Weekly Release #9: U-M Set for Pair of Big Ten Duals

Feb. 2, 2010

Friday, Feb. 5 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 7 p.m.
Live Results
Sunday, Feb. 7 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 1 p.m.
Live Results

The University of Michigan wrestling team (4-10, 0-3 Big Ten) will hit the road for a pair of Big Ten dual meets next weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, on Friday (Feb. 5) to face No. 3-ranked Ohio State at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena, before squaring off against No. 11 Penn State on Sunday (Feb. 7) at 1 p.m. at Rec Hall in State College, Pa.

The Wolverines' Friday dual meet at Ohio State will be aired, via tape delay, on the Big Ten Network. The broadcast will air at 11 p.m., on Friday (Feb. 5) and again at 8 a.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

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)
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. 29

LAST TIME OUT: vs. Michigan State
Despite splitting matches evenly and rallying with four straight wins at the upperweights, the Wolverines could not complete the comeback against intrastate rival Michigan State, falling 17-15 last Friday (Jan. 29) at Cliff Keen Arena. The difference came in a pair of MSU major decisions early in the dual meet, including a 9-1 victory by top-ranked defending NCAA champion Franklin Gomez at 133 pounds, the dual's opening weight. The Spartans claimed four of the opening five weights, while Michigan took four of the final five, including wins from U-M's freshman trio -- Sean Boyle (125), Hunter Collins (184) and Ben Apland (Hwt).

A Career Year -- After suffering just his third loss of the season to Iowa's Luke Lofthouse (Jan. 22), senior/junior captain Anthony Biondo rebounded in Big Ten dual competition with back-to-back wins against Minnesota's 16th-ranked Sonny Yohn (5-2, Jan. 23) and Michigan State's Tyler Dickenson (7-1, Jan. 29). Biondo boasts a 26-3 record on the season, already claiming three more wins 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 owns an impressive 50-16 record while registering an 18-15 mark at 184 pounds last season. The Wolverine captain moved up a couple spots -- to the No. 9 position -- in the latest edition of the InterMat national rankings.

The Youth of Today -- With a lineup predominantly made up of underclassmen and no seniors, the Wolverines are fielding one of the nation's youngest squads in 2009-10. Michigan's lineup consists of four freshmen, four sophomores and two juniors; it will return its entire rotation next season. U-M's is particularly youthful at the lowerweights, where true freshman Sean Boyle (125) and true sophomores Zac Stevens (133) and Mark Weber (141) have yet to use a redshirt year.

Super Dave -- Junior/sophomore Dave Johnson has claimed a pair of dramatic victories in his last two outings to improve to 2-1 in Big Ten action. He overcame a three-point deficit -- with riding time -- against Michigan State's Anthony Jones last Friday (Jan. 29), using a pair of two-point tilts in the third period to win 7-6. The previous weekend, he picked up a big 6-4 overtime win over Minnesota's Joe Grygelko (Jan. 23), using an extended scramble -- and a little luck -- to pick up the winning takedown with seven seconds left on the scoreclock. Johnson has been on a roll of late, claiming seven of his last 11 matches. He is 16-14 on the season.

Finding His Groove -- Freshman Sean Boyle got back to his winning ways last Friday (Jan. 29), earning his first Big Ten dual win -- and first home win at Cliff Keen Arena -- with an 8-4 decision against Michigan State's Brennan Lyon. Boyle, who opened Big Ten dual competition against a pair of top-six-ranked opponents from Iowa and Minnesota, has won 12 of his last 18 matches. He has battled throughout the bulk of his matches this season; 10 of his 19 wins this season have been by three points or less, while six of his 14 losses have been by four points or less.

Rising Rookies -- Michigan's other newcomers in the lineup -- sophomore/freshmen Hunter Collins and Ben Apland -- also picked up solid wins over veteran opponents in the Wolverines' recent dual against intrastate rival Michigan State (Jan. 29). Collins converted on takedowns in the first and second period to cruise past Nick Palmieri, 8-5, in the 184-pound match. Apland settled for a 3-2 decision -- on a third-period takedown -- against Alan O'Donnell at heavyweight after momentarily having the Spartan on his back twice. Like Boyle, the victories were the first at Cliff Keen Arena and in Big Ten competition for the rookie duo. Both Collins and Apland earned big wins over ranked opponents at the Southern Scuffle earlier this season (Dec. 29-30); Collins used two reversals and eight back points to defeat 20th-ranked Ben Clymer of Hofstra, 13-3, while Apland struck on three takedowns before countering a shot to drive Minnesota's 10th-ranked Ben Berhow straight to his back and pick up a first-period pin at 2:28.

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 136-59-5 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.

Ohio State -- The Wolverines hold a commanding 67-15-4 advantage in the all-time series against Ohio State, dating back to the 1923-24 season. OSU has held the edge of late, claiming narrow victories in the last two meetings between rivals, including a 26-17 decision in last season's meeting in Ann Arbor. Michigan occupied the driver's seat in that contest, claiming three of the opening five matches -- with bonus points at 157 pounds, the match's starting weight, and 197 pounds -- to carry a six-point advantage into the halftime intermission. The Buckeyes dominated the bout's second half, however, stealing control with wins in back-to-back toss-up matches at heavyweight and 125 pounds, earning a pin in the latter. Michigan's Kellen Russell claimed a 3-1 decision over defending NCAA champion J Jaggers at 141 pounds for his team's final individual win. OSU is 14-1 on the season and 3-0 in Big Ten competition after knocking off Purdue (35-6, Jan. 29) and Indiana (22-13, Jan. 31) in its latest outings. The Buckeyes boast six nationally ranked wrestlers, most notably Reece Humphrey and Lance Palmer, ranked No. 2 at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.

Penn State -- The Wolverines narrowly lead the all-time series with Penn State by a 23-22 margin, dating back to 1933. Michigan halted a three-meet losing streak in the series with a victory in the most recent meeting, earning a dominant 31-6 win at Cliff Keen Arena. U-M claimed eight of 10 individual matches in that dual meet, including six straight in the middle, and secured bonus in three. Justin Zeerip knocked off 20th-ranked Dan Vallimont, 3-2, in the 165-pound contest, while top-ranked Steve Luke battled to a 6-4 decision against No. 16 Quentin Wright at 174 pounds. Penn State is 10-5-1 on the season and 2-2 in Big Ten competition after splitting weekend duals against Iowa (6-29, Jan. 29) and Wisconsin (22-15, Jan. 31). The Nittany Lions boast six nationally ranked wrestlers, most notably No. 4 Frank Molinaro at 149 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. Senior/junior Anthony Biondo lists as Michigan's lone ranked individual wrestler, moving up two spots -- to the No. 9 position -- in the latest InterMat rankings at 197 pounds.

Friday, Feb. 12 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 14 -- vs. Wisconsin (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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