Wolverines Drop Home Dual Meet to No. 7 Illinois
Max Huntley

Jan. 8, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #7 Illinois 31, #8 Michigan 9
Records: U-M (3-2, 2-1 Big Ten), Illinois (10-1, 2-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Jan. 13 -- vs. Indiana (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team dropped its first Big Ten Conference dual of the season, falling to No. 7 Illinois, 31-9, on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 8) in front of 667 fans at Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines were doomed by bonus points, giving up three pins and a major decision, while claiming just three individual wins of their own.

Illinois jumped to an early 15-point advantage after claiming a narrow decision at 165 pounds, the dual's opening weight, and earning back-to-back falls at 184 and 197 pounds. Conrad Polz claimed the first bout, using a late takedown to edge junior/sophomore Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS), 3-1. Yates rode for time in the second period but lost his advantage early in the third. Polz countered a double-leg shot to score the match's lone takedown midway through the final frame.

Sophomore/freshman Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy) put the Wolverines on the board with a 5-4 decision over Mario Gonzalez at 197 pounds. Huntley converted on a pair of takedowns, countering Illini shots both times, in the first and third periods and after giving up a late escape, held on to improve to 3-0 in Big Ten action.

Senior/junior Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) needed only a second-period escape to claim a 1-0 decision over Pat Walker in the heavyweight contest. Apland escaped immediately in the second before Walker chose neutral to start to third. Neither wrestler committed to a shot in the last frame. Apland improved to 3-0 in Big Ten duals.

The Fighting Illini's ranked lowerweights claimed consecutive matches after the intermission, including a major decision at 125 pounds. Senior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS) knotted up the 133-pound match late in the third against No. 5-ranked B.J. Futrell but gave up a last-second escape to fall 9-8. Futrell built an early lead on a pair of first-period double legs and added a third in the middle frame before Stevens cut the gap to one on an ankle pick on the edge of the mat early in the third. He let Futrell go on the subsequent restart and quickly finished on a driving single leg to even the score. The Illini wrestler got away soon after the restart and avoided Steven's attacks in the waning seconds.

Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) earned Michigan's final win with a 6-4 decision over Daryl Thomas at 141 pounds. Russell converted a pair of first-period takedowns and added a quick escape in the second to build a quick lead, but Thomas cut the margin in the third on a late ankle pick. Russell escaped to close the match; he improved to 18-1 on the season.

Michigan will return to action on Friday (Jan. 13), hosting Indiana for a 7 p.m. dual at Cliff Keen Arena. Before the dual, the Wolverines will host a free wrestling clinic from 5-6 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. Fans can purchase tickets for the meet in advance via the U-M Ticket Office.

#7 Illinois 31, #8 Michigan 9
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score
165 -- Conrad Polz (UI) dec. #18 Dan Yates, 3-1 UI, 3-0
174 -- Dan Stelter (IU) pinned Dave Johnson, 4:32 UI, 9-0
184 -- Tony Dallago (UI) pinned Hunter Collins, 2:10 UI, 15-0
197 -- #18 Max Huntley (U-M) dec. Mario Gonzalez, 5-4 UI, 15-3
Hwt -- #15 Ben Apland (U-M) dec. Pat Walker, 1-0 UI, 15-6
125 -- #5 Jesse Delgado (UI) major dec. Grant Pizzo, 18-8 UI, 19-6
133 -- #5 B.J. Futrell (UI) dec. #17 Zac Stevens, 9-8 UI, 22-6
141 -- #2 Kellen Russell (U-M) dec. Daryl Thomas, 6-4 UI, 22-9
149 -- #14 Eric Terrazas (UI) dec. #4 Eric Grajales, 6-3 UI, 25-9
157 -- Jackson Morse (UI) pinned Brandon Zeerip, 4:07 UI, 31-9

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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