Feb. 8, 2011
Friday, Feb. 11 -- vs. No. 5 Minnesota (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
Live Scoring | BigTenNetwork.com (fee) | Minnesota website | Promotions: Trading Card Giveaway
Sunday, Feb. 13 -- at No. 2 Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 1 p.m. CST
Live Scoring | BigTenNetwork.com (fee) | Iowa website
The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (10-3, 5-1 Big Ten) will wrap up Big Ten Conference action this weekend, hosting No. 5 Minnesota on Friday (Feb. 11) at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena before heading to Iowa City, Iowa, to face No. 2 Iowa at 1 p.m. CST on Sunday (Feb. 13) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
After dropping their first Big Ten dual of the season to Penn State, 28-13, last Sunday (Feb. 6), the Wolverines dropped to the third spot in the Big Ten standings behind Iowa and Minnesota, who boast similar 5-0 conference records. With a weekend sweep, Michigan can guarantee a share of the Big Ten dual-meet title. U-M captured three consecutive Big Ten dual titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
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||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)|
MICHIGAN BY THE NUMBERS:
Complete Statistics: Through Feb. 6
LAST TIME OUT: at WISCONSIN, vs. PENN STATE
The Wolverines split a pair of Big Ten duals last weekend, rolling past No. 6-ranked Wisconsin, 26-9, on the road before falling to No. 3 Penn State, 28-13, at Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan surged late against the Badgers, winning the last four straight bouts -- earning bonus in three -- to secure its sixth consecutive win. Senior/junior Kellen Russell and sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales earned back-to-back major decisions at 141 and 149 pounds, before sophomore/freshman Brandon Zeerip claimed a second-period pin to headline the U-M effort. The Wolverines earned four individual wins against PSU but were doomed by bonus as the Nittany Lions tallied three pins and a major decision. Russell battled past Penn State's seventh-ranked Andrew Alton, 2-1, in the tiebreaker -- his third win over Alton this season -- while sophomore Sean Boyle, sophomore/freshman Dan Yates and fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo also won at 125, 165 and 197 pounds, respectively.
A Senior Moment -- The Wolverines will recognize the contributions of their four-member senior class on Friday (Feb. 11) before squaring off against Minnesota in the home finale. Fifth-year seniors Anthony Biondo, Chad Bleske, Aaron Hynes and Mike Sears will have exhausted their eligibility after this season and plan to graduate from the university in the spring.
We're Going Streaking -- Senior/junior Kellen Russell remains one of the nation's lone undefeated wrestlers -- with a perfect 27-0 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 four currently listed among the nation's top seven in Minnesota's No. 2 Mike Thorn, Illinois' No. 4 Jimmy Kennedy, Cal Poly's No. 5 Boris Novachkov and Penn State's No. 7 Andrew Alton. He owns three wins against Alton, picking up a 2-1 tiebreaker decision last Sunday (Feb. 6).
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. Dating back to the seventh-place match at the 2009 NCAA Championships, Russell owns a 28-match winning streak. It is the longest win streak of his collegiate career. He previously recorded a 23-match win streak during his sophomore season. Russell has lost back-to-back matches on just two occasions his collegiate career -- at the 2008 National Duals and the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Dual Domination -- With his pair of weekend wins, senior/junior Kellen Russell extended his dual winning streak to 29 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 49-6 dual record over his collegiate career.
A Reversal of Fortune -- Senior/junior captain Justin Zeerip kicked off the Wolverines' road victory against Wisconsin with an upset win against 12th-ranked Ben Jordan, using 1:25 in riding-time advantage to secure a 2-1 decision and avenge an earlier-season loss. Zeerip had previously lost to Jordan, 4-1, in their wrestleback contest at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Dec. 3-4. Zeerip is one of six different Michigan wrestlers to flip a loss to a familiar opponent this season. Sophomore Sean Boyle, sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales, sophomore/freshman Dan Yates and fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo all achieved the feat in Michigan's win over Lehigh at the Virginia Duals, Jan. 7-8, while sophomore/freshman Brandon Zeerip avenged an early season loss to Central Michigan's Eric Cubberly with a dominant 19-7 major decision in the road dual on Jan. 16.
Reaching the Century Mark -- Fifth-year senior captain Anthony Biondo collected his 100th collegiate win with his 10-5, rally inducing decision against Ohio State's Peter Capone on Jan. 28. With a career mark of 101-42, Biondo becomes the 33rd member of the Wolverines' prestigious 100-Win Club and the first since former Wolverines Steve Luke and Tyrel Todd surpassed the 100-win milestone during the 2008-09 season. Senior/junior captain Kellen Russell also stands within striking distance of the win milestone, carrying a 92-11 career record into the weekend action.
Freshman Phenoms -- Michigan's starting lineup features three freshmen at consecutive weights -- Eric Grajales (149), Brandon Zeerip (157) and Dan Yates (165) -- and the trio has played a big role in the Wolverines' recent success, combining for a 13-4 record in Big Ten duals with two pins, a technical fall and a major decision.
Dan The Man -- Sophomore/freshman Dan Yates collected a pair of weekend decisions at 165 pounds, earning decisions over Wisconsin's Ben Cox (6-0, Feb. 4) and Penn State's Nick Fischer (5-2, Feb. 6), to improve his Big Ten record to a perfect 5-0. Yates has outscored his conference competition 24-4 with a three shutout victories. He missed a matchup with Ohio State's Colt Sponseller due to injury but will have his chance to face ranked opposition this weekend with projected slates against Minnesota's No. 11 Cody Yohn and Iowa's No. 13 Aaron Janssen.
Boy-O-Boyle -- Sophomore Sean Boyle has won six of his last seven dual appearances at 125 pounds -- save a defeat to Northwestern's then-No. 1-ranked Brandon Precin -- and carries a four-match winning streak. With 23 wins on the season, he has already surpassed his win total from a year ago (20). Boyle also owns career highs in dual wins (8), pins (2) and major decisions (4).
Bringing Out Brandon -- Since joining the starting lineup at 157 pounds, sophomore/freshman Brandon Zeerip has posted a 5-2 dual record and is 4-2 in Big Ten matches. He has earned three bonus wins, including a pair of falls, and claimed Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors after pinning Purdue's 19th-ranked Colton Salazar (5:27, Jan. 14) in his dual-meet debut. His lone dual losses have come against a pair of top-10 opposition -- Northwestern's No. 7 Jason Welch and Penn State's No. 3 David Taylor.
A Strong Start -- Michigan won seven of 10 individual matches in each of its first five Big Ten duals of the season en route to a 5-0 start -- the Wolverines best start in conference action since going 8-0 en route to the 2005-06 Big Ten dual-meet title. Three of U-M's Big Ten wins came against ranked competition -- No. 6 Wisconsin (26-9, Feb. 4), No. 19 Northwestern (22-12, Jan. 21) and No. 21 Purdue (28-13, Jan. 14).
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 146-67-5 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.
IN THE POLLS
Behind their recent string of convincing Big Ten wins, including an upset over then-No. 6 Wisconsin, the Wolverines finally cracked the nation's top 10, claiming a share of the 10th spot, in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches poll, released Tuesday (Feb. 8). Michigan also boasts nine 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:
Friday, Feb. 18 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 7 p.m.
Sat-Sun., March 5-6 -- at Big Ten Championships (Evanston, Ill.), 10 a.m.
Thu-Sat., March 17-19 -- at NCAA Championships (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10 a.m.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423