Observations on the loss to #5 Penn State, 15-19
It was another sellout with 1,830 fans at Keen Arena for the 7:00 p.m. start. Announcer Matt Stout was unable to be there; I would have loved to fill in, but wasn't asked. The well-coached Penn State Nittany Lions decided to redshirt two starters this season, NCAA Runner-Up Nico Megaludis at 125 lbs. and All-American Zach Retherford at 141 lbs. so they won't be a contender for their fifth NCAA and Big Ten titles in 2015; however, they are re-loading and building for the future behind Cael Sanderson and former Central Michigan NCAA Champion, Casey Cunningham.
125 lbs. Conor Youtsey vs. #9 Jordan Conaway: This bout started off with Youtsey shooting a nice low shot, but Conaway quickly countered; then, Conaway shot on Youtsey's left leg with a nice counter by Conor. On the next shot by Youtsey, Conaway countered for a go behind at the 1:00 mark. After a cradle attempt by Conaway, Youtsey escaped after 35 seconds of riding time. Action continued at a rapid pace as Conaway shot, then Yousey countered with two shots of his own, but neither wrestler scored for a 2-1 end to the first period. Youtsey escaped after 12 seconds to knot the score, 2-2. Youtsey pushed the pace and shot twice on Conaway, but a nice counter at the end of the period by Conaway ended the period. In the third stanza, Conaway escaped to go ahead, 3-2. There was a nice scramble as Youtsey pursued Conaway, but no scoring came off it. The referee, Kevin Tann, stalemated action with 27 seconds to go. Conaway grabbed a single to hold on for the win. 3-0 Penn State
133 lbs. #7 Rossi Bruno vs. #11 Jimmy Guilbon: Guilbon placed 7th at the Big Ten's in 2014. Both wrestlers were way too cautious to start this bout in the first two minutes. Finally, Bruno shot, but quit on it and let Guilbon go behind for a 2-0 lead. Guilbon rode for 49 seconds to end the period. In the second period, Guilbon rode tough and Bruno nearly escaped early in the period; the period ended with Guilbon ahead 2-0 with 2:49 riding time. In the last period, Bruno held Guilbon down for 30 seconds prior to the escape, it was 3-0. Bruno quit again on another shot with Guilbon spinning behind, 5-0. After an escape by Bruno, Rossi pounced in for a takedown, it was 5-3, but Guilbon escaped, and spun behind as Bruno quit a third time on a shot, 8-3. Guilbon added a point riding time for a 9-3 win. 6-0 Penn State
141 lbs. George Fisher vs. Kade Moss: Moss is a Greco specialist from Utah who is 1-4 in the Big Ten so far this season. Tann started the bout too early and it had to be restarted. Fisher shot in on the left leg of Moss, but couldn't finish. Then, Moss countered a shot off another Fisher shot, but both wrestlers had great counters. After a finger in the eye of Fisher, Moss shot in on Fisher's right leg, but George fought it off. The first period ended, 0-0. In the second period, Fisher was cautioned on the start; then, as Fisher started his escape, Moss threw him in a rear headlock to the mat and held him for a two count to take a 2-0 lead. Fisher finally escaped after 42 seconds, and then took the lead with a single to a double finish, 3-2. Fisher rode the rest of the period, and tried a half with the grapevine, but couldn't convert. Fisher held a 10 second riding time advantage entering the third period. Moss chose down, and after a stalemate, Moss reversed and held fisher for another two count to take a commanding, 6-3, advantage. He held Fisher down to complete the comeback. 9-0 Penn State
149 lbs. #10 Alec Pantaleo vs. #20 Zach Beitz: Beitz is 3-2 against Big Ten competition so far. The bout started with a nice pace as Beitz shot a double, Pantaleo almost pancaked Beitz on the counter, and then almost went behind. A nice shuck by by Alec resulted a takedown, but a quick escape by Beitz made it 2-1. Pantaleo had another shot, but couldn't convert so the period ended, 2-1. Beitz escaped to start the second period, 2-2; then, Beitz hit a nice single to the left leg to take a 4-2 lead. After Alec escaped, Beitz hit another single to the left leg, but this time Pantaleo countered. The period ended 4-3 with 13 seconds riding time. In the final stanza, Beitz extended his riding time to 29 seconds before Pantaleo escaped to tie the score, 4-4. Both wrestlers pushed the action for the winning takedown as the period wound down, but after a shot by Pantaleo, Beitz countered and spun to hold Alec with five seconds to go and gain a 6-4 win. 12-0 Penn State
157 lbs. #16 Brian Murphy vs. Luke Frey: Coach Sanderson elected not to compete his best wrestler, #7 Dylan Alton, with such a big lead; instead, he weighed in Cody Law, but send backup 149 lbs. wrestler, Luke Frey, to the mat. Murphy shot early, but action was stalemated at 2:26. Then, Murphy hit a nice double, but couldn't convert. After stalking Frey most of the period, Murphy countered to a takedown finish and held Frey for 12 second riding time. In the second period, Murphy escaped in 3 seconds to go ahead, 3-0. Action slowed as Murphy shot, but a stalemate stopped the bout at 0:28. Murphy went after the right leg of Frey, but the period ended, 3-0. Action continued to slow as Frey was warned for stalling after an escape. It looked like the bout would end 3-1, but a scramble in the last 10 seconds prompted Coach Sanderson to appeal to referee Kevin Tann for a takedown. It was not to be. 3-1 Final Michigan 3 Penn State 12
10 minute Intermission--I spoke with backup 184 lbs. Ayoola Olapo, and watched the bouncing ball collision contest. Olapa and some of the other backup Wolverines are going to the Edinboro Open to compete next week on February 7.
