March 17, 2012
Site: St. Louis, Mo. (Scottrade Center)
Event: NCAA Championships (Day 3 of 3)
U-M Team Standing: Tie-11th Place
Next U-M Event: Season Complete
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- University of Michigan fifth-year senior wrestler Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) used an overtime takedown to beat Iowa's Montell Marion, 6-4, on Saturday evening (March 17) -- his second win over the Hawkeye in two weeks -- to capture his second straight 141-pound title at the NCAA Championships inside Scottrade Center. As a team, U-M tied for 11th with Virginia Tech, the Wolverines' highest finish since 2008-09, also 11th.
After trading one takedown and two escapes apiece through the match's first seven minutes, Russell countered a Marion shot midway through the sudden-victory frame, stuffing the head before spinning around behind to wrap up the Hawkeye and bring him to the mat and end the bout with 23 seconds on the clock.
Russell had gained the initial advantage on a single leg late in the first period, getting the leg high and pulling Marion back onto the mat to finish. Marion escaped after 28 seconds and Russell followed suit early in the second to preserve his two-point advantage until Marion struck deep on a single leg, finishing on the edge to even the score. Russell escaped quickly and, taking advantage of several hard returns, rode Marion for the first half of the third period before the Hawkeye wrestler escaped with Russell's holding only 59 seconds of riding-time advantage. The escape evened the score again and ultimately sent the match to overtime. It was his third overtime win against Marion in four career meetings.
The Wolverine captain becomes the sixth U-M wrestler to capture multiple NCAA titles, upping the Michigan program's total to 22 trophies and five under current head coach Joe McFarland, joining Ryan Bertin (2003, '05) and Steve Luke (2009).
Russell completed his collegiate career with a 134-12 record, earning a share of the eighth position among Michigan's all-time winningest wrestlers. His career win percentage of .918 ranks second in program history.
Senior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS) won his final collegiate match in the morning session, rallying to a 13-11 decision over Harvard's Steven Keith in a wild seventh-place match at 133 pounds. Keith jumped out to an early four-point advantage, scoring on a single leg and subsequent two-point tilt in the first minute of the match. The Wolverine senior narrowed the gap with an ankle pick at the buzzer then surged ahead with a busy second period, earning a quick reversal and catching Keith in a scramble to tack on two back points late.
Stevens used a splits to earn another two-point near fall early in the third before the wrestlers traded reversals; Stevens locked up a cradle out of the latter to score two more back points, and the points made the difference when Keith reversed him to his back in the waning seconds to narrow the final score.
Final Team Standings (Top 12)
1. Penn State 143 2. Minnesota 117.5 3. Iowa 107.5 4. Cornell 102.5 5. Ohio State 68.5 6. Oklahoma State 66 7. Illinois 62 8. Lehigh 61 9. Northwestern 42.5 10. Oregon State 40.5 11. MICHIGAN 39 Virginia Tech 39
U-M Results (Day 3)
Numbers listed are tournament seedings
133 pounds - #8 Zac Stevens
Seventh Place - dec. #11 Steven Keith (Harvard), 13-11
Finished in seventh place with a 4-2 record
141 pounds - #1 Kellen Russell
Final - dec. #3 Montell Marion (Iowa), 6-4 SV
Finished as the 141-pound champion with a 5-0 record
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423