Week #1: at Michigan State Open, vs. Pittsburgh

Nov. 9, 2010

Saturday, Nov. 13 -- at Michigan State Open (East Lansing, Mich.), 9 a.m.
Live Results | Webcast: BigTenNetwork.com (Fee)
Sunday, Nov. 14 -- vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.
Live Results | Webcast: BigTenNetwork.com (Fee) | Promotions: Free Clinic, Fan Cups, Autographs

The No. 18-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team will split its squad this weekend, sending several unattached wrestlers to the annual Michigan State Open on Saturday (Nov. 13) in East Lansing, Mich., before officially kicking off its 2010-11 campaign on Sunday (Nov. 14) against No. 14 Pittsburgh. The non-conference match is slated for a 2 p.m. start at Cliff Keen Arena.

Prior to Sunday's dual meet, the Wolverines will host a free clinic from 10 a.m.-noon at the Bahna Wrestling Center. The clinic is open to all ages and skill levels and will feature technique and practice-planning instruction from Wolverine NCAA champion Steve Luke (2006-09) as well as members of the U-M coaching staff. All clinic participants will receive free admission to the Michigan/Pittsburgh dual meet.

Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup

Wgt. Name Year/Elig. Hometown (High School)
125 Sean Boyle So./So. Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
133 Eric Grajales So./Fr. Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
141 Kellen Russell Sr./Jr. High Bridge, N.J. (Blair Academy)
149 Mark Weber Jr./Jr. Goodrich, Mich. (Goodrich)
OR Jake Salazar Fr./Fr. Midway City, Utah (Wasatch)
157 Aaron Hynes 5th/Sr. Mt. Morris, Mich. (Flint Kearsley)
OR 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)
OR Chad Bleske 5th/Sr. Washington, Mich. (Romeo)

Starting Things with a Bang -- Through 88 years of U-M wrestling history, Michigan has posted a 56-30-2 record in its first dual meet of the season. The Wolverines, after posting a three-year winning streak in season openers, have dropped two in a row -- both to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Under head coach Joe McFarland, Michigan is 8-3 in season openers, including a 2-2 mark in openers at Cliff Keen Arena.

New Faces in the Lineup -- Two Wolverines are slated to make their collegiate dual-meet debut against Pittsburgh on Sunday (Nov. 14). Highly touted recruits sophomore/freshmen Eric Grajales (133 pounds) and Dan Yates (165 pounds). Yates was a senior national champion at the 160 pound weight class in high school and Grajales was last year's number one overall recruit.

Swap Meet -- Two returning Michigan wrestlers are slated to appear at new weight classes this season. Fifth-year senior Aaron Hynes will return to the 157-pound class, where he was a national qualifier two years ago, after spending last season at 165. Junior Mark Weber will also return to his weight class of two years ago, moving back to 149 after spending last season in the 141-pound division.

The Leaders and the Best -- Fifth-year senior Anthony Biondo and senior/juniors Kellen Russell and Justin Zeerip were named wrestling tri-captains for the 2010-11 season. It is the ninth time in Michigan wrestling history that three individuals will share the distinction. Biondo retains the honor after serving as one of two U-M captains last season, along with junior Zac Stevens, who plans to redshirt this season.

Strength of Schedule -- Michigan faces a tough field of competitors again this season, with 10 of the Wolverines' 12 dual-meet opponents ranked among the top 25 teams in the National Wrestling Coaches Association's preseason poll, including two of the top-five ranked teams and five of the top-10 ranked teams. No. 4 Minnesota leads the pack of ranked opponents, which also includes No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Iowa, No. 9 Central Michigan, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 14 Pittsburgh, No. 17 Lehigh, No. 19 Northwestern and No. 20 Purdue.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Joe McFarland enters 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 136-64-5 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.

The Wolverines will begin the 2010-11 season with the No. 18 team ranking in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches poll, released Nov. 9. Michigan also boasts four individuals ranked among the top 20 wrestlers in their respective weight classes in the InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News or WIN Magazine polls:

133Eric Grajales9NR12
141Kellen Russell432
174Justin Zeerip161417
197Anthony Biondo558

U-M in Season Openers: 56-30-2
U-M in Home Openers: 67-17-3
U-M at Cliff Keen Arena: 92-36-1
U-M vs. Pittsburgh: 19-8-1

Friday, Nov. 19 -- at Lehigh (Bethlehem, Pa.), 7 p.m.
Fri-Sat. , Dec. 3-4 -- at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Las Vegas, Nev.), 9 a.m. PST

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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