Nick Suriano (left) and new teammate Stevan Micic at the 2019 NCAA Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Yesterday, all of the Nick Suriano speculation ended as he announced he would finish his collegiate career wrestling for the University of Michigan. Now, we'll turn our attention to the future. Or the near future, as we project Suriano's possible schedule wrestling for the Maize and Blue. Since the Big Ten has 14 teams, not all will wrestle one another during the regular season, so it's not a given as to which conference schools he and Michigan would face. Not only does Michigan have an imposing slate of Big Ten duals on the horizon, but they also have a pair of fun non-conference duals to bookend 2022. All-in-all, Michigan will face six of the top 15 schools in dual competition after the new year.
With such good team competition, they are certainly a share of high-quality individuals waiting for Suriano, as well. We've gone date-by-date to guess/project who may face Nick during his run with the Wolverines. At this time, we're still trying to obtain when exactly he'll be able to suit up for Michigan. For now, we'll roll with the first date on the schedule for 2022:
January 3rd vs. #7 Arizona State (@ Austin, Texas)
Could a neutral site dual with a top-ten foe like Arizona State be the setting for Suriano's Wolverine debut? If so, that would make for an intriguing bout with 2021 NCAA runner-up #3 Brandon Courtney. An opponent like Courtney is someone that Suriano may end up facing in the NCAA quarters or semis.
January 14th at #8 Ohio State
Who doesn't love Michigan versus Ohio State? We got to see this rivalry unfold in football over the weekend and it was one for the ages (if you're a Michigan fan). Now with a polarizing wrestler like Suriano on the Michigan side, it can only enhance the dual. Ohio State would trot out #9 Malik Heinselman, who looks every bit the All-American contender this year. Heinselman was active during Suriano's most recent collegiate season; however, they did not clash since Nick was up at 133 lbs.
January 21st at Home vs. #2 Penn State
Lots of storylines in this one! Suriano started his collegiate career at Penn State, but left after one year. There were rumors that Suriano and Penn State were ready to give it another try this season, but that obviously didn't happen. The Nittany Lions are expected to make a high-profile addition themselves at 125 lbs, as 2021 All-American Drew Hildebrandt is in the process of enrolling. Suriano and Hildebrandt's paths did not cross those; they were in the same weight class during the 2017-18 season. Hildebrandt did not qualify for NCAA's that year and Suriano was a finalist. The former Central Michigan Chippewa rapidly improved and ended up 14-2 last season. Having Suriano in the lineup could push the Wolverines over the edge in this colossal clash.
January 23rd at Home vs. #12 Rutgers
Again, more storylines here! After leaving Penn State, Suriano returned to his home state and made two NCAA finals and became Rutgers' first NCAA champion. Rutgers would send out #23 Dylan Shawver, who made the NCAA Tournament last season as a true freshman. So far, in 2021-22, Shawver is unbeaten in his seven appearances.
January 28th at Home vs. #15 Minnesota
It's another possible high-profile bout for Suriano as #10 Patrick McKee looms for the Gophers. McKee finished eighth in the Big Ten last year, but really turned it up at the NCAA Tournament, finishing third. In his final bout, he defeated Hildebrandt, 5-3. McKee's is always capable of ending a match quickly via fall, though that's unlikely versus Suriano.
January 30th at Maryland
Zach Spence has been the Terrapins starter at 125 lbs. He's currently 0-4 on the season and was winless in 2021.
February 4th at #9 Nebraska
Nebraska should give the Wolverines their final major test of the year in a bout that's live on the Big Ten Network. Opposing Suriano in that clash would be #22 Liam Cronin. He and Suriano were in the same Big Ten weight class, while Cronin was at Indiana and Suriano PSU, but the two didn't meet. That year, Cronin only saw action in two conference duals and didn't get the nod in the postseason. So far, in 2021-22, Cronin is 3-3 after suffering a trio of losses at the Daktronics Open.
February 11th at Indiana
After seeing a former Hoosier in Cronin, Suriano should meet up with #27 Jacob Moran, on the road. We haven't seen much of Moran yet, but he's been solid in his limited sample size. At the Mountain Invitational, he fell to NCAA runner-up, Courtney, but beat 2021 qualifier Jake Ferri (Kent State). Last season, Moran went 5-8, which was significantly impacted by a 0-3 showing at the Big Ten's.
February 13th at Home vs. Michigan State
The Spartans have yet to appear in dual action, but once they do, we assume Tristan Lujan will get the call. Lujan is 3-2 on the year with one-point losses to ranked wrestlers #25 Justin Cardani (Illinois) and #32 Brock Bergelin (Central Michigan) on his resume. Last season, as a true freshman, Lujan bounced between 125 and 133 and went 2-2.
February 20th at Central Michigan
Speaking of Bergelin, Suriano and Michigan will close out their regular season with an out-of-conference tilt against in-state rival Central Michigan. Bergelin is faring well in the earlygoing after having to move up to 133 in the past because of the presence of Hildebrandt. So far this year, he has a win over two-time national qualifier Bryce West (Northern Illinois) and pushed Joey Prata (Oklahoma), before falling by a single point at the Michigan State Open.
March 5/6th at Lincoln, Nebraska (Big Ten Championships)
#1 Spencer Lee (Iowa), #6 Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), #9 Heinselman, #10 McKee, #13 Michael DeAugustino (Northwestern), #22 Cronin, #23 Shawver, #25 Cardani, #27 Moran, and Hildebrandt???