The dual started off with an electrifying match of the redshirt phenom Jade Rauser (125 lbs.) vs. No.8 Josh Martinez.
Rauser took it to his opponent by striking first with a takedown in the first period and kept a one point lead going into the second period.
The following period was much of the same: a back and forth battle with each wrestler looking to edge his opponent. Rauser was able to get another explosive takedown to keep a one-point lead heading into the final period of the match.
The final period looked bleak for Rauser. After getting taken down, he fell behind by one point. He found himself fighting for position and either escaping for one point or reversing position to earn the victory, and time was running out. There needed to be an explosive burst of energy to get out and earn the points. With seconds closing on the match with all that he had, Rauser quickly got the reversal as time expired and won the match 6-5, upsetting the No. 8 grappler.
“It felt really good to get the win. He pinned me last time,” Rauser said. “I felt awesome during the match and just calm. I just went for the reversal and was able to get it.”
Josh Wilson (149) also had a very memorable match. Barring a granted medical redshirt year, this could have been his last match at home, and he went out in style.
The team had a slim three-point lead and were looking to create some space so that they could keep it rolling and roll on to victory. Wilson was a huge part of helping momentum swing in favor of the Wolverines.
Wilson came out really aggressive and took it to his opponent, coming out and getting an early takedown. Wilson got reversed and then got a reversal to ride out the first period ahead 4-2.
About halfway through the second, Wilson figured out his opponent and attacked his weaknesses. He kept getting fast takedowns over his opponent to widen the point deficit and won by a major decision 14-6.
Wilson was glad to have won this match, as it could have been his last.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling,” Wilson said. “You never really think it is going to come to an end. It’s really surreal. I’m glad we came out and beat a good team for my last match and we did well.”
After Wilson’s victory, the Wolverines were able to ride out the momentum, winning 4 of the last 5 matches to earn a dominant victory 23-9.
Head Coach Greg Williams couldn’t be prouder of his team as they now turn their attention towards the Western Wrestling Conference Tournament.
“Our guys went out and wrestled tonight. Air Force is a really good team and I’m proud of the way that all of our guys competed against them,” Williams said. “Overall this was a great momentum builder for us as we’ll now prepare for conference.”
This week proved to be a good one for Rauser, who had been out of competition due to illness as he earned the WWC wrestler of the week honors the following week and rose to No.18 in the recent round of the Coaches’ Poll.
The Wolverines will have two weeks to prepare for the conference tournament, where they will have a golden opportunity to qualify several wrestlers to the NCAA national tournament.