Jan. 23, 2013
Sunday, Jan. 27 -- vs. No. 23 Northwestern (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.
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The No. 18-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (6-4, 0-3 Big Ten) will resume its Big Ten Conference schedule on Sunday (Jan. 27), hosting No. 23 Northwestern (5-5, 0-3 Big Ten) at 2 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena.
The Wolverines will host a free wrestling clinic prior to the meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. The clinic, the second and final of the 2012-13 season, is open to all ages and skill levels and will feature technique instruction from former Wolverine standouts Steve Luke (2006-09) and Zac Stevens (2009-12), as well as members of the U-M team. No registration is necessary, and video cameras will be permitted.
Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup
||Hometown (High School)
||Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
||Lansing, Mich. (Eastern)
||Massillon, Ohio (Perry)
||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
||Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
||Bozeman, Mont. (Bozeman)
||St. Johns, Mich. (St. Johns)
||Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)
||West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)
||Gowen, Mich. (Greenville)
||Emerald Isle, N.C. (Blair Academy)
||Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)
Michigan has dominated the all-time series against Northwestern, boasting a 71-8-3 record dating back to 1926. The Wolverines cruised in last season's meeting, winning eight matches, including each of the final five to beat Northwestern, 27-9, in Evanston, Ill.
The Wolverines went 2-2 in head-to-head matches against Northwestern wrestlers at the Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30. Sunday's dual will feature a rematch at 197 pounds between U-M's Max Huntley and Northwestern's Alex Polizzi. Huntley defeated Polizzi in their first meeting last season, but the Wildcat wrestler took the most-recent match, a 4-3 decision at the Midlands.
Junior Eric Grajales improved to 3-0 in Big Ten duals with his second straight major-decision victory last Friday (Jan. 18) over Iowa's Brody Grothus. Freshman Taylor Massa, who sat out the Iowa meet with injury, is also unbeaten in conference duals with a 2-0 mark.
Massa, who owns bonus points in each of his last three matches with two pins and a major decision, leads the Wolverine team with a 17-5 record. Massa also leads in two bonus categories with five pins and three technical falls. The U-M rookie has earned bonus points in 11 of 17 wins this season (64.7 percent) and, excluding pins, has outscored his opposition, 188-95. Three of his season losses have come by just two points.
Michigan has had 10 different wrestlers make their varsity debuts this season, including five freshmen who have started nearly every dual competition. Among the first-time starters, freshmen Rossi Bruno (133 pounds), Taylor Massa (165) and Jordan Thomas (184), sophomore/freshmen Camryn Jackson (141) and Justin Dozier (Hwt), junior/sophomores Jake Salazar (157) Michael Carpenter (157) and Chris Heald (184) all claimed their first varsity win in first-semester action.
Q: You are 3-0 in Big Ten duals now. Do you think you experience a change in mindset when you reach the Big Ten season?
A: I don't think that it necessarily changes because it's the Big Ten. There's an underlying understanding that every single match you have is going to be very tough. It's important for you to wrestle and compete, not only for yourself, but also for your team. I think that more so, your mindset changes because you realize that it's getting later in the season, and it's time to do something because it's now or never.
Q: Do you think you're starting to hit stride?
A: I think I'm starting to pick up momentum. It's usually around this time of year that I start to do better. I feel myself getting into good shape. Win by win, I'm building more confidence, and I feel really good. I'm just excited for the next couple duals in the Big Ten.
Q: You're coming off of two straight major decision victories. Are you trying to extend yourself a little more?
A: Absolutely. Towards the beginning of the year, in some of the matches with guys I shouldn't have had close matches with, they were too close for comfort. Now I'm trying my best to separate myself from those guys. I really want to prove what I'm capable of, not for everyone else, but for myself.
Q: The team has had a couple of disappointing weekends in Big Ten competition. How do you stay focused and stay positive as a team?
A: I think it's really important for the guys to take things one match at a time. If you look at it from the overall picture, we lost our first three Big Ten matches, and that can be a little depressing. But when you go back and you look at our first two matches, they were both decided by a couple of points or by one match. I think you should look at the bright side of things, for encouragement, but not ignore the bad things. You have to look back at the bad things to see what you did wrong so you can change them and use them to motivate you. For some of the younger guys, it's good for them to be able to look at some of the older guys and see them continue pushing and not giving up. We are trying to use our experiences to help change and make ourselves better.
Q: As an upperclassman, are you trying to be more of a leader?
A: Yes, I'm trying my best to become a little more vocal with the younger guys. I'm not always a very vocal person, but I'm trying to reinforce what the coaches are saying by saying what's on my mind. A lot of times I might know what to think or what to do because I've been around for a couple more years. Sometimes these younger guys don't. I forget that, and I have to try to share my experiences with them, and help encourage them, sometimes giving them a pat on the back when they need it.
U-M Individual Rankings
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines earned victories at 149 pounds and heavyweight in a 33-10 loss against No. 4-ranked Iowa at Cliff Keen Arena. Junior Eric Grajales cruised to a 12-3 major decision over Brody Grothus in the former, while fifth-year senior Ben Apland took a forfeit win in the latter. The Hawkeyes earned bonus points at five weights, including a pin from No. 2-ranked Tony Ramos at 133 pounds. [ Full Recap ]
Friday, Feb. 1 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3 -- at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), 1 p.m.