Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 5, 1987
By IAN RATNER
With supreme confidence and
exceptional wrestling skills,
Michigan wrestler Joe Pantaleo is
hoping to win a Big Ten title this
weekend in Madison.
"I seriously feel that I can beat
anyone in the country," said
For the affable sophomore,
currently ranked sixth in the
country at 158 pounds, wrestling
has been a family affair. As the
second youngest of nine brothers
and sisters, Joe has enjoyed
tremendous support and experience
throughout his ascent towards the
"I owe a lot to my family. It's
nice to come off the mat and see
them there. It's a great support
TWO OF Pantaleo's older
brothers are Division III national
champions at Olivet College in
Michigan. Pantaelo has prospered
under their guidance, winning the
Michigan state championship his
junior and senior seasons while
compiling an 86-0 record at
Roseville High School.
Standing 5"7, Pantaleo is one of
the shortest wrestlers in his weight
class. However, Pantaleo's work
ethic and love for the sport nullifies
his lack of height.
He said,"I'm quick for my size
and with all the work I put in, I
deserve to win."
Joe,'s hard work has earned him
the praise of head coach Dale Bahr.
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"He leads by example. Joe is
totally dedicated, exceptionally
skilled, and wants to win at all
costs," said Bahr.
PANTALEO hopes to wrestle
his way onto the 1988 Olympic
squad while redshirting next season
in order to train. But that decision
belongs to Bahr and,
understandably, he does not sound
too enthusiastic about the prospect
of losing a top wrestler for a
"Just because he wants to
redshirt doesn't mean we're going
to redshirt him," explained Bahr.
"Unless we find someone capable of
filling his position we can't afford
to do it."
For the moment, Joe's energy is
focused on the team's success.
"I can see us winning the
national title in two years," said
COACH BAHR concurred, "I
really think so too. John Fisher,
Doug Wyland, and Joe(all
sophomores) have great potential to
be national champions."
After a promising freshman
campaign, Pantaleo has been
almost unstoppable, losing only to
Iowa State's Stew Carter and
Wisconsin's Paul McShane.
Pantaleo has lost three times to
McShane this season, defeats which
he finds hard to swallow.
"It irks the hell out of me," said
Pantaleo, who will probably
wrestle McShane again in this
weekend's finals. "There's a definite
revenge factor. Three losses in one
season is hard to take."
Pantaleo's talk leaves little
doubt that this possible
confrontation will be war.
"It's one match at a time, but
McShane's in the back of my
head," said Pantaleo. "He's the type
of wrestler you like to hate. It's so
easy to get frustrated with him. But
I'm going to go out there relax,
enjoy it, and win."
confident that Michigan(9-6-1, 4-3-
1 in the Big Ten) will place high in
this weekend tournament despite the
tremendous adversity which the
team has encountered this season.
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... confident performer
Aside from the slew of injuries,
freshman Mike Murdoch was
critically injured in an automobile
accident. Although Pantaleo
conceedes that Murdoch's
hospitalization affected the squad,
he refuses to use it as an excuse for
his personal performance.
"I didn't let it affect me on the
mat, but I prayed for him when I
wasn't wrestling," said Pantaleo.
The grapplers will be seeking a
second place finish in the Big Ten
behind perennial champions Iowa.
Bahr said, "If we perform up to
our expectations we're capable of
second place. We have three guys
who can win their division."
Pantaleo went even further when
he said, "This year I can see three
guys, myself, Wyland, and Fisher
in the national finals."
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