Dec. 3, 2013
The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (2-2) will take its annual trip out west this weekend, heading to Las Vegas, Nev., to compete in the 32nd annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6-7) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Action will begin at 9 a.m. PST both days of competition, with the championship round slated for 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
This year's field at the Cliff Keen Invitational will feature 33 teams, including 12 teams ranked in the most-recent NWCA poll. In addition to the 20th-ranked Maize and Blue, headlining the participating teams are No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Cornell, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 12 Northern Iowa, No. 13 Virginia and No. 14 Virginia Tech.
Michigan's Projected Starting Lineup
|Wgt.||Name||Year/Elig.||Hometown (High School)|
|125||Conor Youtsey||So./Fr.||Parma, Mich. (Mason)|
|133||Rossi Bruno||So./So.||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)|
|141||Angelo Latora||So./Fr.||Portage, Mich. (Central)|
|149||Eric Grajales||5th/Sr.||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)|
|157||Brian Murphy||Fr./Fr.||Carol Stream, Ill. (Glenbard North)|
|165||Dan Yates||5th/Sr.||Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)|
|174||Ben Ralston||Sr./Jr.||Oxford, Mich. (Oxford)|
|184||Max Huntley||Sr./Jr.||Emerald Isle, N.C. (Blair Academy)|
|197||Chris Heald||Sr./Jr.||West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)|
|Hwt||Adam Coon||Fr./Fr.||Fowlerville, Mich. (Fowlerville)|
History Lesson: Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational
Michigan has competed in the annual tournament 30 times dating back to 1983, missing only the first year of the tournament in 1982. Formerly known as the Las Vegas Classic, the tournament was renamed the Cliff Keen Invitational in 1993 to honor former Michigan wrestling coach and collegiate wrestling icon Cliff Keen. The tournament is run by a pair of former Michigan wrestlers -- three-time NCAA champion Mark Churella Sr. (1976-79) and Mark Churella Jr. (2001), who serve as executive director and tournament director, respectively.
Michigan has placed fifth or better in 13 of the last 19 seasons at the annual tournament, including first-place showings in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Wolverines took 12th place at last year's event with three placewinners -- Taylor Massa (fifth, 165 pounds), Dan Yates (second, 174) and Max Huntley (eighth, 197).
Freshman heavyweight Adam Coon improved to 8-0 on the season with a 5-3 decision against Stanford's Josh Marchok (Nov. 20). He is U-M's lone undefeated starter, boasting a perfect 4-0 mark in dual competition and 4-0 record in open-tournament action. He captured the heavyweight title at the MSU Open in his collegiate debut.
Coon capped the Oregon State dual with a solid 7-2 decision against fellow freshman Amarveer Dhesi, earning a second-period reversal and two takedowns in the third. Coon had lost his previous meeting against Dhesi, falling 4-1, 4-0, in the 120kg freestyle final of the FILA Junior Championships.
Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales knocked off the nation's No. 1-ranked Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State, 10-6, on Sunday, Nov. 17, using a big five-point move in the first period and late third-period takedown to pick up his first win of the season. Grajales is 2-1 against Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi. They split two matches last season with Sakaguchi winning 9-6 in the early-season dual and Grajales taking the National Duals meeting, 6-4.
Yates and senior/junior Max Huntley both dropped down a weight class to 165 and 184 pounds, respectively, while junior/sophomore Chris Heald will move up to 197 pounds. Yates previously wrestled two seasons at 165 pounds, where he was a two-time NCAA qualifier before moving up to 174 pounds last season. Huntley and Heald swapped spots in the lineup; Huntley was previously a two-time NCAA qualifier at 197 pounds.
Sophomore Taylor Massa, who reached the NCAA Round of 12 last season and led the Wolverines with a 27-10 record at 165 pounds, will redshirt the 2013-14 season. He has competed in two open tournaments already this season, compiling a combined 9-0 record en route to second place at 174 pounds at the MSU Open (Nov. 9) and first at 165 pounds at the EMU Open (Nov. 16).
U-M Individual Rankings
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines were doomed by a sluggish start and bonus points against No. 23 Stanford, falling, 23-13, in their most-recent outing (Nov. 20). The Cardinal won three of the opening four weight classes, but U-M rallied to tie the team score with four bouts remaining when Stanford's Bret Baumbach earned a pin at 157 pounds to give his team a sizable advantage. Four Wolverines won their individual bouts: Adam Coon (Hwt), Angelo Latora (141), Eric Grajales (149) and Max Huntley (184). [ Full Recap ]
Sunday, Dec. 15 -- vs. Central Michigan (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.