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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    2023-24 Michigan Preview

    Michigan - This Wolverine squad is an interesting crew. This team is a mixture of returning talent paired with a strong contingent of All-American transfers. Michigan is one of the teams that has truly embraced the transfer portal and seems to have paired that with strong relationships to continuously position themselves in the hunt for a team trophy. Despite their big swings to bolster their lineup, this squad enters the year ranked 6th as a tournament team, and 9th in the dual rankings. I feel like this team is hell-bent on finishing the season in a much better position than 6th or 9th. 

    TOP RETURNERS

    Dylan Ragusin - Ragusin had a solid season last year. He entered the NCAA tournament as the 11 seed, and was positioned for a solid run, before being upset in the first round. He battled through the backside only to drop a match to Jesse Mendez of Ohio State, whom he had beaten for fifth in the B1G a couple weeks prior. Ragusin, potentially bumping up to 141 this season, maybe redshirting, maybe 133. I don’t know yet! If he is in the lineup, consistency will be key for the incredibly talented and dynamic wrestler.

    Will Lewan - Lewan has been a consistent presence for Michigan for the last several years. This being his last season in Maize and Blue will be a fun one to watch. He’s elite defensively, can scramble with the best, has probably the best sitout in college wrestling, has punishing mat returns, and has shown a diverse enough offensive arsenal to pull away from opponents in tight matches. He enters the season ranked seventh by Intermat, but is certainly capable of beating anyone at the weight. 

    Cam Amine - The strongest man on the planet. Watch his matches and tell me this isn’t the case. Very few look comfortable wrestling him, and I am of the firm belief that it’s because wrestling with him feels different than most people do. He’s already a three-time All-American, potentially the second Amine 5x All-American (Myles accomplished this feat in 2022), and he begins the season supposedly much healthier than he was much of last season. I recently saw an interview with him where he expressed just how different this preseason is from last year. Not to mention he has a new training partner in Shane Griffith. He’s the highest-ranked guy at 165 that hasn’t already won an NCAA Championship and looks to get over that hump this season.

     

    KEY DEPARTURES

    The Hodge Trophy Winner - Mason Parris! That seems significant. Thankfully for Michigan, they had Lucas Davison transfer in from Northwestern to take that heavyweight spot. We’ll talk more about him in a moment. They also lost Jack Medley at 125, Max Maylor at 174, and Matt Finesilver at 184 from the starting lineup. Those guys all graduated, and more power to them. Sadly though, Chance Lamer transferred to Cal Poly, seemingly to be close to his family (most of which also wrestles for Cal Poly). That was a tough loss, considering he made the Bloodround as a freshman. 149 will now be a weight to watch for the Wolverines. Cole Mattin was my breakout pick for 141 last season, and he competed strongly for Michigan, but he’s graduated and is onto Dental school. Those Mattin’s are a smart bunch.

    NEWCOMERS

    This list is fun. So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the four big transfers coming to Ann Arbor this year. From Northwestern’s team, Michigan added Michael DeAugustino at 125, Chris Cannon likely at 133, and Lucas Davison (referenced above) at heavyweight. Davison was an All-American last season, and DeAugustino and Cannon were previously All-Americans in 2022. Both look to finish off their careers back on the podium and chasing down NCAA titles. Davison was clear in an interview with me (it’s on Intermat also, check it out), that an NCAA Title is in his sights. He is in a great room for training with heavyweights, and will hopefully enter the NCAA Championships a bit more healthy than he was last March. I’d be a fool to not mention the swirling rumors of Austin Gomez wrestling for Michigan at some point this season. He would be a tremendous addition, considering he is one of the few people on planet Earth to have beaten Yianni Diakamaholis. Injuries have haunted Austin, but a shortened season (likely wouldn’t compete until second semester), would help him be more healthy and ready to make a final run at the elusive NCAA Championship.

    WRESTLER TO WATCH

    I expect Rylan Rogers to step right in at 184 for the Wolverines and have an immediate impact. A big recruit out of Idaho, and cousins with Chandler Rogers, a personal favorite wrestler of mine. Rylan bumped up in duals twice last season for Michigan, losing close matches to Luke Surber of Oklahoma State, and to Gavin Hoffman of Ohio State. He also won the MSU Open, Purple Raider Open, and took third at the Cleveland State Open. I’m as big a Matt Finesilver fan as you’ll find, but I believe Rylan will be able to step right in and produce immediately in a similar fashion.

    TOP OUT-OF-CONFERENCE DUAL

    January 4th of 2024 the Michigan Wolverines travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on Damion Hahn and the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. SDSU is currently ranked 17th in the country, and deservedly so. Coach Hahn has done excellent things with this program since taking over when Chris Bono went to Wisconsin. Last year, he had an NCAA Finalist in Tanner Sloan at 197, and brings back a very deep and dangerous lineup. Michigan matches up relatively well with just about anyone, but SDSU has studs up and down the lineup, so this might be closer than many would expect. A match to watch will be at 184 where the aforementioned Rylan Rogers will likely take on another outstanding redshirt freshman in Bennett Berge. Both of these guys were huge recruits and expect to be battling for National Titles in the future.

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