Pictured: Michigan’s Myles Amine (top) trying to turn Arizona State’s Josh Nummer (bottom) during an abbreviated dual meet in Austin, Texas, against Arizona State, on January 3, 2021. Picture courtesy of Michigan Wrestling.
The JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, hosted a clash of top collegiate wrestling where the No. 3 University of Michigan faced off against No. 6 Arizona State University on January 3. The dual was initially set to feature twelve All-Americans and two Olympians. However, due to COVID-19 developments within ASU’s program just hours before the dual, the match became a four-bout partial dual (125, 133, 141, 184).
— TheOpenMat (@theopenmat) January 3, 2022
The dual fell below the NCAA threshold for team scoring. Each match went towards the wrestler’s season record. Both the Sun Devils and the Wolverines took two bouts each.
For Arizona State head coach Zeke Jones, getting in a match with other top programs is crucial to building a competitive schedule and evaluating individual progress. His preseason goals included scheduling a dual against the best team in every conference, and Michigan is one of those teams.
“We like wrestling each other,” Jones said. “Each year, we mark it on our calendars, and they do too.”
The Sun Devils and the Wolverines have recent history. Last year, ASU took home a fourth-place trophy at the NCAA Championships, and the Maize and Blue left St. Louis empty-handed. In 2019, the last time the two schools went head-to-head, Michigan came out on top with a 23-12 victory.
Preparations and practice for the match were standard for the Sun Devils. They trained routinely and prepared for the Wolverines as a team and individuals.
“Whatever they do well individually at each weight, we have our guy ready to wrestle them,” Jones said. “Then the bad news of COVID-19 hit, and the dual was up in the air.”
“Initially, I thought the dual was going to get cancelled,” Arizona State 125-pounder Brandon Courtney said. “Then, all of a sudden, they said that we were going to have four matches, so I had to switch up my mentality.”
With the cancellation of many bouts, the highly anticipated heavyweight matchup between ASU’s No. 3 Cohlton Shultz and Michigan’s No. 2 Mason Parris will have to wait until the NCAA Championships.
The night opened with then-No.4 Brandon Courtney facing off against then-No. 17 Jack Medley at 125 pounds. Courtney jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a double-leg takedown. However, Medley’s defensive strategy proved difficult for Courtney to score against. In the third period, Medley was able to pull it back to 5-4 after scoring from a takedown and a couple of escapes. Thanks to a pair of early takedowns and impressive last-second defense, though, Courtney secured the first win for the Maroon and Gold, 5-4, keeping his undefeated streak alive.
“I got a little lazy, but a dub is a dub,” Courtney said after the match. “One point is a win, and I’m walking away with a smile on my face.”
The dual continued at the 133 where then-No. 4 Michael McGee throttled then-No. 9 Dylan Ragusin. McGee was the aggressor all bout. The Sun Devil recorded three takedowns and significant riding time. Additionally, McGee’s single-leg defense and tilts from the top were excellent. He would give ASU its second win of the night with a 10-0 major decision over Ragusin. He also made a statement that he could be a title contender in March.
"Freight train double leg"
Stay out his way! 💥💥💥 pic.twitter.com/nZWiaro6tk
— Sun Devil Wrestling (@ASUWrestling) January 4, 2022
“When you start at 25 and 33 with Courtney and McGee, you’ve got a lot of confidence at the start of a dual,” Jones said. “I was very pleased with their performances.”
At 141, fans saw ASU freshman Julian Chlebove taking on No. 2, Olympian Stevan Micic. In his season dual-meet debut and first collegiate match since the 2019 NCAA Championships, Micic attacked from the get-go. He went for Chlebove’s legs and struck early, giving himself a comfortable lead to work with. He opened the match and remained in control with three single-leg takedowns. Chlebove clawed back into the match towards the end after running down Micic. The Sun Devil tallied a few escapes and was just a takedown from pushing overtime. An 8-6 result for Micic saw the Wolverines pick up its first win of the night.
“Julian is one of the best wrestlers in the country, and we believed he could beat Stevan,” Jones said post-match. “I know he’d like to wrestle that one again.”
The night ended with a tech fall that saw Olympic bronze medalist and four-time Michigan All-American No. 2 Miles Amine tech true freshman Josh Nummer 17-2, at 184. Amine, making his season dual-meet debut, was in control from all three positions and scored takedown after takedown. The highlight of the bout included a four-point nearfall at the 4:28 mark. The 2020 Olympic medalist showed why he’s one of the best in NCAA wrestling during this bout.
Myles Amine puts on a clinic locking up a 17-2 victory in the final bout of the evening. pic.twitter.com/KCJ1t61kA1
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) January 4, 2022
Per Micropia County regulations, all of Arizona State’s wrestlers were required to wrestle in a face mask, and for many, it was their first time.
“I don’t know how people did that, mainly the high schoolers,” Courtney said.
Jones knows that moving forward, COVID-19 could continue to be a problem for college wrestling, but he noted it’s not something that’s in anyone’s control; therefore, it’s not something worth worrying about.
Next up on the schedule for ASU was supposed to be a a home dual on January 9 against No.18 Iowa State. Jones and his wrestlers are looking forward to being at home after a long road stretch.
That dual has now been cancelled.
Our dual against Iowa State has been canceled. pic.twitter.com/fVtsofUK3c
— Sun Devil Wrestling (@ASUWrestling) January 5, 2022
For Courtney, wrestling in front of the Sun Devil faithful is “electrifying and awesome.” His coach feels the same way.
“I always want to wrestle at home,” Jones said. “We are just excited to compete against a good team, and we will be ready to wrestle.”
As for the Wolverines January 14, is a start in Big Ten Conference, where they take on rivals No. 7 Ohio State in Columbus.
125 – No. 4 Brandon Courtney (ASU) dec. No. 20 Jack Medley, 5-4
133 – No. 4 Michael McGee (ASU) major dec. No. 9 Dylan Ragusin, 10-0
141 – No. 4 Stevan Micic (U-M) dec. Julian Chlebove, 8-6
184 – No. 2 Myles Anime (U-M) tech. fall Josh Nummer, 17-2 (4:28)
Click here to watch the entire event replay on FloWrestling.