Friday, September 24, 2021

2022: The Preseason: Michigan Wolverines

 I've said since I was a kid way back in sophomore study hall that one day Michigan was going to win the NCAA team title in wrestling.  Here we are about to start the 2021-2022 and I have to conclude that....I'm gonna have to continue to wait.  Getting wrestlers to the dance isn't going to be a problem.  Michigan should qualify all 10 weights.  The problem lies in getting them all onto the award stand.

 Myles Amine is indeed back for one more shot, that poses HUGE in the favor of the Wolverines!! BUT..does it give enough wind in the sails to get past Iowa?  No.  I don't believe so.  The Hawks just have too much in too many places.  Upend Penn State for the silver trophy? Another tall order.  Contend for the bronze with Oklahoma State and possibly some others? They're going to have to have everyone wrestle up to par or even outdo their seeds but that is a real possibility. 

Jack Medley
Record: 57-39
BIG 10: 20'4th, 21'DNP
NCAA's: 20'NQ 
CKLV: 20'R12 

A national qualifier in 2020 for the Wolverines, I think that's where Medley remains this season as well. He'll be crucial and vital in dual meets & he should have a decent showing at the BIG 10's. He's top 33 qualification material for sure.  Can't see him in the top 8 and doubt we'll see him in the top 16. 

Stevan Micic OR Joey Silva OR Dylan Ragusin 
Senior OR Sophomore OR Freshman 
Record: 91-14 OR Record: 13-4 OR Record: 8-5 
NCAA: 17'4th, 18'2nd, 19'3rd OR 20'DNQ OR 21'NQ
BIG 10: 17'3rd, 18'1st, 19'6th OR 20'8th OR 21'7th 
MIDLANDS: 15'3rd OR 19'R12 OR 
CKLV: 17'2nd, 18'5th OR ___ OR 

I'm not even 100% positive on the status of Joey Silva. Where he's at or what he's doing. What I do know is that I wanted an opportunity to speak about him and I wasn't sure if I'd get a chance to anywhere else, so here is as good as anywhere.  Last I heard, he was in the transfer portal and I can't say I blame him.  He isn't knocking Stevan Micic out of his starting spot, but he's way to good to be riding the bench. He gave Seth Gross a good scare back in 2020.  I'm hoping he turns up somewhere. Everyone that follows me knows how big I am on Florida wrestling & seeing the four time state champ provide even more proof for why one of the 11 programs that used to have wrestling should reinstate, is something I am all for! 

Now, back to Micic.  Without a doubt he provides Michigan hope for an NCAA individual championship.  2-1 Vs Austin DeSanto, he has yet to face Roman Bravo-Young or Daton Fix. In his only meeting with Sebastian Rivera, he handled him 10-4. If you followed my series "Defending the Title" I talked about various wrestlers with connections to Japan, Canada, The United Kingdom and other foreign countries. To my knowledge, if Micic were to win the 2022 NCAA title, he'd be the first with direct Serbian ties. 

Last but not least, have to throw in a word for Dylan Ragusin.  His record might not indicate much, but  it does if you study those eight wins.  A Fall over Nick Aguilar, with decisions over Brock Hudkins, Michael DeAugustino, Justin Cardani and Pat McKee.  It's unfortunate that he'll most likely have to sit this season out, but he should gain valuable experience behind Micic.  

Drew Mattin 
Record: 54-36
NCAA: 18'NQ, 19'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 18'WC, 19'WC, 21'8th 
CKLV: 18'4th, 19'DNP

Another solid wrestler for the Wolverines, I expect about the same out of Drew Mattin that I do out of Jack Medley at 125 lbs.  I think perhaps a few more upsets. I can see Mattin coming through against higher ranked opponents when dual meets are on the line. A top 33 wrestler for sure, Mattin makes the NCAA tournament.  Predict a 1-2 or 2-2 performance. 

Kanen Storr OR Cole Mattin
Senior OR Sophomore 
Record: 97-32 OR 19-15
NCAA: 19'NQ, 20'NQ, 21'NQ OR 
BIG 10: 19'5th, 20'5th, 21'5th OR 20'DNP
CKLV: 18'8th, 19'3rd OR 20'R12
MIDLANDS: 17'5th, 20'7th 

Storr will start the season off as a top twenty wrestler and he more than has the talent, tools and capability to be a top 8 wrestler by season's end. He'll have his work cut out for him, but it is doable.  He did beat 3rd place All American Yahya Thomas of Northwestern in sudden victory last season, and he does own a victory over R12 Josh Finesilver of Duke. Michigan will need his points if they are to get that team trophy. 

