Dec. 31, 2013
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Event: Midlands Championships (Day 2 of 2)
U-M Team Standing: 3rd Place of 47 Teams (84 points)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Jan. 5 -- vs. Maryland (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) kept his unbeaten season alive, capturing the heavyweight title to headline the No. 19-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team's performance at the 51st annual Midlands Championships on Monday (Dec. 30) at Welsh-Ryan Arena. With Coon's victory, the Wolverines jumped into third place in the final team standings behind six individual placewinners.
Coon, seeded third, knocked off Iowa's top-seeded -- and third-ranked -- Bobby Telford, 3-2, on an incredible third-period takedown. The Wolverine wrestler shot in on a double leg late in the frame, but Telford countered, locking up a tight cradle. After several precarious moments, Coon ducked under, coming around top to score. Telford escaped to narrow the score but could not get off a quality shot.
Coon also scored while locked in a cradle in the semifinals, where he defeated Maryland's second-seeded Spencer Myers, 4-1. The Wolverine freshman improved to 19-0 in his collegiate career. It is the best start for a Michigan true freshman in program history.
Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) lost a 5-4 overtime heartbreaker to Lehigh's sixth-seeded Mitch Minotti, giving up a low single leg in the waning seconds of the first tiebreaker. Grajales, seeded fifth, struck first with a first-period cradle, but ran out of mat room to turn Minotti. The Mountain Hawk wrestler evened it up with a takedown late in the second before Grajales escaped to even the score. Grajales rode out the first 30-second frame and escaped quickly in the second to have the match in hand before the winning Minotti takedown.
Grajales knocked off Northwestern's top-seeded Jason Tsirtsis, 6-3, in the semifinal round, rallying from an early first-period deficit with an arm drag and two-point tilt in the second. He added an escape in the third and just missed on a riding-time point, ending the match with 56 seconds time advantage.
Sophomore Taylor Massa (St. John, Mich./St. John HS), competing unattached at 165 pounds, bounced back from a controversial semifinal loss to earn back-to-back consolation matches and claim third place. Massa defeated Northwestern's seventh-seeded Pierce Harger, 5-3, in the placing bout, overcoming an early deficit with a first-period arm drag and 3:25 in riding time.
Massa sacrificed an early lead in a 4-3 semifinal loss to Iowa's second-seeded Nick Moore. The Wolverine put Moore on his back out of a late scramble in the first but settled only for the takedown. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third before Massa was called for a second stall warning and Moore finished on a single leg in the waning seconds to steal the match.
The Wolverines placed three at the lowerweights as fifth-year senior Sean Boyle (Lowell, Mass./Blair Academy) and sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS) claimed fifth and eighth at 125 pounds, respectively, and sophomore Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) took eighth at 133 pounds.
Boyle went 3-1 on the day, earning extra points with a pair of bonus victories, to register his first Midlands placing performance. He opened the day with back-to-back wrestleback wins, including a dominant 9-0 major decision over Brown's Billy Watterson -- on two takedowns, a three-point tilt and 3:03 riding time -- in his first morning match, before falling to Illinois' defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado in the consolation semifinals. He accepted a forfeit victory in the fifth-place match.
Youtsey and Bruno both opened the day with falls to secure placing performances before dropping consecutive matches to similarly settle for eighth place. Youtsey pinned Maryland's Billy Rappo, using a head-and-arm to reverse the Terrapin to his back at 3:31. Bruno stuck Rider's Chuck Zeisloft out of a wild scramble late in the first period, initiating the flurry with a single-leg shot before putting Zeisloft on his back at 2:57.
Senior/junior Collin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) and freshman Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, Ohio/St. Edward HS) were eliminated one match shy of placing at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively, after dropping their morning wrestleback matches. Abounader was beating North Dakota State's 12th-seeded Kurt Julson, 3-0 with riding time, midway through the second period when he was headlocked and pinned at 4:15.
