Wolverines' Upset Bid Falls Short at No. 3 Minnesota
Dan Yates

Jan. 27, 2012

Site: Minneapolis, Minn. (Sports Pavilion)
Score: #3 Minnesota 23, #11 Michigan 15
Records: U-M (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten), Minnesota (9-2, 6-0 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Jan. 29 -- vs. Michigan State - Senior Day (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team won four in a row at the middleweights but let its upset bid slip away late, falling at No. 3 Minnesota, 23-15, on Friday evening (Jan. 27) at the Golden Gophers' Sports Pavilion.

After giving up the opening two matches, the Wolverines stormed to an eight-point advantage with their four straight wins, including a fall at 141 pounds, and carried a late lead in the 174-pound match. But a last-second takedown and victory by Minnesota's Logan Storley swung momentum to the Golden Gophers, who claimed the final four matches to steal back the dual.

After trading his own takedown and a reversal early in the third period at 174 pounds, fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS), ranked fifth in the latest InterMat poll, held onto a late two-point advantage, with riding time assured, in the waning moments of regulation when Storley scored off a restart with just four seconds remaining to force overtime. The Golden Gopher, ranked seventh, converted on a single leg 10 seconds into the sudden-victory frame to claim the match 7-5. The loss was only the second of the season for Zeerip.

Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) had put the Wolverines on the board with a quick first-period pin against Seth Lange at 141 pounds. Russell, ranked No. 1 in the nation, shot in deep on a single leg late in the opening frame and brought Lange down in a nearside cradle, rolling up the Gopher wrestler to end the bout at the 2:28 mark. It was Russell's second fall of the season. He improved to 21-1.

Junior/sophomore Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) won a wild one at 149 pounds, persevering through several extended scrambles to edge 11th-ranked Dylan Ness, 5-3. Grajales, ranked seventh, converted on takedowns in the first and third periods, finishing on a double leg in the latter to ice the match.

Junior/sophomore Brandon Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) also iced his match late to pick up a 6-4 decision over Alex Ortiz in a swing match at 157 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Zeerip escaped quickly before using a front headlock to shoot and score off a single leg midway through the frame. He gave up a reversal off a subsequent restart but converted on another takedown in the final 40 seconds of the match, shooting a single and finishing with a double to secure his second Big Ten dual win.

Junior/sophomore Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) accumulated more than four minutes of riding time en route to a dominant 7-2 decision over 14th-ranked Cody Yohn in the 165-pound contest. Yates stalemated an early Gopher shot before scoring on his first attempt, finishing on a single leg a minute into the first period and riding out the frame. Yates rode out the second period to lock up the extra point and after giving up a third-period single, scored on another himself in the closing seconds.

Minnesota followed the Wolverines' four straight wins with four of its own, earning bonus points with an injury default at 197 pounds. With the dual still within reach in the closing weight, senior/junior heavyweight Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) remained knotted up late against fourth-ranked Tony Nelson, before the Gopher wrestler countered Apland's late single-leg attempt to score the bout's lone takedown in the final 25 seconds and claim a 3-2 decision.

The Wolverines (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) will wrap up the home portion of their schedule on Sunday (Jan. 29), hosting intrastate rival Michigan State 2 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. Fans can purchase tickets for the meet in advance via the U-M Ticket Office.

#3 Minnesota 23, #10 Michigan 15
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score
125 -- #1 Zach Sanders (Minn) major dec. Grant Pizzo, 19-9 Minn, 4-0
133 -- #7 Chris Dardanes (Minn) dec. #18 Zac Stevens, 5-1 Minn, 7-0
141 -- #1 Kellen Russell (U-M) pinned Seth Lange, 2:28 Minn, 7-6
149 -- #7 Eric Grajales (U-M) dec. #11 Dylan Ness, 5-3 U-M, 9-7
157 -- Brandon Zeerip (U-M) dec. Alec Ortiz, 6-4 U-M, 12-7
165 -- #17 Dan Yates (U-M) dec. #14 Cody Yohn, 7-2 U-M, 15-7
174 -- #7 Logan Storley (Minn) dec. #5 Justin Zeerip, 7-5 SV U-M, 15-10
184 -- #8 Kevin Steinhaus (Minn) major dec. Hunter Collins, 14-5 U-M, 15-14
197 -- #6 Sonny Yohn (Minn) injury def. #15 Max Huntley, 3:18 Minn, 20-15
Hwt -- #4 Tony Nelson (Minn) dec. #11 Ben Apland, 3-2 Minn, 23-15


• With tonight's loss, Michigan fell to 30-29-2 in the all-time series against Minnesota.

• Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell has earned bonus points in 13 of his 21 wins this season.

• Junior/sophomore Dan Yates' win against Cody Yohn was his first in three career matches against the Golden Gopher wrestler. He lost to Yohn 10-6 and 5-0 in two meetings last season.

• Senior/junior Ben Apland's loss in the final bout snapped his nine-match winning streak.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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