Wolverines Earn Seven Placewinners at Big Ten Championships
Domenic Abounader

March 9, 2014

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Site: Madison, Wis. (Kohl Center)
Event: Big Ten Championships (Day 2 of 2)
U-M Team Standing: 8th Place of 12 Teams (71.5 points)
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sat., March 20-22 -- at NCAA Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Michigan wrestling team placed seven individuals en route to eighth place (71.5 points) on the second and final day at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday (March 9) in front of 10,011 fans at Wisconsin's Kohl Center. The Wolverines also earned six automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.

Freshman Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, Ohio/St. Edward HS), seeded fifth at 184 pounds, avenged an earlier season loss to Minnesota's second-seeded Kevin Steinhaus in his final bout, defeating the two-time NCAA All-American, 6-4, to claim third place in his Big Ten tournament debut. He struck early on a go-behind in first period before adding near-fall points on an arm bar in the second. Steinhaus cut the gap with a takedown late in the third but could not score again as Abounader held on for the upset win.

The Wolverine rookie also knocked off Ohio State's sixth-seeded Kenny Courts, 7-0, in the consolation semifinal round, scoring the same five-point move that earned him the dual win over the Buckeye earlier this season. Courts shot in on a low single midway through the second, and Abounader scrambled out, catching Courts on his back in a scissors position. He rode out the third period to add a point for his 1:53 time advantage.

Michigan had three other wrestlers drop their third-place contests, including senior/junior Steve Dutton (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point HS) and freshman Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS), who lost overtime heartbreakers at 141 and 157 pounds, respectively.

Dutton, seeded fourth at 141 pounds, used a late third-period takedown and subsequent rideout to even the score against Minnesota's third-seeded Chris Dardanes at six apiece, but he could not escape in the second of two 30-second tiebreakers and lost, 7-6. Dutton picked up a first-period pin in his consolation semifinal against Illinois' seventh-seeded Steven Rodrigues, taking the Illini wrestler feet to back with a double leg and sticking him at 2:21.

Murphy, seeded eighth at 157 pounds, dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to Wisconsin's top-seeded Isaac Jordan in a rematch of his first-round contest. After a scoreless first period and little more than escapes in the second and third, Murphy shot in on a double-leg attempt early in overtime, but Jordan countered it to earn the takedown midway through the sudden-victory frame. Murphy earned bonus points with a forfeit win in the consolations semifinals.

Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), seeded fifth at 149 pounds, also split his Sunday matches to settle for fourth place. He fell to Minnesota's second-seeded Nick Dardanes, 12-5, after giving up three first-period takedowns. Grajales cruised to a 12-2 major decision over Penn State's seventh-seeded James English in the morning consolation semifinals, scoring two takedowns, a reversal and five back points. He hit a five-point headlock in the final 10 seconds to seal up the bonus point.

The Wolverines claimed two of their three seventh-place matches, earning victories from sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS) and fifth-year senior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) at 125 and 165 pounds, respectively. Youtsey used 1:51 of riding-time advantage to edge Purdue's seventh-seeded Camden Eppert, 2-1. He could not finish on several scoring opportunities in the first period but rode Eppert for nearly the entire third period to claim his deciding time advantage.

Yates took advantage of an early start against Indiana's Ryan LeBlanc in the 165-pound contest, winning 4-0 after a quick first-period takedown and 2:02 of riding-time advantage. Fellow Hesperia product senior/junior Collin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) dropped a 6-2 decision to Ohio State's sixth-seeded Mark Martin to settle for eighth place at 174 pounds.

Upon the conclusion of the seventh-place contests, 133 pounds and heavyweight were wrestled out to ninth place for NCAA qualifying purposes. Freshman heavyweight Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) used a first-period hop toss to pin Nebraska's Collin Jensen at 1:24 and claim the conference's automatic bid to NCAAs. Sophomore Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) cruised to a 10-1 major decision over Nebraska's Shawn Nagel, scoring a takedown and seven back points to take ninth at 133. He is one spot out of the conference's automatic-qualifying allotment, and like Youtsey, will look for an at-large selection for the NCAA tournament.

The Wolverines will take a two-week break to prepare for the NCAA Championships, scheduled for March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Michigan will send at least six wrestlers (Dutton, Grajales, Murphy, Yates, Abounader, Coon) to the national event and have an opportunity to add another when wildcards are announced on Wednesday (March 12).

Final Team Standings

 1. Penn State         140.5
 2. Iowa               135
 3. Minnesota          114.5
 4. Ohio State          86.5
 5. Nebraska            79
 6. Illinois            78.5
 7. Wisconsin           73
 8. MICHIGAN            71.5
 9. Northwestern        58
10. Indiana             37
11. Purdue              34.5
12. Michigan State      21.5

Michigan Results (Day 2)
Numbers listed are tournament seedings

125 pounds -- #5 Conor Youtsey
Seventh Place - vs. Camden Eppert (Purdue), 2-1
Finished in seventh place with 3-2 record

141 pounds -- #4 Steve Dutton
Consolations - pinned #7 Steven Rodrigues (Illinois), 2:21
Third Place - dec. by #3 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), 7-6 TB
Finished in fourth place with a 2-2 record

149 pounds -- #5 Eric Grajales
Consolations - major dec. #7 James English (Penn State), 12-2
Third Place - dec. by #2 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), 12-5
Finished in fourth place with a 2-2 record

157 pounds -- #8 Brian Murphy
Consolations - won by forfeit #3 Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
Third Place - dec. by #1 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin), 3-1 SV
Finished in fourth place with a 4-2 record

165 pounds -- #4 Dan Yates
Seventh Place - vs. #7 Ryan Leblanc (Indiana), 4-0
Finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record

174 pounds -- #8 Collin Zeerip
Seventh Place - dec. by #6 Mark Martin (Ohio State), 6-2
Finished in eighth place with a 2-3 record

184 pounds -- #5 Domenic Abounader
Consolations - dec. #6 Kenny Courts (Ohio State), 7-0
Third Place - dec. #2 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), 6-4
Finished in third place with a 4-1 record

Ninth-Place Matches
133: Rossi Bruno (U-M) major dec. Shawn Nagel (Neb), 10-1
Hwt: Adam Coon (U-M) pinned Collin Jensen (Neb), 1:24

Day 1 Results

Contact: Leah Howard

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