The Wolverines will resume dual-meet competition on Sunday (Jan. 5), hosting Maryland at 2 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. The Terrapins, who will join the Big Ten Conference next season, took sixth place at Midlands.
Top 10 Teams (Final)
1. Iowa 187.5 2. Edinboro 102.5 3. MICHIGAN 84 4. Illinois 83 5. Northern Iowa 70.5 6. Maryland 68.5 7. Northwestern 63.5 8. Wisconsin 62.5 9. Lehigh 60.5 10. Indiana 57.5
Michigan Results (Day 2)
125 Pounds -- #8 Conor Youtsey
Consolations - pinned Billy Rappo (Maryland), 3:31
Consolations - pinned by #5 Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa), 3:29
Seventh Place - dec. by #6 Robert Deutsch (Rider), 4-1
Finished in eighth place with a 2-3 record
125 Pounds -- Sean Boyle
Consolations - major dec. Billy Watterson (Brown), 9-0
Consolations - dec. #6 Robert Deutsch (Rider), 7-1
Consolations - major dec. by #1 Jesse Delgado (Illinois), 12-3
Fifth Place - won by forfeit over #3 Cory Clark (Iowa)
Finished in fifth place with a 5-2 record
133 Pounds -- #8 Rossi Bruno
Consolations - pinned Chuck Zeisloft (Rider), 2:57
Consolations - dec. by #5 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 16-7
Seventh Place - dec. by #10 Devon Lotito (Cal Poly), 5-3
Finished in eighth place with a 3-3 record
149 Pounds -- #5 Eric Grajales
Semifinals - dec. #1 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern), 6-3
Final - dec. by #6 Mitch Minotti (Lehigh), 5-4 TB
Finished in second place with a 4-1 record
165 Pounds -- #3 Taylor Massa (unattached)
Semifinals - dec. by #2 Nick Moore (Iowa), 4-3
Consolations - dec. #9 Josh Houldsworth (Columbia), 4-2
Third Place - vs. #7 Pierce Harger (Northwestern)
174 Pounds -- Collin Zeerip
Consolations - dec. by #9 Scott Liegel (Wisconsin), 6-2
Eliminated with a 3-2 record
184 Pounds -- #11 Domenic Abounader
Consolations - pinned by #12 Kurt Julson (North Dakota State), 4:15
Eliminated with a 2-2 record
Heavyweight -- #3 Adam Coon
Semifinals - dec. #2 Spencer Myers (Maryland), 4-1
Final - dec. #1 Bobby Telford (Iowa), 3-2
Finished as the heavyweight champion with a 5-0 record
N O T E S
Michigan's third-place Midlands finish is the program's best since taking second at the 1973 event. U-M has placed among the top three teams five times in the tournament's 51 years, winning the inaugural event in 1963.
Freshman Adam Coon is U-M's first Midlands champion since Foley Dowd won at 133 pounds in 2002.
Coon's perfect 19-0 record stands as the best start for the Wolverine true freshman in program history, topping Kellen Russell's 18-0 start in 2007-08. He has defeated six nationally ranked wrestlers this season, including three of the current top six heavyweights.
Michigan earned bonus points in 11 matches -- eight pins, two major decisions and one medical forfeit.
Q U O T E S
U-M Freshman Adam Coon
On scoring takedowns while locked in cradles ... "It's as simple as you've just got to keep fighting for position and try to get your head up. As soon as you put your head down, that's when he can score off it. So, you have to keep your head up and hips in as hard as you can. Keep fighting for a leg, spinning and trying to get out. I was admittedly a little more nervous [when it happened in] the finals. He had it a little bit tighter. You just have to keep fighting in that scenario."
On his rookie season so far ... "The expectation for every match and every tournament is that I'm going to wrestle my best and go after it as hard as I can. I'm definitely pleased with how well I'm doing. There's still a lot of work ahead of me. We're only halfway through the season. There's plenty of work to do, but I'm happy with how well I've done so far."
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423