Weekly Release #7: U-M Wrestles Top-Ranked Iowa, Rival Gophers

Jan. 19, 2010

Friday, Jan. 22 -- vs. No. 1 Iowa (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Parking Notice | Live Video | Live Results
Saturday, Jan. 23 -- vs. No. 5 Minnesota (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Live Video | Live Results

The University of Michigan wrestling team (4-7, 0-0 Big Ten) will open its Big Ten Conference slate with a pair of home duals this weekend against Iowa and Minnesota. U-M will square off against the top-ranked Hawkeyes on Friday (Jan. 22) before returning to face No. 5 Minnesota on Saturday evening (Jan. 23). Both duals are slated for 7 p.m. starts at Cliff Keen Arena.

Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup

Wgt. Name Year/Elig. Hometown (High School)
125 Sean Boyle Fr./Fr. Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
133 Zac Stevens So./So. Monroe, Mich. (Monroe)
141 Mark Weber So./So. Goodrich, Mich. (Goodrich)
149 Mark Boyer So./Fr. Battle Creek, Mich. (Pennfield)
OR Mike Sears Sr./Jr. Grand Blanc, Mich. (Flint Powers Catholic)
157 Dave Johnson Jr./So. Jenison, Mich. (Jenison)
165 Aaron Hynes Sr./Jr. Mt. Morris, Mich. (Flint Kearsley)
174 Justin Zeerip Jr./So. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
184 Hunter Collins So./Fr. Gilroy, Calif. (Gilroy)
OR Erich Smith Jr./So. Ishpeming, Mich. (Westwood)
197 Anthony Biondo Sr./Jr. Clinton Twp., Mich. (Chippewa Valley)
Hwt Ben Apland So./Fr. Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)
OR Eddie Phillips Sr./Jr. Woodland, Mich. (Lakewood)

Complete Statistics: Through Jan. 9

The Wolverines posted a 2-3 record en route to eighth place at 30th annual Virginia Duals (Jan. 8-9) -- their first appearance at the prestigious dual tournament in 10 years -- earning wins over Bucknell (21-15) and Clarion (29-15) while falling to No. 13 Kent State (27-9) and No. 23 Virginia (23-10, 19-13).

A Career Year -- Senior/junior captain Anthony Biondo posted five wins at the Virginia Duals, including a pair over then-16th-ranked Brent Jones of Virginia (7-4, 13-10), to improve his record to 24-2 on the season. He already boasts one more win than his previous career high -- he tallied a 23-13 record at 197 pounds in his first varsity season. In two years at 197 pounds, Biondo boasts an impressive 47-15 record while registering an 18-15 mark at 184 pounds last season. The Wolverine captain held onto the No. 9 listing in the latest edition of the InterMat national rankings.

Finding His Groove -- Freshman Sean Boyle swept his day-two matches at the Virginia Duals (Jan. 8-9) en route to a 4-1 weekend record at the prestigious dual-meet tournament. He outscored his opposition 20-9, holding his final three opponents to just an escape apiece. In perhaps his most notable win, Boyle needed nothing more than a second-period escape and riding time to edge past Kent State's Troy Opfer, 3-1, for the second time this season. The Wolverine rookie rode out all but the final second of the third period to accumulate 1:44 in total time advantage and picked up a penalty point late in the frame when Opfer intentionally kicked him in the head. Boyle is 18-12 on the season and has won 11 of his last 15 matches.

This Just-in -- Junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip climbed a few positions -- to the No. 16 spot -- in the most recent 174-pound InterMat rankings after posting a 3-2 record at the Virginia Duals (Jan. 8-9). Zeerip used a ride out in the third tiebreaker to beat Bucknell's 17th-ranked Shane Riccio, 2-1, in a 13-minute marathon match. The two wrestlers traded escapes during regulation before trading ride outs in the first and second tiebreakers. Starting the third tiebreaker down, Zeerip scooted out after 13 seconds to gain the advantage and held Riccio down for the final 30-second frame to end the bout. The win was Zeerip's second win over a nationally ranked opponent this season. Nine of his 11 losses have come against nationally-ranked competition, including two decisions against Virginia's fourth-ranked Chris Henrich at the Virginia Duals. Zeerip is 22-12 this season and stands just one win shy of his career best in the category.

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 136-56-5 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.

Iowa -- Iowa narrowly leads the all-time series between the two programs, 26-25-1, dating back to 1923. After a back-and-forth rivalry for much of the new millennium, the Hawkeyes have surged ahead of late, claiming the last three meetings, including a 20-16 victory in the most recent dual on Feb. 17, 2008, in Iowa City, Iowa. U-M rallied late in that contest, posting four straight wins at the middleweights, but Iowa claimed the final two weight classes and boasted bonus points in four of its five individual wins to provide the difference. The two-time defending NCAA champion Hawkeyes carry a perfect 14-0 mark into the weekend, most recently knocking off fourth-ranked Oklahoma State, 19-16, last Saturday evening (Jan. 16). Iowa boasts eight nationally ranked wrestlers, including top-ranked Brent Metcalf (149 pounds), No. 2 Jay Borschel (174), No. 4 Matt McDonough (125) and No. 4 Chad Beatty (197). Iowa on the Internet: www.hawkeyesports.com.

Minnesota -- U-M leads the all-time series against Minnesota by a 29-26-2 margin, dating back to 1944. Michigan halted a three-match Gopher winning streak in the most recent meeting -- a 17-16 victory in Minneapolis, Minn., on Feb. 6, 2009. The Wolverines claimed that dual with three straight wins at the upperweights, boasting bonus points at 174 and 197 pounds. Minnesota is 5-4 on the season after claiming fourth place at the NWCA National Duals (Jan. 9-10). The Gophers boast seven nationally ranked wrestlers, including No. 2 Jayson Ness (133), No. 2 Dustin Schlatter (165), No. 6 Zach Sanders (125) and No. 6 Mike Thorn (141). Minnesota on the Internet: www.gophersports.com.

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 16th at 174 pounds and ninth at 197 pounds, respectively.

Friday, Jan. 29 -- vs. Michigan State (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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