Russell, Grajales Advance to NCAA Quarterfinals
March 17, 2011
Site: Philadelphia, Pa. (Wells Fargo Center)
Event: NCAA Championships (Day 1 of 3)
U-M Standing: Tie-11th Place of 73 Teams (18 points) After Day 1
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 18 -- at NCAA Championships - Day 2 (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10:30 a.m.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team advanced senior/junior captain Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy) and sophomore/freshman Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) into the quarterfinal round at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively, at the 2011 NCAA Championships on Thursday (March 17) in front of 17,289 fans at the Wells Fargo Center. With another four U-M wrestlers also alive in the wrestlebacks, the Wolverines sit tied for 11th place (18 points) after the first day of competition. Penn State leads the early team race with 25 points.
Russell, the top seed at 141 pounds, cruised to a dominant 15-6 over Oregon State's Michael Mangrum in the evening session to earn his second career trip to the NCAA quarterfinal round. The Wolverine captain dictated the pace throughout the match, converting on three takedowns -- one in each period -- and adding five back points and a second-period reversal. Russell used a tilt to secure a three-point near fall in the first and earn a two-point near fall on a second-period half nelson. His final takedown was a counter off a Mangrum throw-by attempt, and Russell rode out the remainder of the match to accumulate 3:38 in time advantage and improve to 35-0 on the season.
Russell wrestled a considerably closer bout in the first round but needed just a pair of third-period takedowns to get past Nebraska's Mike Koehnlein, 5-3. The Wolverine captain struggled to keep Koehnlein within striking distance for much of the first two frames but made the most of his third-period opportunities, countering a Nebraska single leg to break the tie and adding an insurance score off a late flurry.
Grajales got past top-seeded Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State in his second-round match at 149 pounds, winning by injury default when the former NCAA champion could not continue after the first period. The two wrestlers traded several flurries in the opening frame, and Caldwell appeared to aggravate a preexisting shoulder injury during one late in the period.
The Wolverine rookie won a wild one in the first round, overcoming a three-takedown deficit to pin West Virginia's Brandon Rader in the closing second of the second period. Rader converted on three early single legs to carry a four-point advantage into the middle frame. Grajales cut the gap with a double leg, riding off Rader's riding time, but was promptly reversed. The Mountaineer wrestler appeared to tire out, and Grajales took advantage, locking up a cradle out of an ensuing scramble to roll him up and earn his fourth fall of the season at 4:51.
Rounding out Michigan's second-round representatives, sophomore Sean Boyle (Lowell, Mass./Blair Academy) dropped a 13-3 major decision to Iowa's Matt McDonough behind six Hawkeye takedowns. Boyle used a big second-period move to earn a decisive 8-1 win over Nebraska's David Klingsheim in the morning round. After a busy but scoreless first period, Boyle broke the match wide open midway through the second, scrambling into a Peterson position midway through the period for a reversal and back points. Boyle remained in the position for the rest of the period and was awarded a four-point near fall and a penalty point for an illegal head scissors call on the Husker. Boyle rode for time advantage but lost his bonus opportunity on a late escape, settling instead for an 8-1 decision.
Junior Zac Stevens (Monroe, Mich./Monroe HS) rebounded from a first-round overtime heartbreaker to earn an impressive and wild win over Lehigh's Frank Cagnina, 12-9, in the evening wrestleback round. Stevens twice reversed the Mountain Hawk wrestler to his back, accounting for nine of his total points, and rallied to win with a big move in the final 30 seconds of the third. Down by a point and ridden for most of the final frame, Stevens appeared poised to give up riding time until he used a late roll to gain control and tacked on a two-point near fall to earn the final margin.
Stevens fell to Old Dominion's 12th-seeded Kyle Hutter, 3-1, on an errant throw attempt in the sudden-victory period. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods and Stevens nearly added more late in the match, countering a Hutter single-leg shot with a single attempt of his own in the closing 20 seconds but could not finish the opportunity on the edge. The Wolverine wrestler stayed offensive, trying for a head lock early in the extra period but put himself in bad position as Hutter came behind to score.
