The Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team walked away from the University of Michigan tri-meet Saturday splitting their matches.
The Eagles defeated the Duke University Blue Devils 30-9 but fell to Michigan, who is ranked 14th in the nation, 32-3. This brought EMU’s record to 4-5 overall.
The Eagles started the day strong against Duke, winning all but three matches. This was the first time the two teams shared the mat in 84 years, and the first competition between the teams since the EMU wrestling program was introduced as a varsity sport during the 1956-57 season.
Redshirt junior Jared Germaine, ranked 17th in the nation, and redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer earned six points each for EMU with pins in the first period in the 125- and 157-pound matches against Peter Terrezza and Andrew DeHart, respectively.
This brought the Eagles to another lead against the Blue Devils, despite losing matches at 133 pounds with redshirt freshman Vincent Pizzuto to Brandon Gambucci, 141 pounds with redshirt freshman Michael Shaw to Tanner Hough and 149 pounds with redshirt freshman Justin Melick to Marcus Cain.
EMU won the rest of the matches over the Blue Devils. After Sulzer’s pin, EMU teammate redshirt sophomore Jacob Dorulla overpowered Randy Roden from Duke for a 15-7 major decision in the 165-pound weight class. The team added two more major decisions with redshirt freshman Jacob Davis at 174 pounds against Trey Adamson and redshirt junior Phillip Joseph at 184 pounds against Diego Bencomo.
Davis earned his first dual-meet win over Adamson. Joseph was a mere takedown away from a technical fall over Bencomo instead of his 17-4 major decision. With EMU so far in the lead (24-9), the possible bonus points were unnecessary.
EMU earned the final two wins with decisions from redshirt freshman Anthony Abro against Conner Hartman (197 pounds) and redshirt senior Chris Eggert against Brendan Walsh (285 pounds), bringing the Eagles to a 21-point lead over the Blue Devils.
After taking down the nationally ranked North Dakota State University Nov. 24, the Eagles were trying for their first-ever win over Michigan. Saturday’s loss was the 13th consecutive loss for the Eagles to the Wolverines. The last was nearly five years ago.
“We knew Michigan was going to be a tough match coming in so we wanted to start things off on the right foot against Duke,” Sulzer said.
As the day carried on, the Eagles proved to be no match for the Wolverines, posting just one win. Sulzer was the only wrestler for the Eagles to mark a win against both of his opponents, Michael Carpenter for the Wolverines and Dehart.
Michigan brought two nationally ranked wrestlers to the mat. At 165 pounds, No. 10 Taylor Massa beat Dorulla 9-4 and No. 14 Dan Yates topped Davis 6-2.
The Eagles changed the lineup for this match to include redshirt juniors Seth Schaner at 141 pounds instead of Shaw, Mike LeHolm at 149 pounds instead of Melick and Khodor Hoballah at 197 pounds instead of Abro.
Although most of the EMU wrestlers were unsuccessful against the Wolverines, many of them kept their point difference within decision range. Eric Grajales from Michigan earned a 15-0 technical fall over LeHolm and Eggert fell to Ben Apland.
In the middle of the match, the Eagles put points on the board with an 8-5 decision from Sulzer. After pinning his opponent from Duke, Sulzer felt good entering the mat with the Wolverines.
“I knew that if I wrestled like I’m capable, that I would control the match,” Sulzer said.
With two take downs and back points, Sulzer believed he was successful in controlling the match, and although the entire team did not win there were definitely opportunities.
“As a whole we did not wrestle well, but there were a few matches where we were right in it,” Sulzer said.
EMU will have another opportunity for a win as they host the Indiana University Hoosiers Dec. 16. The wrestlers take to the mat 1 p.m. at Bowen Field House.