MANHATTAN, N.Y. – Two teams looking to climb the ladder of powers in collegiate wrestling took to the mat and one team learned just how arduous that ascent will be.
Michigan had little trouble in nailing down the most obvious goal at hand as the No. 4-ranked Wolverines won nine of 10 matches, including six bonus-point wins, on the way to a 34-3 triumph over Columbia on Nov. 19 inside Levien Gymnasium on the Columbia campus.
The win improved the Wolverines to 2-0 in duals on the young season after knocking off Bakersfield 39-3 to open the season on Nov. 14. Columbia, meanwhile, was opening its dual season by playing host to Michigan.
While a win over Columbia was expected, both coaches had their eyes on the little things they wanted to see in hopes of greater dividends come postseason tournament time.
“We’ve got some things we are working on right now … and I saw some progress from last week, top, bottom, mat stuff and we were looking to make adjustments,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “In a couple of matches we just weren’t consistent enough.”
The Wolverines made more of the necessary adjustments. And in a big way.
Jelani Embree (184) and Patrick Brucki (197), a graduate transfer from Princeton, both scored major decisions as Michigan turned an early deficit on the scoreboard into an 8-3 advantage. Brucki used five takedowns in his match to fuel his impressive performance.
Columbia had a chance to close the gap and regain some momentum at heavyweight, but that bid came up just short and the Wolverines added to their lead.
Columbia’s Danny Conley scored an escape early in the second period against Michigan’s J.T. Correll to grab the advantage. Correll, who was competing in his first-ever collegiate action, tied the match with an escape of his own in the third period to set the stage for a dramatic closing.
Connell regained the lead with a takedown to go in front 3-1 with just 23 seconds left in the match.
He was unable to maintain that lead as Correll was awarded a point when Conley was penalized for grasping and the Wolverine escaped just ahead of the final buzzer to tie the score 3-3 to force overtime.
In the extra session Correll scored a takedown and added a four-point near fall to account for a 9-3 decision in sudden victory.
The marquee match of the night came at 125 pounds and went the way of the Wolverines when No. 21-ranked Jack Medley rallied from an early 3-1 deficit against No. 15 Joe Manchio by scoring a takedown with seven seconds remaining in the second period to tie the match at 3-3. Medley added an escape and another takedown in the final period to come away with a 6-3 decision over Manchio.
Dylan Ragusin scored a technical fall over Zack Witmer at 133 pounds as part of the six bonus-point wins for the Wolverines. Pat Nolan (141), Kanen Storr (149) and Will Lewan (157) reeled off three straight major decisions to go along with the majors recorded by Embree and Brucki earlier in the dual. Nolan was also competing at the collegiate level for the first time.
“We’re looking for performance, we’re looking for how we are going to compete,” Columbia coach Zach Tanelli said. “The landscape of our program has changed drastically … and in order to continue it to go the way we want it to go we have to wrestle better teams.
“(Michigan) was not at full strength and we’re not at full strength either,” the Lion coach added. “We have to compete and at the end of the day our goals are bigger. They are on a national scale. They are not regional, they are not within our conference.
Michigan is a team that obviously brings a tremendous amount of challenge to our guys and where we are at,” Tanelli continued, “and we do that intentionally and we have teams on our schedule this year who are as good.”
Columbia opened the match with a win at 174 pounds when Aaron Ayzerov scored an escape early in the third period to break a 4-4 tie against Max Maylor and then adding a takedown and holding on for a 7-4 win.
MICHIGAN 34, COLUMBIA 3
174: Aaron Ayzerov (Columbia) dec. Max Maylor (Michigan), 8-4.
184: Jelani Embree (Michigan) maj. dec. Brian Bonino (Columbia), 10-2.
197: Patrick Brucki (Michigan) maj. dec. Joe Franzese (Columbia), 13-5.
Hwt: J.T. Correll (Michigan) dec. Danny Conley (Columbia), 9-3 (SV).
125: Jack Medley (Michigan) dec. Joe Manchio (Columbia), 6-3.
133: Dylan Ragusin (Michigan) tech. fall over Zack Witmer (Columbia), 23-7 (6:02).
141: Pat Nolan (Michigan maj. dec. Gunnar Fuss (Columbia), 16-6.
149: Kanen Storr (Michigan) maj. dec. Danny Fongaro (Columbia), 15-6.
157: Will Lewan (Michigan) maj. dec. Kyle Mosher (Columbia), 12-2.
165: Cameron Amine (Michigan) dec. Joshua Ogunsanya (Columbia), 3-1.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.