Observations on the win over #17 Wisconsin, 24-12

There were 1,125 fans at Keen Arena for the 7:00 p.m. start, in stark contrast this evenings Big Ten dual in Iowa City where 8,104 fans huddled into Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch the #1 Hawkeyes pulverize Northwestern, 38-3. Also, the #3 Missouri Tigers, 16-0, pounded #7 Oklahoma State, 22-10, before 2,529 fans at Columbia, Missouri; they are coached by former 1990 Michigan State Big Ten Runner-Up, Brian Smith. Michigan dropped to 17th in NCAA Wrestling Attendance behind Wyoming; it will be nice when the new arena is finished in 2017 to house volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling. It was Armed Forces Appreciation Night with activities including push-up and chin-up contests between the Army, Navy, and Air Force during intermission and Big Ten Network TV time-outs.

My wife and I sat with Dave Beamer, 1967 Ann Arbor High School graduate who wrestled at Brown University and has done plenty of refereeing through the years. Beamer defeated former 1976 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Stan Dziedzic as a freshman for the Bears. Two of the Greatest Michigan Wrestlers were seated behind us: Mike Amine, 1988 NCAA Runner-Up, and former Wolverine Assistant Coach, Kirk Trost, 1986-2011, who was NCAA Champion in 1984 and 1992 Olympic Alternate.

125 lbs. Conor Youtsey vs. Matt Cavallaris: Youtsey hit a single on the right leg, and finished with a double for the first takedown in the first 10 seconds of the bout. After an escape by Cavallaris, Youtsey hit a single to the left leg for another takedown to go ahead, 4-1. Youtsey let Cavallaris up, and then hit a single to the right leg, but couldn't finish. Youtsey then converted a front headlock into another takedown with a go behind for a 6-2 first period lead with 1:43 in riding time. Youtsey escaped in 6 seconds to start the second period, and then hit the right leg for a takedown to build his lead to 9-2. After an escape, Youtsey manuevered for a takedown on the edge of the mat to go ahead 11-3. Youtsey then took a bar arm, and pinned Cavallaris at 4:41. Michigan 6 Wisconsin 0

133 lbs. Zebulon Hillyard vs. #10 Ryan Taylor: #7 Rossi Bruno is still nursing a high ankle sprain and didn't compete. Taylor placed 3rd at the Big Ten Championship in 2014 at 125 lbs. and has moved up in weight this season. Taylor took down Hillyard quickly, and the referee started a count, but no back points were called. Taylor then tilted Hillyard for a two count to grab a 4-0 lead, but got sloppy and Hillyard reversed him. After Taylor escaped, he converted another takedown to go ahead 7-2 with 58 seconds of riding time to end the first period. In the second period, Hillyard chose neutral, and Taylor took him down to go up 9-2. After an escape, Taylor hit another takedown for an 11-3 advantage. After another escape, a stalemate was called just before the end of the second period with the score at 11-4 with 1:11 riding time. The third period, Taylor gave Hillyard an escape and got a quick takedown to go up 13-5. After another escape and takedown, Taylor held Hillyard for a five count to go up 18-6, and another five count for the technical fall, 21-6, at the 6:24 mark. The assistant referee delayed the end of the match by not actively being involved in the scoring update to let the head referee know the scoring. 6-5 Wolverines

141 lbs. George Fisher vs. Jesse Thielke: Thielke placed 7th at the Big Ten Championships in 2014. Thielke was wrapped up on both legs like a "mummy." Fisher and Thielke were cautious early, Fisher had a nice front headlock, but couldn't score with it. Thielke, a Greco Man, wanted some throws with underhooks, but Fisher wouldn't let it happen. Good counters by both wrestlers and a stalemate was called with 54 seconds left in the 1st. Fisher then hit a takedown on a counter and earned 8 seconds riding time to end the first stanza. Fisher escaped to start the second period; then, after not much action, Fisher hit a single leg to the right side and finished to go ahead 5-0. Thielke reversed as Fisher got high on the grapevine just before the end of the period for a 5-2 score at the end of the second with 21 seconds riding time. Fisher rode Theilke the entire third period and drew a stall warning for both wrestlers, but earned a 6-2 decision with riding time. A good bout and win for Fisher who should earn a top 8 seed as a result of the win at the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan 9 Wisconsin 5

149 lbs. #10 Alec Pantaleo vs. Ryan Lubeck: Lubeck placed 6th at the Big Ten Championships in 2014. Lubeck is very stocky, and a good defensive wrestler so Pantaleo had a hard time hitting his explosive double as Lubeck stayed low. Pantaleo missed a nice shuck by, and Lubeck missed a double. Both wrestlers took some blood time outs. Another good single to the left leg by Pantaleo, but Lubeck countered well with a whizzer. A scoreless first period. Alec escaped to go ahead, 1-0. Lubeck shot, but didn't convert; then Pantaleo hit a single to the left leg with a nice trip to finish and go up 3-0. Pantaleo did a nice job to stay in control and ride Lubeck out. In the 3rd period, Lubeck escaped, 3-1. Lubeck then chased Pantaleo with 4-5 shots and no stall warning by the referee for a 3-1 finish. Michigan 12 Wisconsin 5

157 lbs. #16 Brian Murphy vs. Jarod Dunar: Murphy converted a single to the left leg for a takedown, and rode Dunar for 2:18 to end the first period. Murphy escaped quickly, but neither wrestler did much on their feet for an inactive second period. An escape by Dunar made it 3-1, but another Murphy takedown with 2:58 in riding tiime closed out a 6-1 win. Michigan 15 Wisconsin 5

10 minute Intermission--I spoke with former 3 Time Wolverine All-American Lanny Green.

