Week #3: U-M to Begin Dual Meet Season at Buffalo, No. 11 Pitt

Nov. 15, 2011

Wolverine Wrestling Wrap -- Episode 3

Friday, Nov. 18 -- at Buffalo (Buffalo, N.Y.), 5 p.m.
Live Scoring | Live Blog | Live Video (fee)
Saturday, Nov. 19 -- at No. 11 Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 7 p.m.
Live Scoring | Live Blog

The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (0-0) will kick off the dual-meet portion of its 2011-12 schedule with a pair of non-conference road duals this weekend against Buffalo and No. 11 Pittsburgh. On Friday (Nov. 18), the Wolverines will travel to Buffalo, N.Y., to square off against the Bulls (0-4) at 5 p.m. at Alumni Arena before heading to Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday (Nov. 19) for a 7 p.m. dual against the Panthers (2-0) at Fitzgerald Field House.

Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup

Wgt. Name Year/Elig. Hometown (High School)
125 Sean Boyle Jr./Jr. Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
OR Grant Pizzo Jr./So. Brighton, Mich. (Brighton)
133 Zac Stevens Sr./Sr. Monroe, Mich. (Monroe)
141 Kellen Russell 5th/Sr. High Bridge, N.J. (Blair Academy)
149 Eric Grajales Jr./So. Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
OR Mike Hillock Jr./So. Massillon, Ohio (Perry)
157 Brandon Zeerip Jr./So. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
OR Jake Salazar So./Fr. Midway City, Utah (Wasatch)
165 Dan Yates Jr./So. Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)
174 Justin Zeerip Sr./Jr. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
184 Collin Zeerip So./Fr. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
OR Chris Heald So./Fr. West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)
197 Max Huntley So./Fr. Emerald Isle, N.C. (Blair Academy)
Hwt Ben Apland Sr./Jr. Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)

Complete Statistics: Through Nov. 12

Michigan boasted four individual champions and nine total placewinners at last Saturday's Michigan State Open (Nov. 12), the Wolverines' final tune-up before the dual season. Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell, junior/sophomore Dan Yates and fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip won at 141, 165 and 174 pounds, respectively, in the open division, while freshman Justin Dozier claimed the freshman/sophomore heavyweight title. [ Full Recap ]

Starting Things with a Bang -- Through 89 years of U-M wrestling history, Michigan has posted a 57-30-2 record in its first dual meet of the season. The Wolverines ended a two-year losing streak in season openers last year, defeating Pittsburgh, 17-15, at Cliff Keen Arena. Under head coach Joe McFarland, Michigan is 9-3 in season openers, including a 6-1 mark in openers on the road.

We're Going Streaking -- Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell posted a perfect 5-0 record en route to the 141-pound title in his season debut at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 12), extending his winning streak to 44 consecutive matches. The streak stands as the second longest in Michigan program history, trailing only John Fisher (1985-86, '88-89), who recorded 47 straight wins between his junior and senior seasons. Russell's win streak extends back to the 2009 NCAA seventh-place match; he posted an undefeated 38-0 season last year. Russell previously compiled win streaks of 18 matches as a freshman and 23 matches as a sophomore and has lost back-to-back matches on just two occasions his collegiate career -- at the 2008 National Duals and the 2008 NCAA Championships.

In the Bonus -- Junior/sophomore Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) claimed bonus wins in all four of his matches at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 12), going 4-0 at 165 pounds with two falls and two major decisions. Yates only recorded four bonus victories last season -- four pins -- but led the Wolverines in 2009-10 with 11 pins and recorded a technical fall and four major decisions. He now boasts 17 career pins.

Reversal of Fortune -- Fifth-year senior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) avenged a loss from last season as part of his 4-0, 174-pound championship effort at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 12), using three takedowns -- two in the third period -- to claim a 9-4 decision against Michigan State's Curran Jacobs in the semifinal round. Jacobs had previously defeated the Wolverine, 6-5 in the tiebreaker, at the 2011 Big Ten Championships.

Two-For-Two -- Freshman heavyweight Justin Dozier (Woodhaven, Mich./Woodhaven HS) owns a perfect 9-0 record in his rookie campaign after capturing freshman/sophomore titles at both the Eastern Michigan (Nov. 5) and Michigan State (Nov. 12) Opens. Dozier was 5-0 at the MSU tournament, earning pins in the second and quarterfinal rounds before narrowly edging Illinois' Chris Lopez, 3-2, in the championship match.

Mad Max -- After missing all of last season with injury, sophomore/freshman Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, N.C./Blair Academy) was impressive in his return to the mat, posting a 3-1 record en route to third place at 197 pounds. Among his victories, Huntley used a late takedown to seal a 5-1 decision over Northwestern's John Schoen, a fifth-year senior and three-year starter, in the quarterfinals.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Joe McFarland is in his 13th 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 147-69-5 record at the helm and has led 18 different student-athletes to four NCAA individual titles, 40 All-America citations and 18 Big Ten individual crowns.

Welcome Aboard -- Michigan added three new coaches to its staff this offseason -- assistants Sean Bormet and Donny Pritzlaff and volunteer coach Kyle Massey. Bormet rejoined the Wolverine program after molding the Overtime School of Wrestling into the nation's premiere wrestling club over the last 10 years. Bormet, a two-time All-American and Big Ten champion as a Wolverine wrestler (1991-94), previously spent one season as a Wolverine assistant coach (1999-2000). Pritzlaff served five seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin (2007-11) -- the last two as associate head coach -- where he guided the Badgers to three straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a fourth-place finish in 2010. Massey spent the two seasons on the coaching staff at Wisconsin, serving one year as volunteer assistant coach (2009-10) and another as the Badgers' volunteer strength coach (2010-11).

Every week, members of the Michigan coaching staff will offer insider access to his program in the rapid-fire Wolverine Wrestling Wrap audio podcast. The Wolverine coaches will touch on topics ranging from his wrestlers, Michigan's opponents, strategy and the other events of the season in each weekly feature. [ Wolverine Wrestling Wrap - Episode 3 (11/15/2011) ]

• Michigan wrestling is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (umichwrestling) 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.

• Michigan wrestling is also on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwrestling. Facebook is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users.

Michigan moved up a position -- to the No. 6 spot -- in the latest NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released Tuesday (Nov. 15). [ Full Rankings ]

The Wolverines also boast eight individuals ranked among the top 20 wrestlers in their respective weight classes in the InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News, WIN Magazine or D1 College Wrestling polls:

125 Sean Boyle 12 16 11 8
133 Zac Stevens 13 10 9 15
141 Kellen Russell 1 1 1 1
149 Eric Grajales 9 6 7 9
165 Dan Yates NR 20 NR 20
174 Justin Zeerip 11 15 18 13
197 Max Huntley NR NR 19 23
Hwt Ben Apland 13 15 15 15

Fri-Sat., Dec. 2-3 -- at Cliff Keen Invitational (Las Vegas, Nev.), 9 a.m. PST
Sunday, Dec. 11 -- vs. Wisconsin (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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