Well that was awful. I didn't bother previewing any of the 3 meets that happened over the past weekend, mainly because they weren't teams I thought would be able to hang with Michigan. I was wrong. Michigan dropped 2 of 3 matches, each by a single point, and barely beat their final opponent. I knew Michigan would have a down year, but losing to Bloomsburg and American is incredibly dissapointing, and some individual performances where just ugly. Just a quick recap of the weekend again, half because I don't have video, and half because I really wouldn't want to watch it even if I did.
- Zac Stevens continues to impress, he went 3-0 over the weekend, with one major decision. He didn't face any ranked opponents, but if he keeps winning he might see himself ranked sooner rather than later.
- Biondo was excellent, as usual. He was the only other Wolverine with a perfect record, and he tallied a Major and a Tech. Judging by the score, he wasn't taken down all tournament, always a great sign.
-Eddie Phillips had a good day, going 2-1, with one very dominant decision. Phillips probably won't be an All-American, but he is a bear of a wrestler, and can go out against top notch HWY's and save team points, an underrated skill.
-Justin Zeerip also went 2-1, recording a tech and a decision. Good to see Zeerip start winning, he is a key part of this teams future, and if he can live up to his potential he can compete for national titles. It's not a question of work ethic with Zeerip, just of getting better technically.
- We need to find a 157 Lb'er, badly. I'm sure Dave Johnson is a wonderful, hard working wrestler, but getting pinned in both 1 point losses is brutal. I'd understand if it was just Moley who pinned him against Bloomsburg, as top 5 kids can do that, but a kid ranked 15th should not be pinning a Michigan wrestler, ala Steve Fittery of American.
-Boyle hasn't been quite as good as I thought he would be. He is just a freshman so its understandable that he would struggle, and I commend him for staying off his back and keeping everyone he wrestled to decisions. I'm sure he'll be fine in the future, but with the Big10 so strong there, it might not be a very good year to be Sean Boyle.
- Man, just when I thought Hynes was really gonna break out, he goes 1-2 and loses to 2 unranked kids in fairly meek fashion, 7-2 each. I'm not particularly worried about him, he should be unranked after this week, just a little surprised by the results. He does have a textbook college skill set, and he will knock off some more big name competition, he just had a bad day. Maybe swine flu?
Yeah, not exactly the results I was hoping for. It's gonna be a rough year for Michigan, but then again, whats new? It's been tough for us in most sports lately, between the football program being torn down and struggling to set the foundation amidst a torrid downpour of bad luck, and the basketball team, what should be our saving grace after a season of repeated gut shots, suddenly looking like they may not be as good as everyone had thought they were. Dan Gable once said "Once you've wrestled, everything else is easy." It's true, after you experience the pain and dedication it takes to become a wrestler, most everything else in life seems easy. This is true right now about Michigan fandom, which seems to have become one heartbreaking loss after another, with a scandal thrown in every now and again.
It will not continue like this though, the future is brighter, and its right at the end of this tunnel. Football will be back, Basketball will be back, and Wrestling will be back, they will compete not only for Big 10 titles, but for National titles, because we are Michigan, that's what we do, and when we do, you will look back on these times and remember players like Brandon Graham and Manny Harris and Anthony Biondo. Guys who got caught in the middle of a bad time, but who busted their balls everytime because we might lose, but god damnit we're gonna lose going 150 miles an hour. They lead by example, and though they might not receive the fruits of their labor while on the team, they are setting a foundation. Guys like Craig Roh, and Darius Morris, and Eric Grajales, they see that, they see the effort these guys put in everyday, and they know that all they want to do is win one for Michigan. Some fans might forget these guys, they dont' want to remember the times when Michigan was bad, but don't think for a second that when Michigan turns around it's not because we have guys on the team who saw seniors work their asses off because they loved Michigan.
I know its tough to stay interested in tough times, its natural, losing sucks. Maybe you don't want to go to the games, and thats fine, maybe you don't even want to watch, and I don't care. But don't forget. Don't think when the turnaround comes that the seniors and juniors on these teams didn't play a huge part in it. After all, once you've been through something this trying, everything else seems a little easier.