Wolverines Utilize Bonus Points to Slam Indiana
Grant Pizzo

Jan. 13, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #11 Michigan 33, Indiana 6
Records: U-M (4-2, 3-1 Big Ten), Indiana (6-3, 0-3 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Jan. 22 -- vs. Central Michigan (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team won the first seven bouts and the finale while earning bonus points in half of the matches en route to a dominant 33-6 victory over Indiana on Friday evening (Jan. 13) in front of 605 fans at Cliff Keen Arena. Among the eight victories, the Wolverines posted a pin, two technical falls and two major decisions to improve to 3-1 in Big Ten Conference action.

Michigan carried a 22-0 advantage into the intermission break after earning bonus wins at four of the opening five weights. The lone Wolverine without an early bonus victory, junior/sophomore Grant Pizzo (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS), was just a point shy, securing an 8-1 decision over Zach Zimmer at 125 pounds. Pizzo converted on three takedowns -- one in each period -- and accumulated 3:05 in riding-time advantage.

Senior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS), ranked 17th in the latest InterMat poll, posted his third fall of the season against Joe Duca in the 133-pound match, finishing on a quick front headlock before using a high-leg turk for a five count and then the pin at 1:42.

Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) also ended his match early, cruising past Ryen Niemen, 16-1, on three takedowns and nine back points. Russell, ranked second at 141 pounds, converted two takedowns in the first period before using an arm bar and a half nelson to add a pair of three-point near falls in the final 45 seconds of the frame. He escaped immediately in the second, finished on a single leg and, with a high-leg turk, turned Niemen for another three points to end the bout at 3:59. Russell improved to 19-1 on the season.

Junior/sophomore Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) earned his second straight bonus win over Indiana's Taylor Walsh, who had previously dealt the Wolverine wrestler a season-opening loss, with a 12-4 major decision at 149 pounds. It was Walsh who struck first, converting on a first-period inside trip, but Grajales scrambled for a reversal late in the frame and put Walsh on his back for an additional three points at the buzzer. Grajales, ranked 11th, countered a shot for a quick takedown in the second before adding another reversal and another takedown -- off a headlock on the edge -- to close out the third period.

Junior/sophomore Brandon Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) rallied from a five-point deficit to claim a 25-12 major decision over Ryan Konz in the 157-pound match. Konz won an early scramble to earn his advantage, using a scissors around the head to get a takedown and three-point near fall. However, Zeerip responded with a pair of takedowns and three-point cradle to steal away a two-point lead after the opening frame. The Wolverine wrestler added six more takedowns in the remaining two periods and accumulated 2:26 in time advantage.

Fifth-year senior Dave Johnson (Jenison, Mich./Jenison HS) kept Michigan's bonus streak going after the intermission with an 18-2 technical fall over Preston Keiffer at 165 pounds. Johnson rallied after giving up the initial takedown, putting Keiffer on his back with a single leg of his own and earning five back points out of a crab ride. The Wolverine escaped quickly in the second, finished on a spin around and used consecutive three-point tilts to end the match at 4:20.

After sitting out the Wolverines' last dual with injury, fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) was victorious in his return at 174 pounds, using a first-period snap down and spin around to cruise to a 4-1 decision over Ryan LeBlanc. Zeerip, ranked fifth, added a second-period escape and 1:32 in riding time to improve to 16-1 on the season.

The Hoosiers won back-to-back matches at 184 and 197 pounds to put themselves on the board. Fourth-ranked Matt Powless rallied to narrowly claim the latter match, 5-3, over sophomore/freshman Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy). Huntley, ranked 15th, converted on a single leg in the opening 15 seconds and nearly finished another late in the first period, but Powless took control with a single of his own late in the second and rode the Wolverine for most of the third to earn an advantage point.

Senior/junior Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) capped the Wolverines' performance with a 6-2 decision over Adam Chalfant in the heavyweight bout, using a first-period bodylock and third-period single leg to cruise to his fourth straight Big Ten win.

Michigan (4-2, 3-1 Big Ten) will return to action on Sunday, Jan. 22, hosting intrastate rival Central Michigan for a 2 p.m. dual at Cliff Keen Arena. Fans can purchase tickets for the meet in advance via the U-M Ticket Office.

#11 Michigan 33, Indiana 6
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score
125 -- Grant Pizzo (U-M) dec. Zach Zimmer, 8-1 U-M, 3-0
133 -- #17 Zac Stevens (U-M) pinned Joe Duca, 1:42 U-M, 9-0
141 -- #2 Kellen Russell (U-M) tech. fall Ryen Nieman, 16-1 (3:59) U-M, 14-0
149 -- #11 Eric Grajales (U-M) major dec. Taylor Walsh, 12-4 U-M, 18-0
157 -- Brandon Zeerip (U-M) major dec. Ryan Konz, 25-12 U-M, 22-0
165 -- Dave Johnson (U-M) tech. fall Preston Keiffer, 18-2 (4:20) U-M, 27-0
174 -- #5 Justin Zeerip (U-M) dec. Ryan LeBlanc, 4-1 U-M, 30-0
184 -- Luke Sheridan (IU) dec. Hunter Collins, 31- U-M, 30-3
197 -- #4 Matt Powless (IU) dec. #15 Max Huntley, 5-3 U-M, 30-6
Hwt -- #15 Ben Apland (U-M) dec. Adam Chalfant, 6-2 U-M, 33-6

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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