Michigan Puts Four into Semifinals at Cliff Keen Invite
Adam Coon

Dec. 7, 2013

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Site: Las Vegas, Nev. (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Event: Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Day 1 of 2)
U-M Team Standing: 3rd Place of 33 Teams (72.5 points) after Day 1
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Dec. 7 -- at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational - Day 2 (Las Vegas, Nev.), 9 a.m. PST

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- With four competitors headed to the championship semifinal round, the No. 20-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team holds the third spot (72.5 points) after the first day of competition at the Cliff Keen Invitational on Friday (Dec. 6) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition to the semifinalist quartet, three more Wolverines are still alive in the consolation bracket as U-M sits 12 points shy of leader Oklahoma (84.5 points).

Michigan demonstrated both its depth and ability to dominate as Wolverine wrestlers earned bonus points in 15 of their 25 day-one victories, while four of five U-M quarterfinalists -- fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), freshman Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS), fifth-year senior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) and freshman Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) -- pushed through to the semifinal round.

Grajales, seeded No. 3 at in his fourth and final appearance at the annual tournament, cruised into the 149-pound semifinals behind three decisive wins, including a first-period against North Carolina State's Brian Hamann in the quarterfinals. The bout was scoreless late in the opening frame when the Wolverine senior hit a headlock to collect his second pin of the day at 2:47. Grajales also pinned Western Wyoming's Adrian Avelar in the first round before rolling to an 11-3 major decision -- on three takedowns and 3:03 riding time -- over North Idaho's Jeremy Golding in the second.

Murphy, unseeded in his varsity debut, knocked off back-to-back ranked wrestlers to advance to the 157-pound semifinals in his first tournament appearance. The Wolverine rookie knocked off Cal Poly's fifth-seeded Max Schneider, 3-1, in the quarterfinal round, evening the score late in the third on a stall point before finishing on a single-leg takedown and riding out the match. He also used a late comeback to beat Wyoming's fourth-seeded Andy McCulley, 7-5, in the second round, tying the score -- and riding off McCulley's time advantage -- on a takedown at the end of regulation before scoring on a single leg midway through the overtime frame. Murphy is still unbeaten in his collegiate career, improving to 7-0 on the year.

Yates, seeded third at 165 pounds, earned a quick fall in his quarterfinal match against Purdue's Chad Welch, using an arm bar to turn the Boilermaker and pin him at 1:19. It was his second bonus victory of the day; he opened the tournament with a dominant 12-4 major decision over American's Marcos Peralta, scoring five takedowns and accumulating 3:53 in riding-time advantage.

Coon, seeded eighth at heavyweight, knocked off North Carolina State's top-seeded Nick Gwiazdowski, 3-1 SV, in the quarterfinal round. The Wolverine rookie, who improved 11-0 in his collegiate career, sprawled out of several Gwiazdowski leg attacks before finishing on a blast double midway through the overtime period. Coon earned back-to-back pins in the morning session, using an inside trip to stick Wyoming's Leland Pfeifer at 2:12 before hitting a bodylock to pin Cornell's Stryker Lane at 2:40.

Like Coon, sophomore Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) scored back-to-back falls in the opening rounds but dropped a narrow 6-5 decision to Ohio State's fourth-seeded Johni DiJulius in the 133-pound quarterfinal. Bruno, seeded fifth, struck first in that contest but gave up a reversal and takedown in a wild 5-5 first period. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third, and DiJulius broke the difference with 1:33 in riding-time advantage. Bruno used cradles to pin in both of his morning-session matches, pinning Boise State's Ty Stevenson at 5:52 and Brown's Anthony Finocchiaro at 2:44.

Sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS), seeded seventh at 125 pounds, posted a 3-1 mark on the day, earning bonus points with a first-round pin and a subsequent forfeit victory in the evening consolation session. He dropped a narrow 4-3 decision to Hofstra's 10th-seeded Jamie Franco, unable to overcome a first-period takedown, but bounced back in the wrestlebacks, earning a 10-5 decision -- on three takedowns, a reversal and 1:46 riding time -- against Navy's Brendan Campbell.

Junior/sophomore Chris Heald (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS) also went 3-1 on the first day, earning bonus points with a pins in his first and third bouts at 197 pounds. The latter came out of a last-second flurry against Air Force's Robert Isley. With Heald up just a point late, Isley went for an inside trip, and the Wolverine took advantage, taking Isley down to his back to earn the fall at 6:59. He ended the day with an 8-7 decision over Rutger's Hayden Hrymack, scoring on three takedowns -- two in the third period.

