U-M Claims Final Four Bouts to Rally Past Wisconsin in Home Opener
Max Huntley

Dec. 11, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #8 Michigan 21, Wisconsin 12
Records: U-M (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten), Wisconsin (5-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Dec. 29 -- at Mat Town Invitational (Lock Haven, Pa.), 9 a.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team claimed six individual bouts, including the final four of the afternoon, and earned three major decisions to knock off Wisconsin, 21-12, in its Big Ten Conference opener on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 11) at Cliff Keen Arena.

With the Wolverines trailing by four points with four matches remaining, fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) initiated his team's comeback with a 10-2 major decision over Frank Cousins at 174 pounds. The Wolverine senior scored four takedowns, finishing on a late double leg in the bout's final 20 seconds to seal the bonus point. Zeerip improved to 11-1 on the season.

Senior/junior Hunter Collins (Gilroy, Calif./Gilroy HS) also took advantage of a late score to edge Timmy McCall, 4-3, in his season dual debut at 184 pounds. While the score was even entering the third period, McCall had a riding-time point already locked up when he chose down in the third. Collins rode out the period and tilted the Badger wrestler for two points in the last 10 seconds of regulation to steal away the match.

Sophomore/freshman Max Huntley (Emerald, Isle./Blair Academy) needed extra time to defeat Jackson Hein in the 197-pound match, converting on a scoring opportunity midway through the sudden-victory frame to win, 4-2. The aggressor throughout the match, Huntley took a temporary lead on a third-period reversal, before Hein escaped to send the match to overtime. Hein took an errant half shot, and Huntley countered, spinning around to score on the edge.

Junior/sophomore Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) survived a second-period scare to defeat Cole Tobin, 8-4, in the heavyweight match. Apland controlled the first period, scoring on a go-behind before riding out the frame to accumulate time advantage, but Tobin stole the lead midway through the second, throwing Apland on his back for four points. The Wolverine wrestler quickly evened the score on a stall call and locked hands before using a third-period double leg to ice the match.

Junior/sophomore Grant Pizzo (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) and fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) earned major decisions at 125 and 141 pounds, respectively, to provide the Wolverines an early advantage after three bouts.

Pizzo rolled to a 9-1 win in the former bout, using two takedowns, a reversal and two back points to beat Austin Hieptas in his first-ever match at Cliff Keen Arena. With the major decision in sight, Pizzo cut Hieptas loose midway through the third period and quickly finished on a double-leg shot in the final 30 seconds to earn the bonus point after riding time.

Russell scored on four takedowns -- two in the third period -- to cruise past Thomas Glenn, 10-2, in the 141-pound contest. He converted on a go behind in the first and a pair of double legs before countering a Glenn shot to seal the major decision late in the third.

The Wolverines will take a break for the holidays before returning to competition on Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Mat Town Invitational in Lock Haven, Pa. The tournament is slated for a 9 a.m. start at Thomas Fieldhouse.

#8 Michigan 21, Wisconsin 12
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score
125 -- Grant Pizzo (U-M) major dec. Austin Hieptas, 9-1 U-M, 4-0
133 -- Tom Kelliher (UW) dec. #12 Zac Stevens, 8-4 U-M, 4-3
141 -- #4 Kellen Russell (U-M) major dec. Thomas Glenn, 10-2 U-M, 8-3
149 -- #9 Cole Schmitt (UW) dec. Mike Hillock, 5-3 U-M, 8-6
157 -- Shawn Perry (UW) dec. Brandon Zeerip, 5-2 UW, 9-8
165 -- #17 Ben Jordan (UW) dec. Dan Yates, 8-3 UW, 12-8
174 -- #11 Justin Zeerip (U-M) major dec. Frank Cousins, 10-2 Tied, 12-12
184 -- Hunter Collins (U-M) dec. Timmy McCall, 4-3 U-M, 15-12
197 -- Max Huntley (U-M) dec. Jackson Hein, 4-2 SV U-M, 18-12
Hwt -- #18 Ben Apland (U-M) dec. Cole Tobin, 8-4 U-M, 21-12

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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