Wolverines Sit in Sixth at Big Tens with Nine Alive
Dan Yates

March 9, 2013

Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Event: Big Ten Championships (Day 1 of 2)
U-M Team Standing: 6th Place of 12 Teams (61 points) after Day 1
Next U-M Event: Sunday, March 10 -- at Big Ten Championships - Day 2 (Champaign, Ill.), 11:30 a.m. CDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- With nine individuals alive in the consolation bracket, the University of Michigan wrestling team sits in sixth place after the first day of competition at the Big Ten Conference Championships on Saturday (March 9) at Illinois' Assembly Hall. Five Wolverines are already guaranteed to outplace their tournament seeds, while five have already locked up an automatic-qualifying bid to the NCAA Championships.

Michigan has five wrestlers in the consolation semifinals, including senior/junior Sean Boyle (Lowell, Mass./Blair Academy), freshman Taylor Massa (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns HS) and senior/junior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS), who all dropped semifinal matches to higher-seeded opponents to slide into the wrestlebacks.

Boyle was pinned during of a wild scramble late in the first period of his 125-pound semifinal against Iowa's top-seeded Matt McDonough. It was the second of two extended scrambles early in the bout, and with Boyle already fighting off his back, McDonough gained control to end the match at the 2:46 mark. The Wolverine junior, seeded fourth, used a pair of takedowns to edge Ohio State's fifth-seeded Nikko Triggas, 4-2, in the morning quarterfinals. He took the early advantage on a late first-period single leg, but Triggas evened the score with second-period rideout and quick escape in the third. Boyle scored again in the third, finishing on another single and riding off Triggas' time advantage before giving up a late escape. It is Boyle's second win over the Buckeye wrestler this semester.

Massa and Yates dropped decision losses in 165- and 174-pound semifinal rounds, respectively.

Massa, seeded third, lost a 7-1 decision to Illinois' second-seeded Conrad Polz -- his second loss to Polz this season. He gave up takedowns in the first and second periods and was ridden for 1:21. The Wolverine rookie took advantage of a quick start to defeat Northwestern's sixth-seeded Pierce Harger, 6-2, in the quarterfinal round. He scored on takedowns in the first and second periods and despite getting ridden out in the third, ended the bout with 1:02 in time advantage.

Yates, who knocked off Minnesota's top-seeded Logan Storley in the quarterfinals, suffered a 5-1 decision loss to Penn State's fourth-seeded Matt Brown in the semifinals on PSU takedowns in the second and third periods. His 3-2 win over Storley was one of two in the morning session. Yates converted on a single-leg shot early in the first period and never allowed Storley in deep on his legs through the remainder of the match. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods and little else.

Junior/sophomore Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy) and fifth-year senior Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) avenged earlier-season losses in quick succession, both advancing to the consolation semifinals to cap the day for the Wolverines.

Huntley used a big first period, scoring a takedown and three near-fall points, to edge Purdue's fifth-seeded Braden Atwood, 7-3, in the 197-pound wrestlebacks. The Wolverine sophomore went 3-1 on the day, adding bonus points with a 14-4 major decision over Michigan State's Luke Jones. Huntley scored four takedowns, two back points and 2:15 in time advantage to cruise past Jones.

Apland, who also posted a 3-1 record, earned bonus points in his final bout of the evening, pinning Michigan State's fifth-seeded Mike McClure at the 2:23 mark of his heavyweight consolation match. Apland used a snap down and spin to secure the quick takedown before turking McClure to his back for his fourth fall of the campaign.

Four additional Wolverines, including unseeded freshman Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) and junior/sophomore Chris Heald (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS), will wrestle in their respective weight class' seventh-place matches after suffering a pair of losses on the day.

Bruno posted a 2-2 record at 133 pounds to lock up at least eighth place in his Big Ten Championships debut. In his pigtail victory, Bruno avenged an earlier-season loss, using a third-period rideout and late two-point near fall to rally past Nebraska's eighth-seeded Shawn Nagel, 5-3. He also defeated Michigan State's Brandon Fifield, 8-2, on a pair of takedowns and two back points.

Heald earned a sizable 8-2 decision over Michigan State's fourth-seeded John Rizqallah in the 184-pound wrestlebacks to stay alive in the tournament. The Wolverine sophomore struck first, scoring on a double leg on the edge early in the first. The wrestlers traded reversals late in the frame, and carrying a two-point lead into the third, Heald caught Rizqallah in scramble early in the period, holding him in a pinning situation for most of period to tack on three back points late.

