinating as both guys were attempting to learn how to wrestle each other on the fly. Snyder was able to finish off a couple shots and Coon will likely enter the NCAA's as the 4 seed.
Dom Abounader was upset in the semi-finals by TJ Dudley (Nebraska), but then fought back to 3rd rather easily. 184 will be one of the more interesting brackets when the seeding committee releases their findings (read: mess the whole thing up beyond recognition). It's very possible though, that Abounader's record (the Dudley loss being just his 2nd on the season) still results in a 2-seed for him.
Due to a slow start to the season, Youtsey came in as the 7 seed at 125, but finished 6th after one of the weirdest officiated matches I've seen in awhile. Twice in the first minute off of a scramble Youtsey was blatantly pushed out of bounds and then penalized for stalling. After another stall call and a forceful head tap call, which are virtually never called in college, Youtsey trailed 5-3 in the last 30 seconds despite having the only takedown in the match. Youtsey will have to battle hard from a likely impending low seed at NCAA's to be an All-American for the second year in a row.
Returning All-American Max Huntley was upset in the quarterfinals leaving a tough road to battle back for a 5th place finish. He should get an 8-11 seed that should have him right there in the tight matches to get him back on the podium in his senior season.
George Fisher placed 8th, but fell short of a big to NCAA's. Rossi Bruno looked like there were too many miles on the odometer to get anything going falling in his automatic qualifier match. Amine & Calderon filled in at 165 & 174 but will not be moving on as well.
Michigan should garner solid seeds for Pantaleo, Murphy, Abounader, Huntley, and Coon that'll give them good position to make the podium. The season may not work out in team score fashion as many hoped, but there are plenty of individual accolades to get before Michigan returns eight of their ten starters next season.
I'm also still trying to chop up the video of the Murphy no call on the takedown that seemed unfathomable.