Oct. 30, 2012
Season Preview | Wolverine Wrestling Wrap
Thursday, Nov. 1 -- vs. Olivet (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.
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Game Day Information: Cliff Keen Arena
The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (0-0) will kick off its 2012-13 campaign on Thursday (Nov. 1) against Olivet College. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start at Cliff Keen Arena.
Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup
||Hometown (High School)
||Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
||Lansing, Mich. (Eastern)
||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
||Midway, Utah (Wasatch)
||St. Johns, Mich. (St. Johns)
||Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)
||Gowen, Mich. (Greenville)
||Emerald Isle, N.C. (Blair Academy)
||Woodhaven, Mich. (Woodhaven)
Through 90 years of U-M wrestling history, Michigan has posted a 58-30-2 record in its first dual meet of the season. Last season, the Wolverines earned bonus points in four of six individual wins to cruise to a 27-13 victory in their opener at Buffalo. Under head coach Joe McFarland, Michigan is 10-3 in season openers.
Senior/junior Sean Boyle will return to the Wolverine starting lineup at 125 pounds after missing all of last season with injury. Boyle owns a career record of 48-36, including a 28-15 mark as a sophomore in 2010-11. He reached the Round of 12 at the 2011 NCAA Championships, finishing just one match shy of claiming All-America honors.
Six Wolverines are slated to make their collegiate dual-meet debut against Olivet. Freshmen Rossi Bruno (133 pounds), Taylor Massa (165) and Jordan Thomas (184) will start for Michigan in their first collegiate season, while sophomore/freshmen Camryn Jackson (141) and Justin Dozier (Hwt) round out U-M's starting freshmen. Junior/sophomore Jake Salazar will make his dual debut at 157 pounds. Salazar previously represented Michigan at the 2012 Mat Town Invitational, where he placed sixth.
Senior/junior Dan Yates, the Wolverines' two-year starter at 165 pounds, will move up a weight class this season and make his debut at 174 pounds in the season opener vs. Olivet. Yates is a two-time NCAA qualifier through his first two varsity season. He competed at 79kg/174-pound freestyle division at the University National Championships in June, posting an 8-2 record en route to fifth place.
Seven of the Wolverines' 15 dual-meet opponents rank among the top 25 teams in the National Wrestling Coaches Association's preseason poll, including two of the top-five ranked teams and four of the top-10 ranked teams. No. 4 Iowa leads the pack of ranked opponents, which also includes No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 14 Northwestern, No. 17 Central Michigan and No. 18 Pittsburgh.
Michigan added a pair of alumni to the coaching staff in the offseason. Three-time All-American Josh Churella (2005-08) will serve as the Wolverines volunteer assistant this season, while All-American Zac Stevens (2009-12) will act as U-M's undergraduate assistant coach while he finishes his bachelor's degree in computational informatics.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Q: You sat out all of 2011-12 with a shoulder injury. What were you able to gain from that redshirt year?
A: I was able to kind of sit back and gain an outside view of the sport. I think I learned a lot in terms of the mental side of the sport. It also really gave me a break physically. I was able to recharge the battery and get me really excited to compete this year.
Q: Do you feel like it made you that much more anxious to start this season?
A: Definitely. I was coming off the Round of 12 last year, and I was really anxious to get back on the mat for the season. But since the injury, I'd say I'm even more anxious. I was out for so long. Last year I saw a lot of guys I battled with get on the podium. Knowing I could be right there made me a lot hungrier for this year.
Q: How long have you been back on the mat? Do you feel like you're ready to go?
A: I got cleared to drill in August and have been wrestling live since September. It hasn't been that long. But I feel good. Physically, with the shoulder, I feel fine. Mentally, I'm coming back, getting my confidence back and my weight down. I actually feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been coming off of preseason. The new coaches and some of the new training they've implemented, it has really forced us to get into a lot better shape. So, everything feels good.
Q: We'll have a mixed team this year between upperclassmen and underclassmen, but there will be several true freshmen in the starting lineup. Do you think you can step in and be a leader this season?
A: Yeah, I do. I've been trying to lead by example to this point, but now that wrestle-offs are over and the season is here, I really want to work on being more vocal. It's about stepping up, doing the right things and trying to get everyone to follow. I started as a true freshman, so I'd really like to help show them the ropes and how to approach every match.
Q: When you first got into the lineup, you were a young and undersized true freshman. Now you've got that redshirt year behind you, and you're returning as one of the experienced upperclassmen. How much has changed over the last several years?
A: I think I've made big gains both physically and mentally since that first year in the lineup. Physically, I've gotten a lot stronger, noticeably, in the weight room, and I can feel that on the mat. Mentally, I know that I'm an upperclassman. I only have two more years to get it done, so I'm trying to give it everything I've got. There's something about being an upperclassman that you know what to expect and you know how to approach everything. That helps a lot over the season.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan set eight of its 10 starting weight classes in the final round of annual wrestle-offs at the Maize and Blue Intrasquad last Thursday (Oct. 25). Four returning starters reestablished their starting roles, including senior/junior Dan Yates, who bumped up a weight class to 174 pounds. Among the winners were three true freshmen -- Rossi Bruno at 133 pounds, Taylor Massa at 165 and Jordan Thomas at 184. Only the 141-pound and heavyweight classes remained undecided; final wrestle-offs at those weights will occur at a later date. [ Recap ]
Tuesday, Nov. 6 -- at Central Michigan (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 11 -- vs. Pittsburgh (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.
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