The talent of the wrestling team was on display for fans Oct. 30 when the Wolverines held the intrasquad dual. For some grapplers it was a chance to practice in front of a crowd and for others a starting spot was on the line.
It was all that a coach could have hoped for in a scrimmage against his own team. There was a good crowd, the athletes are eager to get a good start on the season and two mats across the floor with a lot of action going on. All the while, head coach Greg Williams looked on to evaluate his team as the green team defeated the black team 26-20.
There is a lot to be looking for as the Wolverines hit the mat. The young guys were showing that they want a starting spot, and the more seasoned veterans were being dominant and patient with their moves, which is exactly what the fans saw.
“I was looking for intensity from our guys tonight and some of them still have ways to go,” Williams said. “Despite that, I liked that a number of our guys got into the positions that we want but overall we’ve got to get better at creating our shots because of the intensity we have throughout the match.”
One of the more compelling matches of the night was the battle in 197 lbs. David Prieto saw a lot of action last year as did Derek Thomas. Both are very talented wrestlers and faced off against each other. The battle went all three rounds with Thomas being the victor.
One of the biggest holes to fill for the young Wolverines is in the 149 lbs. weight class. The team has had Josh Wilson dominating that position for years. Wilson has graduated, though, so the search has begun to have that spot filled.
Trevor Willson, no relation to Josh Wilson, is looking to fill that void left by the two-time national tournament qualifier. Willson is a transfer from Arizona State and looked really good in his first action as a Wolverine.
“I was anxious to see how a couple of matches would turn out,” explained Williams. “I’m excited about what Derek Thomas can do this season after his win over David tonight. I was also looking forward to watching both Trevor Willson and Bracken Nipko, and I liked what I saw from both of them.”
The Wolverines have had some key injuries already this year. Senior Avery Garner (141) did not participate in the dual, except for some warm up drills. Garner placed second in last year’s conference tournament, just missing the national tournament. He is looking to add his name among those that are headed to the national stage this year. Garner should be ready to participate when the team heads to Central Michigan on Nov. 15.
The team now prepares for the Cowboy open on Nov. 2 and then heads to Colorado in the Colorado Mesa Open on Nov. 9