Week #5: Wolverines Headed to Northwestern for Midlands
Domenic Abounader

Dec. 26, 2013

Sun-Mon., Dec. 29-30 -- at Midlands Championship (Evanston, Ill.), 9:30 a.m./Noon CST
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The No. 19-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team (3-2) will return to competition this weekend, traveling to Evanston, Ill., for the 51st annual Midlands Championships on Sunday and Monday (Dec. 29-30) at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The tournament will be broken into two sessions each day, commencing at 9:30 a.m. CST on Sunday and noon on Monday. The finals are slated for an 8 p.m. CST start Monday evening and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

This year's field at the Midlands Championships will feature 29 NCAA Division I teams, including 10 teams ranked in the most recent NWCA poll. In addition to the 19th-ranked Maize and Blue, headlining the participating teams are No. 3 Iowa, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Northern Iowa, No. 11 Illinois, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 15 Edinboro and No. 16 Northwestern. The field also will include several Division II and III teams and prominent postgraduate competitors.

Michigan's Projected Lineup

Wgt. Name Year/Elig. Hometown (High School)
125 Conor Youtsey So./Fr. Parma, Mich. (Mason)
  Sean Boyle 5th/Sr. Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy)
133 Rossi Bruno So./So. Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
141 Angelo Latora So./Fr. Portage, Mich. (Central)
  Cameron Kennedy Fr./Fr. Richmond, Mich. (Burton)
149 Eric Grajales 5th/Sr. Brandon, Fla. (Brandon)
157 Brian Murphy Fr./Fr. Carol Stream, Ill. (Glenbard North)
  Jake Salazar Sr./Jr. Midway, Utah (Wasatch)
165 Dan Yates 5th/Sr. Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia)
  Taylor Massa So./So. St. Johns, Mich. (St. Johns)
174 Collin Zeerip Sr./Jr. Fremont, Mich. (Hesperia)
  Ben Ralston Sr./Jr. Oxford, Mich. (Oxford)
184 Domenic Abounader Fr./Fr. Gates Mills, Ohio (St. Edward HS)
197 Chris Heald Sr./Jr. West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)
Hwt Adam Coon Fr./Fr. Fowlerville, Mich. (Fowlerville)


• The Midlands Championships will be U-M's second tournament appearance of the season. The Wolverines previously finished fifth at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7) behind six placewinners -- sophomore Rossi Bruno (5th, 133 pounds), fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (6th, 149), freshman Brian Murphy (5th, 157), fifth-year senior Dan Yates (3rd, 165), senior/junior Chris Heald (8th, 197) and freshman Adam Coon (1st, heavyweight).

• Freshman heavyweight Adam Coon posted a perfect 14-0 record over the first semester -- the best start for a Wolverine true freshman since Kellen Russell started 18-0 in 2007-08. Coon shot up to No. 4 in the national rankings after capturing the heavyweight title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7) with a perfect 5-0 mark. Coon knocked off a pair of top-five-ranked heavyweights in N.C. State's third-ranked Nick Gwiazdowski (3-1 SV) and Boise State's fifth-ranked J.T. Felix (7-5 SV).

• Sophomore Taylor Massa, who is redshirting the 2013-14 season, is also undefeated this season with a 13-0 record in open tournament competition. Massa captured the 165-pound title at the EMU Open (Nov. 16) and Wisconsin Open (Dec. 7) after taking second place at 174 pounds at the MSU Open (Nov. 9), where he posted a 4-0 record before withdrawing prior to the finals. Massa owns five pins and three major decisions this year.

• Freshman Domenic Abounader came out of redshirt in the Wolverines' latest outing against in-state rival Central Michigan (Dec. 15), earning a second-period fall (3:53) against the Chippewas' Craig Kelliher at 184 pounds. Abounader is 5-0 in his rookie campaign. He also captured the 184-pound title at the Wisconsin Open (Dec. 7).

• Abounader entered U-M's lineup at 184 pounds in place of senior/junior captain Max Huntley, who is out for the season after suffering an injury at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7).

• Freshman Brian Murphy came out of redshirt at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7), claiming fifth place at 157 pounds with a 4-2 record. He defeated two nationally ranked wrestlers -- Wyoming's 14th-ranked Andy McCulley (7-5 SV) and Cal Poly's 19th-ranked Max Schneider (3-1) -- and himself moved up to No. 16 nationally in the latest InterMat poll.

• Michigan earned bonus points in 20 matches at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7) with 13 pins, five major decisions and two medical forfeits. Sophomore Rossi Bruno recorded three pins at 133 pounds, while fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (149), fifth-year senior Dan Yates (165), senior/junior Chris Heald (197) and freshman Adam Coon (Hwt) all registered two pins and a major decision.

• Fifth-year senior Dan Yates surpassed the 100-win milestone in Las Vegas and wrapped up the first semester with a 103-41 career record. He is tied with All-American Foley Dowd (2001-04) for 34th among U-M's all-time winningest wrestlers.

• Michigan has had six different wrestlers make their varsity debuts this season. All six -- freshmen Adam Coon, Brian Murphy and Domenic Abounader, sophomore/freshmen Conor Youtsey and Angelo Latora, and junior/sophomore Ben Ralston -- claimed their first varsity win in first-semester action.

U-M Individual Rankings

Wt. Wrestler InterMat  AWN  W.I.N.   Flo   D1CW
125 Conor Youtsey -- -- -- 19 25
133 Rossi Bruno 17 14 17 18 16
149 Eric Grajales 13 16 17 14 14
157 Brian Murphy 16 13 15 16 15
165 Dan Yates 8 8 11 9 9
Hwt Adam Coon 4 5 6 4 4

Michigan used pins and a strong finish, winning six of the final seven matches, to cruise to a dominant 30-9 victory over in-state rival Central Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 15. Seven individual Wolverines won their bouts, including fifth-year senior Eric Grajales and freshman Domenic Abounader, who earned pins at 149 and 165 pounds, respectively. U-M also picked up a six-point victory with a forfeit in the dual's first match at 125 pounds. [ Full Recap ]

Sunday, Jan. 5 -- vs. Maryland (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard

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