Feb. 4, 2011

? Notes & Quotes

Site: Madison, Wis. (UW Field House)
Score: #13 Michigan 26, #6 Wisconsin 9
Records: U-M (10-2, 5-0 Big Ten), Wisconsin (9-3-1, 0-2-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 6 -- vs. No. 3 Penn State (Cliff Keen Arena), 2 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. -- After splitting the first six matches, the No. 13-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team surged past No. 6 Wisconsin, claiming the last four bouts to post a 26-9 road victory on Friday evening (Feb. 4) at the UW Field House. The Wolverines won seven individual bouts, claiming bonus in three, to extend their dual winning streak to six straight and improve to 5-0 in Big Ten Conference action.

Senior/junior captain Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy), the nation's No. 1-ranked 141-pounder, put the Wolverines ahead for good with a commanding 10-2 major decision against Shane McQuade. Russell capitalized on a variety of leg attacks, scoring on a single leg, duck under, throw by and snap down to overwhelm McQuade through all three periods. Russell's final takedown came midway through the third period and secured the bonus point, and the Wolverine captain rode out the match to accumulate 3:40 in riding time. He is 26-0 on the season.

Sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) also used an assortment of offensive attacks to cruise past Shawn Perry in the next bout at 149 pounds, scoring three takedowns and four back points en route to 11-3 major decision. After striking on a quick high crotch, Grajales caught Perry in a roll to add a two-point near fall late in the opening frame. He used a Peterson position out of a late second-period scramble to net four points and earned the pin call at the buzzer, before it was waived off after a brief officials' conference. The Wolverine rookie added another high crotch in the third and built up 4:20 in riding-time advantage to earn his fifth win in six matches.

Sophomore/freshman Brandon Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) also earned the pin call in the second period of the subsequent match at 157 pounds, but this held as the Wolverine newcomer stuck Kalvin York at the 4:40 mark. Zeerip held a significant advantage at the time of the pin after finishing on four takedowns, including three in the first period, and was in deep on a fifth single leg when he locked up the cradle and rolled up York to his back. The pin was Zeerip's third of the season and second in Big Ten action.

Sophomore/freshman Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) capped the Wolverines' victory with a 6-0 decision against Ben Cox at 165 pounds, using single legs in the first and third periods and 4:03 of riding-time advantage to secure his second straight shutout win.

The Badgers essentially won the pre-meet draw, selecting 174 pounds to set up their stretch of highly rated upperweights, but it was Michigan that struck first as senior/junior captain Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) used riding time to edge No. 12-ranked Ben Jordan, 2-1, and avenge an earlier-season loss. Zeerip dictated the first period with several single-leg shots -- enough to draw a stalling call on Jordan -- and took the initial lead with a quick second-period escape. The Wolverine captain rode most of the third period, building 1:25 in time advantage to earn the deciding point at match's end.

Wisconsin won back-to-back matches at 184 and 197 pounds -- both decision wins on first-period takedowns and riding time -- before U-M knotted up the team score again with back-to-back decisions of its own.

Junior/sophomore heavyweight Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) picked up his second win of the season over No. 11-ranked Eric Bugenhagen, scoring a pair of counter takedowns en route to a 5-2 decision. Apland, ranked 10th nationally, struck first midway through the opening period, scoring off a whizzer, and countered another Bugenhagen single leg late in the second to control the match throughout.

Sophomore Sean Boyle (Lowell, Mass./Blair Academy) needed nothing more than a second-period reversal and riding time to edge past Tom Kelliher, 3-1, at 125 pounds. Boyle set the pace of the match early on but could not finish on several first-period deep single-leg attempts. The Wolverine started down in the second and quickly shook Kelliher off to earn the deciding reversal before riding out the third period to accumulate 2:31 in time advantage.

Wisconsin's last win came at 133 pounds, where No. 3-ranked Tyler Graff used a big first period to defeat 19th-ranked junior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS), 8-5. The Wolverine wrestler momentarily had Graff on his back with a first-period headlock, earning a takedown to even the score but could not hold as Graff scored a reversal and built up 2:08 in riding time to pull away.

The Wolverines (10-2, 5-0 Big Ten) will return home to host No. 3-ranked Penn State on Sunday (Feb. 6). The match is slated for a 2 p.m. start at Cliff Keen Arena. Prior to the meet, Michigan will host a free wrestling clinic, featuring two-time NCAA champion Ryan Bertin, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Bahna Wrestling Center.

