March 10, 2013
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Event: Big Ten Championships (Day 2 of 2)
U-M Team Standing: 6th Place of 12 Teams (75 points)
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sat., March 21-23 -- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Michigan wrestling team placed nine individuals among their respective weight classes' top seven to claim sixth place (75 points) at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday afternoon (March 10) at Illinois' Assembly Hall. With their performances, seven Wolverines also earned automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA Championships.
Senior/junior Sean Boyle (Lowell, Mass./Blair Academy) headlined Michigan's individual placewinners with a fourth-place finish at 125 pounds, matching his best finish at the conference tournament. Boyle, seeded fourth, dropped a close 4-1 decision to Penn State's second-seeded Nico Megaludis in the third-place contest. After a scoreless first period, Megaludis took advantage of a scramble midway through the second to score the bout's only offensive points.
Boyle earned a 4-2 decision over Minnesota's seventh-seeded David Thorn in the morning consolation semifinals. The Wolverine wrestler finished on a single leg midway through the first period, riding for nearly a minute before allowing a late escape, to take control in the bout. He had another takedown waved off in the second but earned his riding-time point in the third to pad his final advantage.
Freshman Taylor Massa (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns HS) took fifth place in his Big Ten Championships debut, capping his tournament performance with a 17-0 technical fall over Northwestern's sixth-seeded Pierce Harger in the fifth-place bout. He scored three takedowns -- one in each period -- and turned the Wildcat wrestler three times for seven points -- the latter ended the bout at the 6:07 mark. It was his third win over Harger this season -- second technical fall and second of the weekend.
Massa, seeded third, dropped a narrow 5-3 decision to Minnesota's fifth-seeded Cody Yohn in the morning consolation semifinals, giving up a counter takedown on the edge in the second period and a subsequent two-point near fall. Massa earned two back points of his own in the third but, still down a point, let Yohn go and could not convert another attack.
Senior/junior captain Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS), junior/sophomore Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy) and fifth-year senior Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) all dropped both of their wrestleback matches to finish in sixth place at 174 and 197 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
Yates, seeded eighth at 174 pounds, narrowly lost to Ohio State's fourth-seeded Nick Heflin in the placing match, giving up takedowns in the first and second periods to fall 5-3. He got in on a couple shots of his own, including a deep late in the second but ran out of time at the buzzer.
Huntley, seeded eighth at 197 pounds, dropped a close 5-3 decision to Iowa's sixth-seeded Nathan Burak in the consolation semifinals on takedowns in the first and second periods. He was pinned by Ohio State's Andrew Campolattano in the fifth-place contest.
Apland, seeded eighth at heavyweight, lost a 4-0 decision to Wisconsin's third-seeded Connor Medbery in the consolation semifinals on a Medbery double-leg midway through the first period. He fell to Indiana's sixth-seeded Adam Chalfant in the fifth-place match.
The Wolverines swept their four seventh-place matches, earning two pins and two decisions from unseeded wrestlers. With Nebraska closing the gap in the team scoring after the consolation semifinals, Michigan's four straight wins reestablished a comfortable cushion.
Freshman Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), unseeded at 133 pounds, earned his second win over Nebraska's Shawn Nagel, using takedowns early and late to win 5-2 and earn his weight's final automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Championships. Bruno converted on a single leg early in the first period and rode out the frame. He lost his riding-time advantage before escaping in the second and iced the match with a late takedown in the third.
Jackson overcame a significant early deficit against Wisconsin's Tom Kelliher after he was caught in a first-period cradle -- while driving through a single leg -- and put on his back for five points. The Wolverine wrestler started in neutral during the second and was on another single leg when Kelliher tied up, looking for another cradle opportunity. Jackson drove him forward and straight to his back, quickly earning the fall at the 3:25 mark.
Grajales used a first-period cradle of his own to secure his fall against Illinois' Caleb Ervin, ending the bout at 2:40. Ervin shot in to initiate an extended scramble midway through the period, from which Grajales cradled up to similarly earn a quick call. The pin was Grajales' fourth of the season.
Junior/sophomore Chris Heald (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS), unseeded at 184 pounds, used an overtime takedown to edge Indiana's seventh-seeded Luke Sheridan, 3-1. The wrestlers traded only escapes in regulation, but Heald pressed the action, drawing a third-period stall warning on Sheridan. The Wolverine wrestler shot in on a double leg midway through the extra frame, driving it across the mat to finish on the edge. It was the second dual loss that Heald avenged this weekend.
The Wolverines will take a two-week break to prepare for the NCAA Championships, scheduled for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa. Michigan will send at least seven wrestlers to the national event and have an opportunity to add another when wild cards are announced on Wednesday (March 13).
