Wolverines Set to Kick Off Dual-Meet Season vs. No. 16 Lehigh

Sunday, Nov. 22 -- vs. Lehigh (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.
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The University of Michigan wrestling team (0-0) kicks off the dual-meet portion of its 2009-10 schedule at home on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 22) against No. 16 Lehigh. The match is slated for a 2 p.m. start at Cliff Keen Arena.

Meet Promotions
The Wolverines will host a free pre-meet clinic from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena. The clinic is open to the public and will feature technique and practice-planning instruction from assistant coach and former Wolverine standout Mike Kulczycki. Video cameras will be permitted and attendees are welcome to come down to mat level during the clinic.

Fans that bring a ticket stub from Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State football game will receive free admission to the dual meet. The Wolverines will stick around after the dual for a post-meet autograph session; free 2009-10 Michigan wrestling posters will be provided.

Where to Watch the Match
WFMZ-TV, based out of Allentown, Pa., will be airing Sunday's dual meet live in its service area of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. A live video stream of the broadcast will also be available on the Big Ten Network's website.

Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup




Hometown (High School)


Sean Boyle


Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)


Zac Stevens


Monroe, Mich. (Monroe)


Mark Weber


Goodrich, Mich. (Goodrich)


Mark Beaudry


Pueblo, Colo. (South)


Dave Johnson


Jenison, Mich. (Jenison)


Aaron Hynes


Mt. Morris, Mich. (Flint Kearsley)


Justin Zeerip


Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)


Erich Smith


Ishpeming, Mich. (Westwood)


Hunter Collins


Gilroy, Calif. (Gilroy)


Anthony Biondo


Clinton Twp., Mich. (Chippewa Valley)


Eddie Phillips


Woodland, Mich. (Lakewood)


Ben Apland


Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South)

Complete Statistics: Through Nov. 15


Anthony Biondo, Senior/Junior
Senior/junior Anthony Biondo (Clinton Twp., Mich./Chippewa Valley HS) carries a 7-1 season record and the nation's No. 13 ranking into the Wolverines' dual-meet debut vs. Lehigh after back-to-back trips to the finals in the preceding open tournaments. Moving back up to 197 pounds, where he posted a 23-13 mark in his first varsity season, Biondo was perfect in his MSU Open appearance, earning three first-period falls -- in a combined 3:46 -- before knocking off Purdue's A.J. Kissel, 8-6, in the championships round. He will square off with the Mountain Hawks' Joe Kennedy, who owns a 1-1 season mark after losing to Pitt's Matt Wilps 3-1 in sudden victory last Sunday (Nov. 15).

EMU Open: Michigan boasted two champions, five finalists and 12 total placewinners in the season-opening Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 7. Senior/junior Eddie Phillips (Woodland, Mich./Lakewood HS) captured the heavyweight crown, while sophomore Mark Weber (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich HS), senior/junior Aaron Hynes (Mt. Morris, Mich./Flint Kearsley HS) and senior/junior Anthony Biondo claimed runner-up honors at 141, 165 and 197 pounds, respectively. Sophomore/freshman Hunter Collins (Gilroy, Calif./Gilroy HS) rounded out Michigan's finalists, taking the 184-pound crown in the freshman/sophomore division.

MSU Open: Senior/junior Anthony Biondo and freshman Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) captured individual titles at 197 and 165 pounds, respectively, to headline a contingent of six Wolverine placewinners at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 15). Sophomore Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS) rebounded from a semifinal loss to defending NCAA champion Franklin Gomez of Michigan State to claim third place at 133 pounds, while sophomore Mark Weber and junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) claimed fourth at 141 and 174 pounds, respectively.

Starting Things with a Bang -- Through 88 years of U-M wrestling history, Michigan has posted a 56-29-2 record in its first dual meet of the season. The Wolverines saw their three-year winning streak in season openers come to an end last season, falling to Lehigh, 20-12, in Bethlehem, Pa. Under head coach Joe McFarland, Michigan is 8-2 in season openers, including a 2-1 mark in openers at Cliff Keen Arena.

New Faces in the Lineup -- As many as three Wolverines are slated to make their collegiate dual-meet debut against Lehigh on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 22). Freshman Sean Boyle (125 pounds) will be the fourth U-M true freshman in as many years to earn an immediate starting spot, while sophomore/freshmen Hunter Collins and Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) could see starting time at 184 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.

Swap Meet -- Four returning Michigan wrestlers will appear at new weight classes this season. Senior/junior Aaron Hynes and junior/sophomore Justin Zeerip will each bump up a weight class into the 165- and 174-pound spots, respectively, while senior/junior Anthony Biondo will return to 197 pounds after spending last season at 184. Sophomore Mark Weber, who saw some starting time last season at 149 pounds, will move down to 141 in 2009-10. Weber was Senior High School Nationals finalist at 135 pounds prior to arriving at Michigan.

Strength of Schedule -- Michigan faces a tough field of competitors again this season, with 10 of the Wolverines' 14 dual-meet opponents ranked among the top 25 teams in the National Wrestling Coaches Association's latest poll (Nov. 17), including three of the top-five ranked teams. No. 1 Iowa leads the pack of ranked opponents, which also includes No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 14 Indiana, No. 16 Lehigh, No. 17 Penn State, No. 20 Kent State and No. 24 Michigan State.

Calling the Shots -- Head coach Joe McFarland is in his 11th 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 132-49-5 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.

Lehigh -- The No. 16-ranked Mountain Hawks (3-0) enter Sunday's dual meet after sweeping in-state competition -- Rider (31-3, Nov. 8), Penn State (23-14, Nov. 13) and Pittsburgh (24-9, Nov. 15) -- in their first two weeks of the 2009-10 season. Lehigh boasts six individually ranked wrestlers, most notably fifth-ranked Zach Rey (Hwt) and 11th-ranked Mike Galante (165). Michigan leads the all-time series with Lehigh, 23-13, dating back to 1936. The Mountain Hawks snapped Michigan's three-match series win streak last season, overcoming an early deficit to win five of the final seven bouts and claim the dual, 20-12, in Bethlehem, Pa. Lehigh on the Internet: www.lehighsports.com.

Every Thursday, head coach Joe McFarland will offer insider access to his program in the rapid-fire Thursday Throwdown audio podcast. McFarland will touch on topics ranging from his wrestlers, Michigan's opponents, strategy and the other events of the season in each weekly feature. [ Check out the latest episode on or subscribe to Michigan Athletics on iTunes ]

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

The Wolverines remain just outside of the top 25 in the latest national poll, released Tuesday (Nov. 17) by InterMat. U-M boasts one ranked wrestler in senior/junior Anthony Biondo, who climbed to the No. 13 spot in the 197-pound rankings.

Saturday, Nov. 28 -- at Northeast Collegiate Duals - vs. Bloomsburg (9:15 a.m.), American (11 a.m.), Penn (3:15 p.m.) (Guilderland, N.Y.)
Sat-Sun. , Dec. 4-5 -- at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Primm, Nev.), 9 a.m. PST

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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