"There are no 'good losses'" is something I tend to adhere to when evaluating Wrestling results. If you have ever sat through a high school seeding meeting, this debate has come up. A coach with a wrestler who doesn't have a good win on his record touts some close losses with wrestlers who do have good wins. While this does lend itself to some merit, there are so many factors that go into a final score that can easily askew this.
For the first time since 2007, Michigan hosted a dual in Crisler Arena and over 4,000 people showed up to watch essentially (Wrestling rankings are currently an epic mess) #2 Penn State take on #3 Michigan. The host Wolverines are strong from 157 to the top, boasting top ranked guys, but the visitors had five straight defending champs from 149 to 184 leading to some interesting matches and Michigan pushed three of those defending champs to the brink.
Jason Nolf has been the most untouched NCAA wrestler in the last season and a half. For people not knowing/remembering their summer freestlye match, it was surprising to see Alec Pantaleo get two second period takedowns. It was Nolf riding out the 3rd to give him the 6-4 win. It was the first full match of the season for him and only the 2nd time he wrestled in the 3rd period. It was vindicating for this author who spoke before the season about Pantaleo's ability to challenge him.
Sophomore sensation Mark Hall hit a cement mixer early and rode the first to take a healthy lead on Myles Amine, but when the dust settled in the 3rd Amine was charging and a riding time point for Hall was the difference in the 6-5 match.
The most interesting match was when Nickal and Abounader wrestled for the first time. Abounader was able to get to Nickal's legs and controversially didn't get a couple takedown calls. Nickal's scrambling ability was impressive, and now people will be curious about a March rematch between the two depending on how the brackets shake out.
Maybe lost in the madness was Coon's dominant performance. Nevills finished 5th last year and Michigan's big man controlled every aspect of that match and maybe got robbed on not getting a pin called for a cradle in the first.
It was nice to see Logan Massa back on the mat for Michigan. He had not wrestled since the first weekend of December due to injury. Joseph, defending 165 champ, was too tall a task for such a return. Joseph topped Massa in the semifinal last year 5-4 and got the better of the exchanges Friday night, but Michigan fans should be happy to see their guy back on the mat.
The performance from Michigan should give them a positive push into the dual portion of the season with many tests ahead. They didn't get the big wins, but there definitely was blood in the water.
Michigan will also host Ohio State in Crisler Arena on February 11th.
125: #15 Drew Mattin UM maj. dec. Devin Schnupp PSU, 8-0 / 0-4
133: #6 Steve Micic UM maj. dec. Corey Keener PSU, 10-1 / 0-8
141: Nick Lee PSU dec. Sal Profaci UM, 9-5 / 3-8
149: #1 Zain Retherford PSU pinned Malik Amine UM, WBF (6:29) / 9-8
157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU dec. #5 Alec Pantaleo UM, 6-4 / 12-8
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU maj. dec. #5 Logan Massa UM, 12-3 / 16-8
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU dec. #6 Myles Amine UM, 6-5 / 19-8
184: #1 Bo Nickal PSU dec. #5 Domenic Abounader UM, 5-2 / 22-8
197: #10 Shakur Rasheed PSU dec. #11 Kevin Beazley UM, 7-1 / 25-8
285: #2 Adam Coon UM maj. dec. #8 Nick Nevills PSU, 8-0 / 25-12
Comic relief: After the second time it appeared Abounader had a takedown and it was not awarded, Kevin spiked his hat and broke it. Here is a picture of him trying to put it back together.