165 lbs. #5 Taylor Massa vs. #3 Isaac Jordan: Jordan placed 3rd at the Big Ten Championships in 2014, and 7th at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors as a Redshirt Freshman. Jordan's father, Jim Jordan, was a Two Time NCAA Champion, 1985-86, for the Badgers who left wrestling as an Ohio State Assistant Coach, 1986-1994. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2006 after serving as an Ohio State Representative and Senator for 11 years, 1995-2006. Both wrestlers are Sophomores, and this was one of the most highly anticipated bouts of the evening. Jordan started fast with a takedown and held Massa down for 2:25 riding time advantage to end the first period. Massa chose neutral, and Jordan responded with another takedown to move ahead 4-0. After a stall call to Massa, Jordan cradled him up for a 3 point near fall, and almost pin to end the second period ahead 7-0. An escape by Jordan to go with another stall call to Massa resulted in a 9-0 major decision for Jordan. It was a very disappointing outing for Massa who showed no offense at all; he's got some work to do before the Big Ten's. Michigan 15 Wisconsin 9

174 lbs. Jake Salazar vs. Frank Cousins: Salazar, a 157 lbs. wrestler moved up two weight classes to challenge Cousins. Salazar wasn't bashful either; he struck early with a terrific double-leg tackle, but a much larger Cousins fended it off. Salazar continued to stalk Cousins, but couldn't convert for a scoreless first period. Cousins escaped, but after that it was all Salazar as he took down Cousins three times with double leg tackles in the final three minutes for a commanding 8-3 win. The referee finally rewarded Salazar with a stall point as Salazar was completely worn out for chasing Cousins for 7 minutes shooting several explosive double legs. It was a great bout for Salazar who really pushed himself. Michigan 18 Wisconsin 9

184 lbs. #10 Domenic Abounader vs. #19 Ricky Robertson: Both wrestlers were cautious in the first period. Abounader tried a shuck, and a double, and later a single, but Robertson defended well so the first period ended 0-0. Robertson escaped in the second, and no action ended a boring period. Abounader escaped to knot the score, 1-1, and that is where it stayed through 7 minutes. In overtime, cautious wrestling continued, but terrific riding resulted in no advantage during the tiebreaker. Abounader held on to Robertson just when it appeared he might escape. In the second overtime, Abounader go an escape for a dramatic, 2-1, win as he held tight with another ride out. Robertson is a redshirt freshman and Abounader is a Sophomore so both will see each other many more times over the next few years. Michigan 21 Wisconsin 9

197 lbs. #8 Max Huntley vs. #11 Tim McCall: McCall placed 7th at the Big Ten Championships in 2014, and made the finals of the Midlands Championships in December before losing to Iowa's Nathan Burak, 4-3. Although Huntley was ranked higher, many expected a "chiseled" McCall to win. The first period was wrestled cautiously by both wrestlers although Huntley hit a double and a single to the right leg without any finish, 0-0. In the second period, McCall quickly escaped, then hit an explosive double leg tackle to take a 3-0 lead. Huntley tried to lift McCall backwards on a throw, but McCall nearly pinned him as Huntley couldn't lift McCall over. The two count resulted in a 5-0 lead. After an escape by Huntley, the comeback began. Huntley hit a double for 5-3 score to end the second period. In the third period, Huntley escaped and hit a takedown and 3 point near far to take a commanding 9-5 lead. McCall escaped and pursued Huntley, but Max stayed tough and fought him off for a 9-6 final. It was really nice to see Max with "fire in his eyes" as he was determined to win this one, and he pushed himself into the win. Congratulations, Max!!! Wolverines 24 Badgers 9

285 lbs. #6 Adam Coon vs. #3 Connor Medbery: Medbery placed 7th at the Big Ten Championships in 2014, and his only loss this season was to Bobby Telford of Iowa; he defeated Northwestern's #2 ranked Mike McMullen, 7-6, on January 9th. Former Badger All-American, Kyle Massey, stopped by before the match began and said Coon was prepared and ready for this one; Massey competes and coaches for the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club and trains daily with Coon. Medbery defeated Coon at the 2012 FILA Junior Nationals, but Coon responded by pinning Medbery at the 2014 Freestyle University Nationals. Coon wrestled well in the first period as he converted a counter single to the right leg into a takedown, a Medbery escape ended the first period, 2-1. Medbery escaped to go tie it up, 2-2, and then hit a double that the referee ruled was out of bounds. Coon had riding time advantage of 31 seconds heading to the third period. Coon escaped to take a 3-2 lead, and after a stall call to warn Coon, Medbery continued to pursue Coon until he hit a late takedown with about 15 seconds to go as the got a near fall count on the edge of the mat to win 7-3. Final Score: Michigan 24 Wisconsin 12

Michigan had good efforts from Youtsey, Fisher, Pantaleo, Murphy, Salazar, Abounader and Huntley as they won 7 bouts! Huntley earned the wrestler of the night award. The efforts of Massa and Coon were disappointing; hopefully, they'll both respond with better efforts quickly. Michigan wrestles Indiana on Sunday the 25th, and returns to Keen Arena on the 30th to battle Penn State. Hopefully Bruno will be back in the line-up! See you there!