Three Wolverines were eliminated from the competition after suffering their second loss of the day. Senior/junior captain Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy), seeded third at 184 pounds, cruised in his opening match, scoring six takedowns and two back points en route to a 17-15 major decision against CSU Bakersfield's Sean Pollock, but was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury in his second bout. Sophomore/freshman Angelo Latora (Portage, Mich./Central HS) and junior/sophomore Ben Ralston (Oxford, Mich./Oxford HS) posted 2-2 records at 141 and 174 pounds, respectively.

Michigan will return to action tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 7) for the second and final day of competition at the 2013 Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. U-M will hit the mat at 9 a.m. PST for the semifinals and continued wrestleback rounds, while the championships finals are slated for a 3 p.m. start. All matches will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Top 10 Teams (After Day 1)

 1. Oklahoma       84.5
 2. Nebraska       75.0
 3. MICHIGAN       72.5
 4. Cornell        68.5
 5. Northern Iowa  61.5
 6. Ohio State     55.5
    Virginia       55.5
 8. Wyoming        45.0
 9. Virginia Tech  37.5
10. Boise State    33.5

Michigan Results (Day 1)

125 Pounds -- #7 Conor Youtsey
First Round - pinned Marc Collier (San Francisco State), 2:32
Second Round - dec. by #10 Jamie Franco (Hofstra), 4-3
Consolations - dec. Brendan Campbell (Navy), 10-5
Consolations - win by forfeit over Nick Herrmann (Virginia)
Consolations - vs. #12 Earl Hall (Iowa State)

133 Pounds -- #5 Rossi Bruno
First Round - pinned Ty Stevenson (Boise State), 5:52
Second Round - pinned Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown), 2:44
Quarterfinals - dec. by #4 Johni DiJulius (Ohio State), 6-5
Consolations - vs. Dennis Gustafson (Virginia Tech)

141 Pounds -- Angelo Latora
First Round - dec. David Walker (Air Force), 6-2
Second Round - dec. by #5 Nick Lester (Oklahoma), 3-1
Consolations - dec. Colton Shorts (Cal Poly), 4-1
Consolations - major dec. by #3 Joey Lazor (Northern Iowa), 10-0
Eliminated with a 2-2 record

149 Pounds -- #3 Eric Grajales
First Round - pinned Adrian Avelar (Western Wyoming), 0:41
Second Round - major dec. Jeremy Golding (North Idaho), 11-3
Quarterfinals - pinned Brian Hamann (NC State), 2:47
Semifinals - vs. #2 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraka)

157 Pounds -- Brian Murphy
First Round - dec. Spencer Hill (CSU Bakersfield), 9-3
Second Round - dec. #4 Andy McCulley (Wyoming), 7-5 SV
Quarterfinals - dec. #5 Max Schneider (Cal Poly), 3-1
Semifinals - vs. #1 James Green (Nebraska)

165 Pounds -- #3 Dan Yates
First Round - major dec. Marcos Peralta (American), 12-4
Second Round - dec. #14 Clark Glass (Oklahoma), 2-0
Quarterfinals -pinned #11 Chad Welch (Purdue), 1:19
Semifinals - vs. #2 Nicholas Sulzer (Virginia)

174 Pounds -- Ben Ralston
Pigtail Round - dec. by Frank Afront (Hofstra), 3-1
Consolations - pinned Calvin Nicholls (San Francisco State), 5:50
Consolations - dec. Monte Schmalhaus (Utah Valley), 6-5
Consolations - major dec. by Keithen Cast (American), 13-5
Eliminated with a 2-2 record

184 Pounds -- #3 Max Huntley
First Round - major dec. Sean Pollock (CSU Bakersfield), 17-5
Second Round - injury default by Kyle Lux (Northern Iowa)
Withdrew with a 1-1 record

197 Pounds -- Chris Heald
First Round - pinned Spencer Johnson (Nebraska), 1:05
Second Round - dec. by #6 Braden Atwood (Purdue), 4-1
Consolations - pinned Robert Isley (Air Force), 6:59
Consolations - dec. Hayden Hrymack (Rutgers), 8-7
Consolations - vs. #8 Shane Woods (Wyoming)

Heavyweight -- #8 Adam Coon
First Round - pinned Leland Pfeifer (Wyoming) 2:12
Second Round - pinned Stryker Lane (Cornell), 2:40
Quarterfinals - dec. #1 Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State), 3-1 SV
Semifinals - vs. #12 Adam Fager (Utah Valley)

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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