Notes and Quotes: Michigan at Big Ten Championships

March 9, 2014

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• Freshman Domenic Abounader's third-place performance at 184 pounds is the best Big Ten finish for a Wolverine rookie since fifth-year senior Eric Grajales claimed second in 2011.

• Abounader avenged two earlier season losses this weekend. He previously fell to Nebraska's T.J. Dudley, 8-6 SV, and to Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus, 12-5, during the Big Ten dual season.

• Abounader defeated three higher-ranked wrestlers: No. 8 Steinhaus, No. 10 Dudley and Ohio State's No. 11 Kenny Courts.

• Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (149), freshman Brian Murphy (157 pounds) and Abounader (184) all outplaced their seeds.

• Michigan posted a 9-4 record in second-day matches, earning bonus points in five.


Michigan Head Coach Joe McFarland
On the team effort ... "Obviously, we're disappointed in how we performed. As a team, we didn't wrestle well the first day. We came back and wrestled much better the second day, but we had already put ourselves in a huge hole. I think that three-week layoff hurt us a bit, because we were not in that competition groove that first day. We weren't as aggressive as we needed to be. I thought there were some big bright spots, but there were also some weights that just didn't perform as they are capable. We need a much better complete team effort."

On standout performers ... "We had some young kids wrestle really well. For Domenic Abounader to get third at that weight class is really impressive, beating two kids that he had lost to during the season. I thought Brian Murphy wrestled well, getting fourth at another tough weight class, and I thought Steve Dutton had a good tournament and was right in there. I think Steve can wrestle with anyone in the country, but he can't worry about pacing himself; he needs to just go out and win. In that match against (Chris) Dardanes, he just started too late."

On the preparation for the NCAA Championships ... "We'll continue to talk as a coaching staff and come up with a game plan. We're going to have some hard training between now and nationals. We need it. I think our guys got back into the competition groove, but I think we need some hard training for that last push between Big Tens and NCAAs."

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