After dropping his first-round match to top-seeded Hunter Stieber of Ohio State, sophomore/freshman Camryn Jackson (Lansing, Mich./Eastern HS) rolled to a dominant 17-8 major decision over Illinois' Steve Rodrigues, scoring eight takedowns in the match, including six in the third period. Jackson carried the momentum into his next wrestleback match, where he took down Penn State's fourth-seeded Bryan Pearsall down three times in the first period. The Nittany Lion wrestler rallied, however, from the top position, cradling Jackson four times en route 11 back points and a 19-11 victory.

Senior/junior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), the top seed at 149 pounds, went 1-2 on the day, earning bonus points with a 16-4 major decision over Indiana's Preston Keiffer before falling to Ohio State's Ian Paddock and Penn State's Andrew Alton. In the former bout -- a 7-4 loss -- Grajales gave up takedowns out of flurries in the first and second periods with eighth-seeded Paddock countering a Michigan headlock attempt in the latter. He gave up six takedowns to fifth-seeded Alton, including several on counter attacks, to lose 14-8.

Michigan will wrap up action at the Big Ten Championships tomorrow (Sunday, March 10). The third session is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. CDT, while the finals will start at 1:30 p.m. and be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

Team Standings (After Day 1)

 1. Penn State     123
 2. Minnesota      112.5
 3. Iowa           109
 4. Ohio State      92
 5. Illinois        73.5
 6. MICHIGAN        61
 7. Nebraska        52
 8. Northwestern    50
 9. Purdue          28
10. Indiana         26.5
11. Wisconsin       26
12. Michigan State  17

Michigan Results (Day 1)
Numbers listed are tournament seedings

125 pounds -- #4 Sean Boyle
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - dec. #5 Nikko Triggas (Ohio State), 4-2
Semifinals - pinned by #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa), 2:46
Consolations - vs. #7 David Thorn (Minnesota)

133 pounds - Rossi Bruno
First Round - dec. #8 Shawn Nagel (Nebraska), 5-3
Quarterfinals - pinned by #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State), 1:30
Consolations - dec. Brandon Fifield (Michigan State), 8-2
Consolations - major dec. by #5 Daryl Thomas (Illinois), 13-5
Seventh Place - vs. #8 Shawn Nagel (Nebraska)

141 pounds - #8 Camryn Jackson
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - major dec. by #1 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State), 10-2
Consolations - major dec. Steven Rodrigues (Illinois), 17-8
Consolations - major dec. by #4 Bryan Pearsall (Penn State), 19-11
Seventh Place - vs. Tom Kelliher (Wisconson)

149 pounds - #1 Eric Grajales
First Round - major dec. Preston Kieffer (Indiana), 16-4
Quarterfinals - dec. by #8 Ian Paddock (Ohio State), 7-4
Consolations - dec. by #5 Andrew Alton (Penn State), 14-8
Seventh Place - vs. #6 Caleb Ervin (Illinois)

157 pounds - Collin Zeerip
First Round - pinned by #1 Derek St. John (Iowa), 4:08
Consolations - dec. by #7 Ryan Watts (Michigan State), 7-4
Eliminated with a 0-2 record

165 pounds - #3 Taylor Massa
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - dec. #6 Pierce Harger (Northwestern), 6-2
Semifinals - dec. by #2 Conrad Polz (Illinois), 7-1
Consolations - vs. #5 Cody Yohn (Minnesota)

174 pounds - #8 Dan Yates
First Round - dec. #9 Scott Liegel (Wisconsin), 6-4
Quarterfinals - dec. #1 Logan Storley (Minnesota), 3-2
Semifinals - dec. by #5 Matt Brown (Penn State), 5-1
Consolations - vs. #3 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska)

184 pounds - Chris Heald
First Round - dec. by #3 Josh Ihnen (Nebraska), 7-5
Consolations - #4 John Rizqallah (Michigan State), 8-2
Consolations - dec. by #8 C.J. Mangrum (Ohio State), 8-4
Seventh Place - vs. #7 Luke Sheridan (Indiana)

197 pounds - #8 Max Huntley
First Round - dec. #9 Alex Polizzi (Northwestern), 7-3
Quarterfinals - pinned by #1 Quentin Wright (Penn State), 1:20
Consolations - major dec. #10 Luke Jones (Michigan State), 14-4
Consolations - dec. #5 Braden Atwood (Purdue), 7-3
Consolations - vs. #6 Nathan Burak (Iowa)

Heavyweight - #8 Ben Apland
First Round - dec. #9 Spencer Johnson (Nebraska), 8-2
Quarterfinals - dec. by #1 Tony Nelson (Minnesota), 4-0
Consolations - vs. #10 Kosta Karageorge (Ohio State), 7-0
Consolations - pinned #5 Mike McClure (Michigan State), 2:23
Consolations - vs. #3 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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