Fifth-year senior captain Anthony Biondo (Clinton Twp., Mich./Chippewa Valley HS) and junior/sophomore Ben Apland (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) also bounced back from morning losses to stay alive at 197 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
Biondo earned bonus points in his evening victory, cruising to a 14-4 major decision over Wyoming's L.J. Helbig behind four takedowns -- three in the first period -- and reversal and three back points in the second frame. The Wolverine captain split his morning matches, claiming a 10-4 decision over American's Daniel Mitchell in the 197-pound pigtail match before falling to Minnesota's ninth-seeded Sonny Yohn, 6-1 in the first round. He converted on four takedowns to dominate the former match, scoring on double legs in the first and second periods before striking on a pair of single legs off of third-period restarts. He kept his bout with Yohn close until the waning moments. Down a point entering the third period he rode long enough to erase the Gopher wrester's riding-time advantage before releasing to look for the takedown. Yohn countered a Biondo single-leg shot, however, and reestablished his time advantage to earn the final margin.
Apland used a last-second counter takedown to edge Virgina's John Danilkowicz, 4-2, in the heavyweight wrestleback. After a scoreless first period, Danilkowicz took the first advantage on a reversal midway through the second. Apland evened the score with a quick escape and another in the third before turning the corner on the Cavalier wrestler's single attempt in the closing five seconds of the match. Apland lost his first match by fall to American's third-seeded Ryan Flores.
The Wolverines lost two wrestlers on the first day as sophomore/freshman Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS) and senior/junior Justin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) were both eliminated after suffering a pair of losses.
Michigan will return competition for the NCAA Championships' third session on Friday (March 18) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. The morning session begins at 10:30 a.m. and will feature quarterfinal matches and continued wrestleback competition.
Top 10 Teams (After Day 1)
1. Penn State 30.5 2. Cornell 29.0 3. Iowa 25.0 Oklahoma State 25.0 5. American 23.5 6. Arizona State 21.0 7. Wisconsin 20.0 8. Boise State 19.5 9. Minnesota 19.0 10. Nebraska 18.5 -------------------------- 11. Lehigh 18.0 MICHIGAN 18.0 Rutgers 18.0 Michigan Results (Day 1)
Numbers listed are tournament seedings
125 pounds -- Sean Boyle
First Round - dec. David Klingsheim (Nebraska), 8-1
Second Round - major dec. by #2 Matt McDonough (Iowa), 14-4
Consolations - vs. Brad Pataky (Penn State)
133 pounds -- Zac Stevens
First Round - dec. by #12 Kyle Hutter (Old Dominion), 3-1 SV
Consolations - dec. Frank Cagnina (Lehigh), 12-9
Consolations - vs. Kevin Smith (Buffalo)
141 pounds -- #1 Kellen Russell
First Round - dec. Mike Koehnlein (Nebraska), 5-3
Second Round - major dec. Michael Mangrum (Oregon State), 15-6
Quarterfinals - vs. #8 Zack Bailey (Oklahoma)
149 pounds -- Eric Grajales
First Round -pinned Brandon Rader (West Virginia), 4:51
Second Round - won by injury default over #1 Darrion Caldwell (North Carolina State), 3:00
Quarterfinals - vs. #8 Ganbayar Sanjaa (American)
165 pounds -- Dan Yates
First Round - dec. by #8 Scott Winston (Rutgers), 4-2
Consolations - dec. by Bekzod Abdurakmonov (Clarion), 6-4
Eliminated with a 0-2 record
174 pounds -- Justin Zeerip
First Round - major dec. by #1 Jonathan Reader (Iowa State), 13-3
Consolations - dec. by Ryan Patrovich (Hofstra), 3-1
Eliminated with a 0-2 record
197 pounds -- Anthony Biondo
Pigtails -dec. Daniel Mitchell (American), 10-4
First Round - dec. by #9 Sonny Yohn (Minnesota), 6-1
Consolations - major dec. L.J. Helbig (Wyoming), 14-4
Consolations - vs. John Hall (Boston University)
Heavyweight -- Ben Apland
First Round - pinned by #3 Ryan Flores (American), 1:58
Consolations - dec. John Danilkowicz (Virginia), 4-2
Consolations - vs. #8 Anthony Nelson (Minnesota)
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423
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