Week #7: vs. No. 21 Purdue, at No. 20 Central Michigan

Jan. 12, 2011

Friday, Jan. 14 -- vs. No. 21 Purdue (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Live Scoring | BigTenNetwork.com (fee) | Promotions: Pre-Meet Tailgate/Practice Center Tours, Autographs
Sunday, Jan. 16 -- at No. 20 Central Michigan (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), 2 p.m.
Live Scoring | Live Video

The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (4-2, 0-0 Big Ten) will continue dual competition next weekend with a pair of in-state competitions. The Wolverines open the Big Ten Conference portion of their 2010-11 schedule on Friday (Jan. 14), hosting No. 21 Purdue at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena before heading to Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Sunday (Jan. 16) for a 2 p.m. dual against No. 20 Central Michigan at McGuirk Arena.

Michigan's Projected Lineup

Wgt. Name Year/Elig. Hometown (High School)
125 Sean Boyle So./So. Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
133 Zac Stevens Jr./Jr. Monroe, Mich. (Monroe)
141 Kellen Russell Sr./Jr. High Bridge, N.J. (Blair Academy)
149 Eric Grajales So./Fr. Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
157 Aaron Hynes 5th/Sr. Mt. Morris, Mich. (Flint Kearsley)
OR Brandon Zeerip So./Fr. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
165 Dan Yates So./Fr. Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)
174 Justin Zeerip Sr./Jr. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
184 Hunter Collins Jr./So. Gilroy, Calif. (Gilroy)
197 Anthony Biondo 5th/Sr. Clinton Twp., Mich. (Chippewa Valley)
Hwt Ben Apland Jr./So. Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)

Complete Statistics: Through Jan. 8

The Wolverines claimed runner-up honors at the Virginia Duals last weekend (Fri-Sat., Jan. 7-8), posting a 3-1 record to match its best-ever finish in nine appearances at the annual dual tournament. Michigan fell to No. 2-ranked Penn State, 24-12, in the championship match, winning four individual matches but failing to recover from a slow start and several bonus losses. Michigan claimed victories over Liberty (37-9), Buffalo (29-7) and, in the semifinals, No. 9-ranked Lehigh (21-18) -- a significant improvement over its 25-6 loss against the Mountain Hawks on Nov. 19. Senior/junior Kellen Russell (141 pounds), sophomore/freshman Dan Yates (165) and fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo (197) all posted perfect 4-0 records over the two-day event.

Marked Improvement -- The Wolverines' 21-18 semifinal victory over No. 9-ranked Lehigh provided the highlight of its 3-1 record and runner-up effort at the Virginia Duals. Michigan claimed six individual wins against the Mountain Hawks, taking five of the first six matches, and five Wolverine wrestlers avenged losses from U-M's 25-6 road loss against Lehigh earlier this season. Sophomore Sean Boyle (125), sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales (149), fifth-year senior Aaron Hynes (157), sophomore/freshman Dan Yates (165) and fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo (197) all avenged decision losses in the previous meeting, while senior/junior Kellen Russell (141) claimed his second win over the Mountain Hawks this season.

We're Going Streaking -- Senior/junior Kellen Russell remains one of the nation's lone undefeated wrestlers -- with a perfect 20-0 record -- and has done so against a tough field at 141 pounds. Among Russell's wins this season, he has defeated six ranked opponents, including three top-five opponents in Minnesota's No. 2 Mike Thorn, Illinois' No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy and Cal Poly's No. 4 Boris Novachkov. The Wolverine captain is no stranger to starting a season on a tear; he kicked off 2007-08 -- his true freshman campaign -- with an 18-0 record before falling twice at the National Duals. Russell's longest winning streak is 23 straight matches, which he recorded during his sophomore season.

Dual Domination -- Senior/junior Kellen Russell posted a 4-0 mark at last weekend's Virginia Duals to extend his dual winning streak to 22 consecutive matches. The Wolverine captain sat out last season with injury but, after starting 1-1 in 2008-09 dual meets, won 16 consecutive dual appearances to close out the season. Russell boasts an impressive 42-6 dual record over his collegiate career.

Returning to Form -- Fifth-year senior captain Anthony Biondo posted a perfect 4-0 record at the last weekend's Virginia Duals to improve to 15-6 on the season and climb back to the No. 13 spot in the latest InterMat rankings. The Wolverine captain picked up a pair of bonus wins on the first day of action, but his most notable win came against Lehigh's No. 14-ranked Joe Kennedy in the semifinal round. Biondo used a pair of escapes and a tiebreaker rideout to edge past the Mountain Hawk wrestler, 2-1, and seal up Michigan's 21-18 team win. It was the second tiebreaker match between the two this season; Kennedy won 7-4 in their previous meeting.

Big Ben -- Junior/sophomore heavyweight Ben Apland claimed second place at the Southern Scuffle, held Dec. 29-30 -- his second runner-up tournament showing in a month's time -- after losing a heartbreaker to Penn State's sixth-ranked Cameron Wade, 4-2, on a late turn in the championship match. After splitting matches at last weekend's Virginia Dual, Apland is now 10-6 on the season. The Wolverine heavyweight has certainly not suffered from lack of competition this season. Eleven of his 16 matches have featured ranked opposition. Using the latest InterMat poll, Apland's losses have come against the No. 1, No. 4, No. 9 and No. 12 nationally ranked heavyweights.

Holiday Bonus -- The Wolverines racked up big points en route to their fourth-place showing at the Southern Scuffle, earning bonus points in half (24/48) of their tournament wins. Michigan tallied 12 falls, eight major decisions, an injury default and three forfeit victories. Sophomore Sean Boyle, junior Zac Stevens, fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo and junior/sophomore Ben Apland set the tone with two pins apiece.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Joe McFarland is in his 12th 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 140-66-5 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.

The Wolverines moved up several spots to the No. 11 position in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches poll, released Tuesday (Jan. 11). Michigan also boasts seven individuals ranked among the top 25 wrestlers in their respective weight classes in the InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News, WIN Magazine or Division I College Wrestling polls:

125 Sean Boyle NR NR 20 NR
133 Zac Stevens NR 17 NR 21
141 Kellen Russell 1 1 1 1
165 Dan Yates NR 17 20 21
174 Justin Zeerip NR NR NR 20
197 Anthony Biondo 13 11 14 13
Hwt Ben Apland 10 11 9 10

Friday, Jan. 21 -- vs. Northwestern (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 28 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 30 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 1 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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