As to Cole Mattin? He's not overcoming Storr for the spot, but he is a solid backup to have in the room that will push Storr.  No slouch himself, he owns an 11-8 victory over MAC champ Dresdon Simon

Will Lewan
Record: 39-13
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 20'5th, 21'8th 

Lewan is a top 12 wrestler at 157 lbs. That I have no doubt of. It's whether he can get over the hump into the top 8 or not. When it comes to valuable points at the NCAA level, there is a ton of a difference between that 8th place slot and finishing somewhere between 9th and 12th.  None of his losses concern me too much, although he does seem to Medical Forfeit quite a bit. From the optimistic view, he took 4th Place All American Jacori Teemer into sudden victory last season. 

Cam Amine 
Record: 29-9
NCAA: 21'7th
BIG 10: 21'3rd

What impressed me most about Cam Amine last season was his ability to beat a very tough Peyton Robb of Nebraska two times in a row.  A 5-3 victory over Kennedy Monday of North Carolina sticks out as well. He had a little luck in his 7th place showing (two Medical forfeits in route) but that doesn't take away from his accomplishment or what it proves that he is capable of. He'll have to earn his way back onto the award stand again, and it'll be a real chore placing higher.  I predict a similar showing to last season. 

Logan Massa
Record: 99-24
NCAA: 17'3rd, 18'NQ, 19'R12, 21'5th
BIG 10: 17'2nd, 18'5th, 19'3rd, 21'4th 
CKLV: 17'1st, 18'R12, 19'4th 

I'll get some crap for this, but I do believe that Logan Massa is a dark horse candidate for the national title this season. Yes, he's unpredictable, inconsistent and he looked ugly in an 11-3 loss to Nebraska's Mikey Labriola.  Yet on the same hand, he took NCAA champion Carter Starocci of Penn State into the tiebreakers last season and he gave NCAA runner-up Mike Kemerer of Iowa a match in a 4-2 loss. Massa is the type of guy that could go in and win the whole thing. He's also the guy that could completely shut down and end up 0-2. It's a crap shoot, but when he's on, he's hard to beat. 

Myles Amine or Jelani Embree
Senior or Junior 
Record: 104-21 OR 44-21
NCAA: 17'4th, 18'3rd, 19'3rd, 21'3rd OR NCAA 20'NQ
BIG 10: 17'2nd, 18'2nd, 19'2nd, 21'1st OR 19'DNP, 20'8th 
CKLV: 17'3rd, 18'3rd, 19'1st OR 19'R12, 20'8th 

Earlier this year I called Myles Amine one of the best of all time to never make an NCAA final. I spoke too soon. The 2021 San Marino Olympic Bronze medalist is back for one last shot at a national title. That bodes extremely well in the favor of Michigan.  Competing most of his career at 174 and last season at 197, I think 184 suites him well. He's the forerunner for the NCAA title as far as I'm concerned. 

 Jelani Embree himself, a solid competitor for the Wolverines. All American caliber? I don't know about that, but an NCAA qualifier for sure. 

Patrick Brucki
Record: 82-18
NCAA: 18'NQ, 19'4th, 20'* 
EIWA: 18'5th, 19'1st, 20'3rd
MIDLANDS: 18'5th, 19'1st, 20'3rd 

He has yet to officially compete for the Wolverines, but when he does grace the maize and blue, he'll be a valuable asset. For the most part Brucki remains untested.  The only top wrestler he has faced is Jacob Warner of Iowa and he is 2-1 against the Hawkeye.  The fact that Brucki is 0-0 against the rest of the field will probably see him lower in the rankings come season's beginning. Yet as the season progresses and he picks up some wins, I think come first of the year, he'll be ranked within the top 4. 

Mason Parris
Record: 73-12
NCAA: 19'R12, 20'*, 21'2nd
BIG 10: 19'7th, 20'2nd, 21'2nd
MIDLANDS: 19'5th
CKLV: 20'1st 

Gable Steveson. Might be the only thing that stands between Mason Parris and an NCAA title. It'd be fun to think that maybe Parris could give him a match, but at this point that's wishful thinking. Parris himself ought to be weary.  Some say Parris has just gotten too big, too strong and too good to worry about Cassioppi of Iowa, Stencel of Central Michigan or anyone else. If true, that poses very well for the Wolverines, but I wouldn't overlook anyone either. 


Best case scenario? 

133: Champion 
141: NQ
149: 6th-7th-8th
157: 4th
165: 7th 
174: Champion 
184: Champion 
197: 2nd 
HWT: 2nd

Three champions, with two NCAA runner-ups, where Michigan pretty rules the upper-weights? Yeah, probably not going to happen, but it is within the realms of possibility.  Nothing I put is out of the question, although it is a long stretch. 

Now what I don't think is a stretch at all is Michigan qualifying all 10 weights to the NCAA's. If anything that should be seen as an expectation.  8 All Americans? If everyone wrestlers well.  I see no less than 5. 

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