165 lbs. #9 Taylor Massa vs. Garrett Hammond: Hammond is 2-3 against Big Ten opponents this season. Massa came out quickly with his usual upper body ties, and hit a single to a double finish to take a 2-0 lead. Massa built up a 59 second riding time advantage until he let Hammond up, 2-1. Massa then hit a go behind following a Hammond shot to take a 4-1 lead. A late escape by Hammond ended the first period, 4-2. In the second period, Massa extended his riding time advantage , but he was hit for stalling by Tann. A late escape by Hammond left Massa's lead at 4-3 to enter the third period. Massa chose down, and did nothing as he was ridden for almost the whole period. Massa escaped in the waning seconds of the period, and added a point of riding time for an unimpressive 6-3 win. Michigan 6 Penn State 12
174 lbs. Jake Salazar vs. #3 Matt Brown: Brown was a NCAA Finalist in 2013, and Two-Time All-Amnerican. Brown hit the right leg, and finished for a 2-0 lead. Salazar escaped and shot, but Brown spun behind as the first period ended, 4-1 with Brown amassing 1:32 riding time. Brown continued to ride tough, a characteristic of a good mat squad, as he rode Salazar out in the second period for a 3:32 riding time advantage. In the last period, Brown escaped and hit another takedown for a commanding 7-1 lead. After letting Salazar up and being warned for stalling, Brown hit another takedown for a 9-2 lead. Another two stall calls by Tann made it 11-2 plus a point in the 4:37 in riding time ended the bout, 12-2. Michigan 6 Penn State 16
184 lbs. #10 Domenic Abounader vs. #18 Matt McCutcheon: McCutcheon is 5-2 against Big Ten competition so far. Abounader shot on McCutcheon's left leg without success; then, both wrestlers hit a shot, re-shot and went out of bounds after the first minute. McCutcheon hit another shot and both wrestlers went out of bounds again. Then, Abounader hit the left leg again and finished for a 2-0 lead; he rode McCutcheon out for a 44 second riding time advantage. McCutcheon made his fatal mistake to start the second period, he chose down. Abounader is a "beast" on top, and he leveraged a half and pinned McCutcheon at 3:52. Way to Go, Dom! Michigan 12 Penn State 16
197 lbs. #8 Max Huntley vs. #5 Morgan McIntosh: McIntosh is a returning All-American at this weight, and has two losses this year to Snyder and Cox. The first period was wrestled cautiously as both wrestlers shot, but didn't go in deep so the first period ended, 0-0. McIntosh escaped in 12 seconds, and both wrestlers continued their cautious dance to finish the second stanza; Max did shoot, but it was again too far away. In the third period, Huntley escaped in 8 seconds. Finally, McIntosh hit a single on the right leg of Huntley and finished. Max escaped to make it 3-2, but despite jeers from the crown and bench, Kevin Tann wouldn't even call a stall warning on McIntosh in the last 45 seconds. Michigan 12 Penn State 19
285 lbs. #6 Adam Coon vs. #7 John Gingrich: Sanderson weighed in Jimmy Lawson and Gingrich, but chose to wrestle Gingrich. They split bouts last season, and Coon defeated Gingrich, 2-0, at the Southern Scuffle this season. Adam continued his usual style of pushing ahead with underhooks, and drew a stall call on Gingrich, but the first period ended, 0-0. Coon had a couple shots, but one went out of bounds and he couldn't finish the other. Coon escaped to take a 1-0 lead after 7 seconds in the second period, and continued to push Gingrich back drawing a second stall call to take a 2-0 lead. Coon hit a couple doubles, but they weren't deep and he didn't finish. In the third period, Adam cradled Gingrich, but didn't pull him back. Finally, Gingrich escaped and tried to hit a single, Coon countered with a spin behind for a takedown to make it 4-1. He again tried to cradle, but didn't force it back. Gingrich escaped, but Coon added a riding time point for a 5-2 win.
Michigan had good efforts from Abounader and Coon as the Wolverines won 4 bouts! Abounader easily earned the wrestler of the night award. Youtsey and Huntley gave solid efforts while losing against tough, ranked opponents, but Fisher and Pantaleo both lost winnable bouts. Massa looked good early, but finished his bout flat. Murphy also gave a decent effort, but it was against a backup for Penn State. Michigan wrestles Nebraska at Keen Arena on February 6th. I won't be attending any other home meets this season. The University of Michigan Sports Information Director, Dave Ablauf, has denied me a "press pass" to cover their wrestling matches. I guess writing a 628 page book on the history of Michigan Wrestling doesn't qualify me, and neither does my website which summarizes more Wolverine Wrestling History and Trivia than any other team in NCAA Wrestling plus gets over 10,000 hits a day. I guess Michigan wrestling doesn't need any more promotion than what it gets from their sports information department. I will be at the Big Ten's in Columbus, OH in March, and will be doing an observation summary of that two-day event.