Final Team Standings
1. Penn State 151 2. Minnesota 139 3. Iowa 133.5 4. Ohio State 109.5 5. Illinois 85.5 6. MICHIGAN 75 7. Nebraska 61 8. Northwestern 56 9. Purdue 38 10. Wisconsin 37 11. Indiana 30.5 12. Michigan State 22
Michigan Results (Day 2)
Numbers listed are tournament seedings
125 pounds -- #4 Sean Boyle
Consolations - dec. #7 David Thorn (Minnesota), 4-2
Third Place - dec. by #2 Nico Megaludis (Penn State), 4-1
Finished in fourth place with a 2-2 record
133 pounds - Rossi Bruno
Seventh Place - dec. #8 Shawn Nagel (Nebraska), 5-2
Finished in seventh place with a 3-2 record
141 pounds - #8 Camryn Jackson
Seventh Place - pinned Tom Kelliher (Wisconsin), 3:25
Finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record
149 pounds - #1 Eric Grajales
Seventh Place - pinned #6 Caleb Ervin (Illinois), 2:40
Finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record
165 pounds - #3 Taylor Massa
Consolations - dec. by #5 Cody Yohn (Minnesota), 5-3
Fifth Place - tech. fall #3 Pierce Harger (Northwestern), 17-0 (6:07)
Finished in fifth place with a 2-2 record
174 pounds - #8 Dan Yates
Consolations - major dec. by #3 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska), 10-1
Fifth Place - dec. by #4 Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 5-3
Finished in sixth place with a 2-3 record
184 pounds - Chris Heald
Seventh Place - dec. #7 Luke Sheridan (Indiana), 3-1 SV
Finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record
197 pounds - #8 Max Huntley
Consolations - dec. by #6 Nathan Burak (Iowa), 5-3
Fifth Place - pinned by #4 Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), 1:31
Finished in sixth place with a 3-2 record
Heavyweight - #8 Ben Apland
Consolations - dec. by #3 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 4-0
Fifth Place - major dec. by #6 Adam Chalfant (Ohio State), 16-6
Finished in sixth place with a 3-3 record
N O T E S
Michigan's nine individual Big Ten placewinners was the program's most since placing nine at the 2006 conference tournament.
The Wolverines had seven wrestlers who matched or outplaced their Big Ten seed.
Michigan wrestlers earned eight individual wins over opponents who had previously beaten them earlier this season. The Wolverines also outplaced three schools who handed them Big Ten dual losses.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Assistant Coach Donny Pritzlaff
On the Wolverines' sixth-place team finish ... "I think they wrestled very solid yesterday with a lot of effort, and while I think there was a little bit of a letdown today from a few guys, we are taking quite a few positives away. Only two guys didn't wrestle to their seed. We turned around a lot of matches over the weekend. That's good to see for your program. They were prepared, they knew that they were prepared, and they wrestled with a lot more confidence. Sixth place isn't the standard of our program, but it is a step in the right direction. The guys are starting to believe more, and I think they're starting to see that what they're doing is paying off. That's important for them to see the benefit of all the hard work."
On Sean Boyle's tournament ... "This is the most consistent we've seen him this year. Outside of that semifinal with Iowa, where he just got in a bad position, he wrestled really solid. He lost for third/fourth, but he wrestled a really good match. He hadn't wrestled that kid before, so I think it was important for him to get his hands on that PSU kid. He was our most consistent guy this weekend with the way he warmed up, the way he prepared and his mindset going into the matches. We could tell that he was ready."
On Rossi Bruno qualifying for NCAAs ... "Rossi [Bruno] fought his way into the seventh-place match and beat a guy twice who had pinned him earlier in the year. That's a huge turnaround. To beat a guy twice in the same event is difficult. We've seen great things from Rossi over the last few weeks. He still has a huge learning curve. He can get a lot better, and his upside is so much higher than where he is now. Getting him to the NCAAs was a goal for our staff and for him, and now he's there and the goals change."
On Chris Heald taking seventh place at 184 pounds ... "Chris did a great job. He beat two guys that he lost to during the year. He's starting to get more confident. He's young, he's experienced, but he's really battled a lot. No one around the Big Ten would have expected him to place today, but then he wins in overtime against a guy who pinned him. He did an excellent job."
U-M Senior/Junior Sean Boyle
On his tournament performance ... "I think it was a good tournament for me. Similar to my sophomore year, I was a little inconsistent throughout the year, and then I turned it on for the Big Ten and NCAA tournament. I'm hoping I'll continue the trend in two weeks at NCAAs. It was a solid tournament. I think I could have done a little better in that last match, maybe could have turned that around. But I feel good about this."
On bouncing back from a tough end to the dual season ... "I do feel like I got back on track a little. It gives me good confidence going into the NCAAs. Throughout the year, even as I was a little inconsistent, I kept telling myself that I knew I could perform when it mattered at the end. I do a good job of getting up for those. I never really lost confidence during the year, but it feels good to wrestle well here and get a little momentum going."
U-M Freshman Rossi Bruno
On his tournament performance ... "I feel like it went pretty well. Some matches didn't go the way I wanted them to, but at the same time, I beat kid twice that I got pinned by earlier in the season. So, I definitely feel like I'm making progress. Qualifying for NCAAs was definitely an accomplishment for me. It was one of my goals that I wrote down at the beginning of the year. Getting thrown into the Big Ten as a true freshman has been tough. I lost a lot of matches -- more than I had in years -- but I'm happy to have something to show for it."
On the Wolverines' team effort ... "I think we came ready to wrestle this weekend. We had seven guys outplace their seeds, and that's important. All year, the coaches have been preaching that we need to outwork, outhustle and being mentally tougher than the other guy. That's what it comes down to against guys who outsiders might not think you can beat. That's what it takes to win those matches."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423