USA Wrestling Michigan freshman Lo...

Michigan freshman Logan Massa looking to shake up the Big Ten this weekend

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | March 01, 2017, 4:17 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Tony Rotundo,

The 2016-17 NCAA wrestling season has been filled with headlines of freshmen shaking up weight classes all over the country. Some of the freshman sensations have been Nick Suriano of Penn State, Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State and Zahid Valencia of Arizona State. But be sure not to overlook Michigan’s Logan Massa as a freshman phenom.

Ranked No. 2 in the nation, Massa enters the Big Ten Championships this weekend as the 2-seed at 165 pounds with a 25-1 record.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother and two-time NCAA qualifier Taylor, Massa chose to pursue his collegiate career at Michigan. He stepped on campus in the fall of 2015 and decided to take a redshirt year.

“It was probably the best decision that the coaching staff and I have made,” Massa said. “It was to settle me in with school because classes are pretty tough here. I learned how to live on my own away from my family and create bonds with my teammates and the community around here. It really helped me grow a lot as a person on the mat and off the mat.”

In addition to adjusting to the demanding college schedule, Massa was afforded some unique experiences, competing at the Senior freestyle level.

He took fourth at the 2016 U.S. Open, behind freestyle studs Andrew Howe, Chris Perry and Nick Marable. The fourth-place finish earned him a spot in the 2016 Olympic Team Trials, where he collected two solid wins.

He felt confident and prepared moving into his first year of varsity action this past fall.

His season started with a tournament win at the Eastern Michigan Open. In December, he claimed the 165-pound title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. En route to the championship, Massa scored win over Anthony Valencia of Arizona State and an 8-7 victory against 2016 NCAA runner-up Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin in the finals.

Jordan and Massa met up again later in the season in a dual, with Massa getting another W over the third-ranked wrestler, 9-7.

“The first time I beat him, it gave me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season. He’s a great wrestler and a great competitor. He works really hard, too,” Massa said. “Going into that second match, I knew I had made some gains since the first time we wrestled so I was going to go out there and try to wrestle as hard as I could again. I know we’ll probably have another couple good battles in what’s left of the season with Big Tens and NCAAs.”

Massa and the Wolverines will dive into postseason action this weekend at the Big Ten Championships, hosted by Indiana University on March 4-5.

Massa’s weight is monstrous, featuring the top-four wrestlers in the country. As the No. 2 seed, he’ll sit on the opposite side of the bracket from two-time NCAA champion and top-ranked wrestler Isaiah Martinez of Illinois.

Martinez handed Massa his only loss of the year by way of a 3-1 decision in late-January in a dual meet in Champaign, Ill.

Should things follow suit, it’s possible the two will meet up in the Big Ten finals. Having already seen Martinez once and managing to keep a close match, Massa believes he’s ready for their next battle.

“I just have to believe in myself more,” Massa said. “The first time I wrestled Martinez, I gave him a little bit more respect than I needed to. I didn’t get to my offense, and I didn’t get to my ties and other things like that. I need to go out there and treat it like any other match and not stress over it.”

In addition to Martinez, the weight is littered with talent within the Big Ten Conference, including No. 3 Jordan, No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State, No. 11 Nick Wanzek of Minnesota and No. 17 Joey Gunther of Iowa, setting up an exciting tournament at 165 pounds.

The Big Ten Championships begin Saturday at 10 a.m. CT., and the finals are slated for Sunday 3 p.m. Preliminary action will be streamed on BTN Plus, while the finals will be broadcast on BTN.

With his confidence at a season-high, Massa said he’s ready to win one of the toughest conferences in the country as a freshman.

“It’s just another tournament. I’ll just go in there and have as much fun as I can and score as many points as I can,” Massa said. “Hopefully, I’ll come away with victories. I’m confident that I work really hard and I’m confident that I’m going to score a lot of points when I wrestle and that I can keep the other guy from scoring on me. I have some confidence going into this tournament, and I believe I can win it.”