#13 Michigan 26, #6 Wisconsin 9
Individual rankings from InterMat

Match Score 174 -- Justin Zeerip (U-M) dec. #12 Ben Jordan, 2-1 U-M, 3-0 184 -- #3 Travis Rutt (UW) dec. Hunter Collins, 6-3 Tie, 3-3 197 -- #2 Trevor Brandvold (UW) dec. #10 Anthony Biondo, 4-1 UW, 6-3 Hwt -- #10 Ben Apland (U-M) dec. #11 Eric Bugenhagen, 5-2 Tie, 6-6 125 -- Sean Boyle (U-M) dec. Tom Kelliher, 3-1 U-M, 9-6 133 -- #3 Tyler Graff (UW) dec. Zac Stevens, 8-5 Tie, 9-9 141 -- #1 Kellen Russell (U-M) major dec. Shane McQuade, 10-2 U-M, 13-9 149 -- Eric Grajales (U-M) major dec. Shawn Perry, 11-3 U-M, 17-9 157 - #20 Brandon Zeerip (U-M) pinned Kalvin York, 4:40 U-M, 23-9 165 --#19 Dan Yates (U-M) dec. Ben Cox, 6-0 U-M, 26-9

? With the victory tonight, Michigan improved to 26-22 in the all-time series against Wisconsin.

? Michigan's 5-0 start in Big Ten Conference is its best since going 8-0 in 2005-06 en route to the program's third straight Big Ten dual-meet title.

? The Wolverines have won seven of 10 individual matches in all five of their Big Ten duals this season.

? Senior/junior <a href="http://onlyfans.cstv.com/sports/m-wrestl/mtt/zeerip_justin00.html">Justin Zeerip lost to Wisconsin's Ben Jordan, 4-1, in their previous meeting in the wrestlebacks of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Dec. 3-4. Junior/sophomore heavyweight Ben Apland also faced his Badger opponent in Las Vegas, where he defeated Eric Bugenhagen, 6-5, on a late third-period comeback.

? Apland earned his 14th win of the season with his decision against Bugenhagen, matching his season win total from last year.

? Sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales' 11-3 win against Shawn Perry was the first major decision of his collegiate career. Grajales already owns three pins and two technical falls this season.


Michigan Head Coach Joe McFarland
On the Wolverines' convincing win ... "These guys are having fun, they're wrestling solid, and they're wrestling hard. The new guys in the lineup this year are really making a big impact and mixing in well with our returning guys. That's been a nice mesh. Look at our lineup, from 125 all the way through, we're solid at every weight class. We don't have a hole. Guys are looking better every week. I think our preparation has been really good. I think the coaches have been doing a good job working on the right things. It's been a great atmosphere this season. All of our guys are wrestling hard, and it's good to see. Even the matches we lost tonight, we wrestled hard and kept ourselves right in those matches. Hopefully, we can get another chance this season to maybe flip those around."

On Justin Zeerip's dual-opening win ... "We flipped that match around. We lost to him out in Vegas. So, I thought that was a great way for us to get started, and Justin [Zeerip] did a great job in that match."

On the Wolverines' recent win streak ... "We just need to stay focused on one dual at a time, and that's the way we're going to continue to approach it. It's the same approach you use with your wrestlers at a tournament. We want to stay focused on the dual ahead of us. We can enjoy this for a short time then we need to get focused on our rematch with Penn State."

U-M Senior/Junior Justin Zeerip
On his upset win over Ben Jordan at 174 pounds ... "I definitely felt like I was in control. I was going for it most of the match and wrestling my style in the first and second periods. Last time we wrestled, I rode him the whole second period, so going into the third period tonight, I felt comfortable that I'd be able to ride, which I did."

On starting the dual with a U-M win ... "We've put ourselves in a big hole in a few duals this season, so I didn't want us to do that again tonight. It's important for the team to start out on the right foot. That's big for momentum. So, I just wanted to go out, focus on myself and wrestle hard. I lost to him in Vegas, so I wanted to get some revenge too."

On several Wolverines flipping earlier-season losses lately ... "It's definitely a big confidence booster. I feel like the coaches have been doing a great job this year at improving the things that need improvement for each guy. Some of our guys have really been turning it on, and we've had a couple of great weeks and months lately. We've been on a roll. We've been having great practices, and that's been showing in our matches."

U-M Sophomore/Freshman Brandon Zeerip
On the success of the freshmen wrestlers ... "I think we really help give the team momentum. If the older guys see the freshmen going out and getting wins, it fires them up and gives them confidence that they can do it too. It's just been pretty nice that the three of us can contribute like we have and help provide confidence to the team."

On the team's attitude ... "I think around the time of Virginia Duals, the team just really came together. That has continued to carry over, week-to-week, into the rest of our matches. We've got more of a together feeling, and we've just been wrestling a lot better -- I think in large part because of that atmosphere. Winning is contagious in a dual meet. When you're cheering for the other guys and they're cheering for you, it brings the team together and motivates us to wrestle harder -- for each other."

On his winning cradle ... "Coach [Brian] Dolph has been working with me through different positions, and how to find the cradle in different positions. It's something I differently look for, because I feel that once I get it locked up, I can take it over almost every time. I think it's been there a lot lately for me -- in scrambles and different positions where the other guy just isn't thinking about it -- so I'm making the most of it."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

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