March 18, 2014
Thu-Sat., March 20-22 -- at NCAA Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
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The University of Michigan wrestling team will send eight individual wrestlers to Oklahoma City, Okla., to compete in the 2014 NCAA Championships, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday (March 20-22) at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The NCAA Championships will take place in six sessions over three days, beginning at 11 a.m. CDT on Thursday (March 20) with pigtail matches and the first round. The second session will resume later that day at 6 p.m. and feature continued preliminary matches as well as the first round of wrestlebacks. On Friday (March 21), wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. with the quarterfinal round and continued wrestlebacks. The fourth session is slated for 7 p.m. and will feature semifinals and wrestlebacks. On Saturday (March 22), the fifth session is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will wrap up the consolation bracket, featuring seventh-, fifth- and third-place matches at all weights. The finals are slated for 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
The Wolverines have finished in the runner-up position at the NCAA Championships on five occasions (1928, '29, '67, '74, '05) and have posted 42 top-10 finishes in their 69 appearances at the tournament, including eight in a row (2001-08) under head coach Joe McFarland.
Individually, U-M has produced 22 NCAA champions and 174 All-Americans, and the Wolverines have boasted at least one All-American in 20 of the last 22 seasons.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, March 20
Session I: 11 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Session II: 6 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Friday, March 21
Quarterfinals: 10 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Semifinals: 7 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPN/ESPN3.com)
Saturday, March 22
Championship Medal Round: 10 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Finals: 7 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPN/ESPN3.com)
Michigan's NCAA Qualifiers
With eight NCAA qualifiers, Michigan is sending its largest contingent to the national event since similarly qualifying eight in 2011. The Wolverines earned seven qualifiers in each of the last two seasons.
Four Wolverines will make their NCAA Championships debuts -- sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (125) and freshmen Brian Murphy (157), Domenic Abounader (184) and Adam Coon (Hwt). On the other side, fifth-year seniors Eric Grajales (149) and Dan Yates (165) are both four-time NCAA qualifiers.
Five Wolverines earned seeds for the NCAA Championships:
With 174 NCAA All-America certificates in program history, the Wolverines rank sixth among the leading programs in the nation, trailing only Oklahoma State, Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Penn State. Michigan has produced at least one All-American in 19 of the last 20 seasons. The Wolverines also rank eighth among the national elite with 22 NCAA individual titles in program history.
Freshman Domenic Abounader claimed third place at 184 pounds in his Big Ten Championships debut. Abounader defeated three higher-ranked wrestlers and avenged two earlier season losses against Nebraska's T.J. Dudley and Minnesota two-time All-American Kevin Steinhaus, whom he defeated 6-4 in the third-place match. It was the highest finish for a Wolverine rookie since fifth-year senior Eric Grajales claimed second in 2011.
Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales and freshman Brian Murphy also avenged earlier season losses on the first day of Big Tens. Grajales defeated Iowa's Brody Grothus, 4-1, in the 149-pound first round on two back points and a reversal, while Murphy used a late takedown to defeat Penn State'e Dylan Alton, 3-1, in the 157-pound wrestlebacks.
Senior/junior Steve Dutton claimed fourth place at 141 pounds in his Big Ten debut. He fell to Minnesota's Chris Dardanes, 7-6, on a rideout in the tiebreaker after tying the score late in the third period. He also earned bonus points with a quick pin against Illinois' Steven Rodrigues in the consolation semifinals.
Dutton opened the Big Ten tournament with a 7-0 decision over Iowa's Josh Dziewa, scoring two takedowns and two near fall to improve on a 3-2 comeback victory over the Hawkeye in the dual meet. Dutton will face Dziewa in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Dutton is 8-4 this season at 141 pounds after making his Michigan debut early in the Big Ten dual season. His only losses have come against wrestlers ranked in the nation's top five. He is 4-4 against ranked opposition this season.
Murphy also fell in overtime in his third-place match at 157 pounds, giving up a counter takedown to Wisconsin's top-seeded Isaac Jordan to fall, 3-1. Murphy narrowed the gap from their quarterfinal meeting, which Jordan claimed 5-0.
Freshman heavyweight Adam Coon suffered his second and third losses of the season -- his first in tournament competition -- at the Big Ten Championships to finish outside the top eight. He bounced back with two wins to claim the final automatic qualifier to NCAAs.
Coon leads the team with a 30-3 record. He boasts an 8-2 record against nationally ranked wrestlers this season, including a 7-1 mark against heavyweights currently ranked among the nation's top 10. He has defeated five seeded wrestlers on his side of the NCAA bracket, including No. 1 Tony Nelson, No. 5 Bobby Telford and No. 8 J.T. Felix.
Coon is 6-1 in overtime matches this season. On the other side, he boasts 11 bonus wins with a team-leading seven pins and four major decisions.
Coon's 23-match win streak at the beginning of the season represents the best start for the Wolverine true freshman in program history, topping Kellen Russell's 18-0 start in 2007-08.
The Wolverines, who entered the second semester with the No. 19 national ranking, faced teams ranked in the nation's top 15 in seven of their last eight duals, posting a 6-2 mark in those contests. Among the victories, U-M defeated three top-10 opponents -- No. 2 Minnesota (19-14, Jan. 19), No. 7 Nebraska (17-16, Feb. 7) and No. 6 Pittsburgh (18-13, Feb. 15).
Michigan's 6-2 Big Ten dual record is its best since the 2005-06 season when it went 8-0 en route to its third straight conference dual title.
Fifth-year senior Dan Yates enters his final collegiate event with a 112-46 career record and owns the 24th spot among U-M's all-time career wins leaders. He needs four more wins to reach the 23rd position, currently held by two-time All-American A.J. Grant (116-58, 2000-03).
Five Wolverines appeared in every dual and tournament appearance this season -- sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (125), sophomore Rossi Bruno (133), fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (149), senior/junior Chris Heald (197) and freshman Adam Coon (Hwt).
Michigan has had six different wrestlers make their varsity debuts this season. All six -- freshmen Adam Coon, Brian Murphy and Domenic Abounader, sophomore/freshmen Conor Youtsey and Angelo Latora, and junior/sophomore Ben Ralston -- all claimed their first varsity win in first-semester action.
U-M Individual Rankings
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines closed out the Big Ten Championships (March 8-9) on a strong note, posting a 9-4 record on second-day matches after a disappointing opening day. The effort was not able to pull U-M out of a hole in the team standings, and the Wolverines finished in eighth place with seven placewinners. Freshman Domenic Abounader headlined the U-M performance with third place at 184 pounds, while senior/junior Steve Dutton, fifth-year senior Eric Grajales and freshman Brian Murphy took fourth at 141, 149 and 157 pounds, respectively. [ Recaps: Day 1 | Day 2 ]
Contact: Leah Howard