Grajales Captures 149-Pound Title, U-M Runner-Up at Cliff Keen Invite
Eric Grajales

Dec. 3, 2011

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Site: Las Vegas, Nev. (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Event: Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Day 2 of 2)
U-M Standing: 2nd Place of 34 Teams (116 Points)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Dec. 11 -- vs. Wisconsin (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Junior/sophomore Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) captured the 149-pound crown to headline the No. 9-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team's runner-up finish (116 points) at the 30th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, which concluded Saturday (Dec. 3) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Wolverines boasted seven total placewinners and drew scoring performances from all 10 representatives.

Grajales, the nation's No. 6-ranked 149-pounder, claimed his first collegiate tournament title with a 9-1 major decision over Air Force's Cole Von Ohlen in the championship match. The Wolverine sophomore attacked off the whistle, scoring on an immediate duck under before adding two more takedowns in the first and second and a third-period reversal. He accumulated 4:42 in riding-time advantage to secure his third bonus victory of the tournament. Grajales completed the weekend event with a perfect 4-0 mark, improving his season record to 9-2.

Fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) carried a late lead against Cal Poly's Ryan DesRoches in the 174-pound final but gave up a third-period takedown before ultimately losing 6-5 in the first round of tiebreakers. Zeerip, ranked 11th, scored on takedowns in the first and second periods and carried a 5-2 advantage entering the third period when seventh-ranked DesRoches scored three unanswered points to force overtime. Zeerip failed to convert on a couple sudden-victory opportunities then could not get away after starting down during the second of two 30-second tiebreakers. The loss was the first for Zeerip this season; he owns a 9-1 record.

Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) claimed four straight consolation wins to wrestle back to third place at 141 pounds after unexpectedly falling last night in the quarterfinal round. He earned extra points with a 16-8 major decision over Nebraska's Jake Sueflohn in the third-place contest, scoring six takedowns -- three in the final period -- and building 1:47 in time advantage.

Russell, a two-time Cliff Keen Invitational champion, secured a pair of lopsided decisions in the morning wrestlebacks before winning a marathon, 2-2, in the third tiebreaker against Cal Poly's second-ranked Boris Novachkov in the consolation semifinals. In a rematch of last year's NCAA finals, the two wrestlers traded nothing but escape points through regulation before both posting rideouts in the first and second tiebreakers. After Novachkov escaped midway through the third tiebreaker, Russell needed to escape in less than 13 seconds in the second go -- he did, winning the match on two seconds of riding-time advantage.

Senior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS) took fourth place at 133 pounds, splitting a pair of consolation matches after dropping his morning semifinal bout to fourth-ranked Logan Stieber of Ohio State, 14-6. Stevens had the Buckeye in trouble early, reversing him to his back in the first period, but could not hold onto his lead as Stieber scored a pair of second-period takedowns and added three back points in the third.

Stevens used an early lead to cruise past Nebraska's 17th-ranked Ridge Kiley, 7-4, in the consolation semifinals but fell to Harvard's No. 18 Steven Keith, 6-0, in the third-place contest. Keith converted on takedowns in the first and third periods and accumulated 2:04 in riding time.

Junior/sophomore Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) and senior/junior Ben Apland (Woodridge, Mich./Downers Grove South HS) took seventh place at 165 pounds and heavyweight, respectively, while sophomore/freshman Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy) defaulted out of his final match to take eighth at 197 pounds.

Yates earned a solid pair of victories, scoring two takedowns en route to a 7-3 decision over Cornell's Marshall Peppelman before picking up a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh's Tyler Wilps -- his second win over the Panther in three weeks.

Apland earned bonus points in both of his wrestleback wins, pinning Nebraska Kearney's Kevin Barrett at the 4:06 mark and ending the day with a 10-2 major decision over Boise State's J.T. Felix. The Wolverine scored three takedowns -- one in each period -- and earned two-point near fall in the first period to cruise past Felix in the seventh-place bout.

The Wolverines will return to competition next Sunday (Dec. 11), welcoming Wisconsin for their Big Ten Conference opener at 2 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. Before the dual, Michigan will host a free wrestling clinic from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. Fans can purchase tickets for the meet in advance via the U-M Ticket Office.

Top 10 Teams

 1. Ohio State    129
 2. MICHIGAN      116
 3. Wyoming       114.5
 4. Nebraska      106
 5. Oregon State  100
 6. Cornell        89.5
 7. Edinboro       74
 8. Pittsburgh     66.5
 9. Kent State     61
10. Hofstra        59.5

Michigan Results (Day 2)

133 - #5 Zac Stevens
Semifinals - major dec. by #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State), 14-6
Consolations - dec. #7 Ridge Kiley (Nebraska), 7-4
Third Place - dec. by #8 Steven Keith (Harvard), 6-0
Finished in fourth place with a 4-2 record

141 - #1 Kellen Russell
Consolations - dec. #10 Nathan Pennesi (West Virginia), 8-1
Consolations - dec. #6 Michael Nevinger (Cornell), 7-1
Consolation - dec. #2 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly), 2-2 TB3
Third Place - major dec. #11 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska), 16-8
Finished in third place with a 6-1 record

149 - #5 Eric Grajales
Semifinals - dec. #9 David Habat (Edinboro), 6-5
Final - major dec. #2 Cole Von Ohlen (Air Force), 9-1
Finished as the 149-pound champion with a 4-0 record

157 - #9 Brandon Zeerip
Consolations - dec. by Corey Mock (North Carolina), 12-5
Eliminated with a 2-2 record

165 - #6 Dan Yates
Consolations - dec. #9 Marshall Peppelman (Cornell), 7-3
Consolations - dec. by #4 Ben Jordan (Wisconsin), 8-3
Seventh Place - dec. #10 Tyler Wilps (Pittsburgh), 4-2
Finished in seventh place with a 5-2 record

174 - #4 Justin Zeerip
Semifinals - won by medical forfeit over #1 Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford)
Final - dec. by #3 Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly), 6-5 TB
Finished in second place with a 4-1 record

197 - Max Huntley
Consolations - dec. Lukasz Stala (Cornell), 6-2
Consolations - dec. by #7 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming), 7-6
Seventh Place - injury default by James Fox (Harvard), 5:18
Finished in eighth place with a 3-3 record

Hwt - #4 Ben Apland
Consolations - pinned Kevin Barrett (Nebraska Kearney), 4:06
Consolations - dec. by #6 Brendan Barlow (Kent State), 3-1 SV
Seventh Place - major dec. #10 J.T. Felix (Boise State), 10-2
Finished in seventh place with a 5-2 record

• Previous Results: Day One

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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