Weekly Release #6: U-M Tackles Tough Virginia Duals

Jan. 5, 2010

Fri-Sat., Jan. 8-9 -- at Virginia Duals (Hampton, Va.)
vs. No. 23 Virginia, 11 a.m.
vs. Bucknell/Oklahoma, 3 p.m.
Brackets | Virginia Duals Website

The University of Michigan wrestling team (2-4, 0-0 Big Ten) returns to dual-meet competition at the annual Virginia Duals on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 8-9) in Hampton, Va. The Wolverines are guaranteed two matches on Friday, first squaring off against No. 23 Virginia in the opening round at 11 a.m. before facing either No. 10 Oklahoma or Bucknell at 3 p.m.

The Wolverines return to the prestigious dual tournament -- celebrating its 30th year in 2010 -- for the first time in 10 seasons. Among the field at the Virginia Duals will be eight teams ranked among the nation's top 25, including No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 22 Lehigh, No. 13 Kent State and No. 14 Penn State.

Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup




Hometown (High School)


Sean Boyle


Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)


Zac Stevens


Monroe, Mich. (Monroe)


Mark Weber


Goodrich, Mich. (Goodrich)


Mark Boyer


Battle Creek, Mich. (Pennfield)


Mike Sears


Grand Blanc, Mich. (Flint Powers Catholic)


Dave Johnson


Jenison, Mich. (Jenison)


Aaron Hynes


Mt. Morris, Mich. (Flint Kearsley)


Justin Zeerip


Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)


Hunter Collins


Gilroy, Calif. (Gilroy)


Erich Smith


Ishpeming, Mich. (Westwood)


Anthony Biondo


Clinton Twp., Mich. (Chippewa Valley)


Ben Apland


Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)


Eddie Phillips


Woodland, Mich. (Lakewood)

Complete Statistics: Through Dec. 30

Senior/junior captain Anthony Biondo and junior/sophomore Dave Johnson placed third at 197 pounds and eighth at 157 pounds, respectively, to pace the Wolverine team to 14th place (54 points) at the annual Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30). Michigan held sixth place and boasted four quarterfinalists -- Biondo, freshman Sean Boyle (125 pounds), sophomore Zac Stevens (133) and junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip (174) -- after the first day of competition but slipped to 14th after a tough second day.

Eight is Great -- Junior/sophomore Dave Johnson claimed his first tournament placement since joining the Wolverine starting lineup at 157 pounds, claiming eighth place at last week's Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30). Johnson posted a 5-3 mark at the event, rebounding from a first-round loss to top-seeded Matt Moley (TF, 17-1) with four straight wins in the wrestlebacks. He is 13-12 on the season.

This Just-in -- Junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip netted his first-ever collegiate ranking on the heels of his sixth-place performance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 4-5), moving to InterMat's No. 20 spot at 174 pounds. Zeerip went 5-3 in the Vegas tournament and picked up his first win over a ranked opponent in the consolation bracket, using a ride out in the first tiebreaker to get past Ohio State's Dave Rella, 2-1. Adding his 2-2 effort at the Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-3), Zeerip carries a 19-10 record on the season. Seven of his 10 losses have come against nationally-ranked competition.

Return of Biondo -- Senior/junior captain Anthony Biondo dropped to the No. 9 listing in InterMat's most recent listing at 197 pounds on the heels of his third-place finish at the Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30) -- his first competition in nearly a month. His semifinal loss to Ohio's Erik Schuth, which halted his winning streak at 14 matches, came with a bit of controversy when the officials overturned a call to award Schuth a takedown on the edge of the mat to even the match score. Schuth then traded points in the third on Schuth's escape and Biondo's riding time, but the Bobcat wrestler struck again in the extra frame, scoring out of a scramble to claim the 6-4 decision. He is 19-2 on the season -- just four wins shy of his career best in the category.

Finding His Groove -- Freshman Sean Boyle earned a pair of big victories -- his first in collegiate dual competition -- to kick start Michigan's effort against Newberry and Kent State before the holiday break (Dec. 13). Boyle used a pair of first-period takedowns to claim a 6-4 decision over Newberry's Matt Oliver, ranked third nationally in NCAA Division II competition. In his second match, the Wolverine rookie converted on a second-period takedown and rode the majority of the third to build 1:19 in time advantage and seal up a 4-1 win against KSU's Troy Opfer. Boyle is 14-11 on the season and has won seven of his last 10 matches.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Joe McFarland is in his 11th season as head coach of the Michigan wrestling team. Since taking over the reins in 1999, McFarland has helped mold Michigan into a highly-touted national contender, guiding the U-M wrestling squad to three Big Ten dual-meet championships (2004, '05, '06) and eight consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships (2001-08) -- including an NCAA runner-up performance in 2005. He is the third winningest coach in program history with a 134-53-5 record at the helm and has led 18 different student-athletes to three NCAA individual titles, 39 All-America citations and 17 Big Ten individual crowns.

Virginia -- The Wolverines own a perfect 1-0 record in the all-time series against Virginia, knocking off the Cavaliers, 25-10, in the only previous meeting at the Northeast Duals on Nov. 24, 2007. Michigan rallied from an early deficit in the dual meeting, claiming five straight wins at the middleweights before capping the comeback with back-to-back victories at the final two weights. Josh Churella and Anthony Biondo earned bonus points with a major decision at 149 pounds and a second-period pin at 197 pounds, respectively. Virginia enters the weekend tournament with a 7-1 record and, most recently, claimed fifth place at the Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30). The Cavaliers boast four nationally-ranked wrestlers, including fourth-ranked Chris Henrich at 174 pounds.

Every Thursday, head coach Joe McFarland will offer insider access to his program in the rapid-fire Thursday Throwdown audio podcast. McFarland will touch on topics ranging from his wrestlers, Michigan's opponents, strategy and the other events of the season in each weekly feature. [ Check out the latest episode on or subscribe to Michigan Athletics on iTunes ]

Michigan wrestling is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_wrestl) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. Check them both out in our new publications section.

The Wolverines remain just outside of the top 25 in the latest national poll, released Tuesday (Jan. 5) by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. U-M boasts two nationally-ranked wrestlers in junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip and senior/junior Anthony Biondo, listing 20th at 174 pounds and ninth at 197 pounds, respectively.

Friday, Jan. 22 -- vs. Iowa (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23 -- vs. Minnesota (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

Sign up for Michigan Insider to be the first to learn about 2017-18 Michigan wrestling ticket opportunities.