Jan. 30, 2013
Friday, Feb. 1 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 7 p.m.
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Sunday, Feb. 3 -- at No. 18 Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), 1 p.m.
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The No. 17-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (7-4, 1-3 Big Ten) will hit the road this weekend, heading to the Hoosier State for a pair of Big Ten duals. On Friday (Feb. 1), U-M will face Indiana (6-7, 0-5 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. at University Gymnasium in Bloomington, Ind., before closing out the weekend on Sunday (Feb. 3), taking on No. 18 Purdue (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) at 1 p.m. at Holloway Gymnasium in West Lafayette, Ind.
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)
The Wolverines boast significant advantages in the all-time series against both Indiana and Purdue. U-M leads the Hoosiers, 53-23-2, dating back to the 1924 season and has claimed each of the last two meetings, including a 33-6 decision last year in Ann Arbor. Michigan is 56-12-1 all-time against the Boilermakers since 1924 and has won nine in a row in the series, including 28-13 win in the most-recent meeting two seasons ago.
Head coach Joe McFarland previously served as Indiana's head coach from 1989-91, posting a 24-20 record, including an undefeated 14-0 season and runner-up Big Ten finish in 1989-90. McFarland was named the 1990 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Junior Eric Grajales improved to 4-0 in Big Ten duals with his 8-2 decision over Northwestern's Dylan Marriott. Freshman Taylor Massa, who sat out the Iowa dual with injury, is also unbeaten in conference duals with a 3-0 mark.
Massa, who owns bonus points in each of his last four matches with two pins, a technical fall and a major decision, leads the Wolverine team with an 18-5 record. Massa also leads in two bonus categories with five pins and four technical falls. The U-M rookie has earned bonus points in 12 of 18 wins this season (66.7 percent) and, excluding pins, has outscored his opposition, 204-95. Three of his season losses have come by just two points.
Junior/sophomore Max Huntley avenged an earlier-season loss with a 4-3 win over Northwestern's Alex Polizzi at 197 pounds. Huntley previously lost to Polizzi -- by the same 4-3 margin -- in the wrestlebacks at the Midlands Championships, held Dec. 29-30.
Junior/sophomore Chris Heald earned the second dual win of his collegiate career -- first against Big Ten opposition -- with his 6-3 decision over Northwestern's Jacob Berkowitz in the 184-pound contest. Heald scored four points in the final 25 seconds to rally from a late deficit and put U-M in the driver's seat in the dual meet.
Fifth-year senior heavyweight Ben Apland, who owns a 5-1 record in dual competition this season, has not wrestled in two weeks after accepting forfeit wins against both Iowa (Jan. 18) and Northwestern (Jan. 27). Apland missed the Wolverines' first several duals while returning from injury and made his season debut at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, held Dec. 29-30. He is 13-5 on the season.
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) and Michael Carpenter (157) all claimed their first varsity win in first-semester action. Senior/junior Mike Hillock and junior/sophomore Collin Zeerip both made their season debuts with the start the Big Ten dual schedule.
Q: You've been wrestling well over the last several weeks -- you are 3-1 in Big Ten duals -- do you feel like you're starting to pick up some momentum?
A: Yeah, I do. I wasn't very happy with how I started the year from a results standpoint -- I just missed placing in Las Vegas and Midlands -- but I've been picking it up the last few weeks. This is kind of peaking sport, where you want to be at your best in March, and I think I'm working toward that right now.
Q: Did you feel like you were still shaking off some rust over the first semester?
A: I think it was just about getting my strength back, my conditioning back and that mindset of approaching every match. It took a little bit for me to get back into it. I'm getting a lot more comfortable out there, and I'm starting to pick up some momentum, especially since the start of the Big Ten season. I've been wrestling better not only in matches but in practice as well. That's carrying over, and I'm just building on week after week.
Q: The team got its first Big Ten win last weekend against Northwestern. Obviously everyone had been pretty disappointed with the first two weeks, so how important was it to get that victory?
A: It's big for the team, and it helps a lot individually. A team win just feels a lot better, especially coming off those two disappointing losses where we were right there. I think it's a good momentum builder, and I think we've got a good shot at winning these next few. We just need to keep building.
Q: You work out quite a bit with Rossi [Bruno] in the room. You went through what he's going through a few years ago as a true freshman starting right away in a very, very tough weight class. How much have you been able to help him?
A: I was actually just talking about that with Coach [Donny] Pritzlaff -- how Rossi is having a similar freshman as I had, taking a few lumps. He just needs to stay positive and try to have a good Big Ten tournament to get himself qualified for NCAAs. He's right there; he can still break through. My freshman year, I didn't finish the year strong, and I kind of regret it. I gave a good effort, but I just wasn't as confident as I should have been. But looking back, I was better for that year. It made me hungrier, made me realize that I had a lot of work to do and motivated me to have a productive summer.
Q: You were so close to placing at NCAAs two years ago. Do you think that helped teach you what you need to do to get over the hump?
A: That was my first time at the national tournament, so that in itself helps. I've already been there and know what to expect. Knowing what it feels like to reach the Round of 12 and lose, that's a long summer that follows. Coach [Joe] McFarland always talks about that; it's a long summer when you don't achieve your goals. I don't want to feel that again. I think that gives me an extra push to get on the podium this year.
U-M Individual Rankings
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines claimed their first Big Ten win last Sunday (Jan. 27), rallying from a halftime deficit to knock off No. 23 Northwestern, 23-13, at Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan claimed four of the final five matches, including the last three, to surge to victory. Freshman Taylor Massa initiated the rally with a 16-0 technical fall over 16th-ranked Pierce Harger at 165 pounds, before junior/sophomores Chris Heald and Max Huntley won back-to-back swing matches at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively, and U-M accepted a forfeit at heavyweight. Senior/juniors Sean Boyle and Eric Grajales were also victorious at 125 and 149 pounds, respectively. [ Full Recap ]
Friday, Feb. 8 -- vs. Ohio State (Cliff Keen Arena), 6 p.m. [ Tickets ]
Sunday, Feb. 10 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 2 p.m.