Week #14: Wolverines to Send Seven to NCAA Championships
March 19, 2013
Thu-Sat., March 21-23 -- at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
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The University of Michigan wrestling team will send seven individual wrestlers to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in the 2013 NCAA Championships, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday (March 21-23) at Wells Fargo Arena. The Wolverines head into the NCAA tournament after placing sixth at the Big Ten Conference Championships (75 points) on March 9-10.
The NCAA Championships will take place in six sessions over three days, beginning at 11 a.m. CDT on Thursday (March 21) with pigtail matches and the first round. The second session will resume later that day at 6:30 p.m. and feature continued preliminary matches as well as the first round of wrestlebacks. On Friday (March 22), wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. with the quarterfinal round and continued wrestlebacks. The fourth session is slated for 6 p.m. and will feature semifinals and wrestlebacks. On Saturday (March 23), the fifth session is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will wrap up the consolation bracket, featuring seventh-place, fifth-place and third-place matches at all weights. The finals are slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.
The Wolverines have finished in the runner-up position at the NCAA Championships on five occasions (1928, '29, '67, '74, '05) and have posted 42 top-10 finishes in their 69 appearances at the tournament, including eight in a row under head coach Joe McFarland.
Individually, U-M has produced 22 NCAA champions and 174 All-Americans, and has boasted at least one All-American in 20 of the last 21 seasons. Last season, the Wolverines sent seven qualifiers and posted two NCAA All-Americans, including 141-pound champion Kellen Russell.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, March 21
Session I: 11 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPN3.com)
Session II: 6:30 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPN3.com)
Friday, March 22
Quarterfinals: 10 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU, ESPN3.com)
Semifinals: 6 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU)
Saturday, March 23
Championship Medal Round: 10 a.m. CDT (TV: ESPNU)
Finals: 7 p.m. CDT (TV: ESPN)
Michigan's NCAA Qualifiers
|Wgt. ||Name ||Year/Elig. ||Hometown (High School) |
|125 ||Sean Boyle ||Sr./Jr. ||Lowell, Mass. (Blair Academy) |
|133 ||Rossi Bruno ||Fr./Fr. ||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon) |
|149 ||Eric Grajales ||Sr./Jr. ||Brandon, Fla. (Brandon) |
|165 ||Taylor Massa ||Fr./Fr. ||St. Johns, Mich. (St. Johns) |
|174 ||Dan Yates ||Sr./Jr. ||Hesperia, Mich. (Hesperia) |
|197 ||Max Huntley ||Jr./So. ||Emerald Isle, N.C. (Blair Academy) |
|Hwt ||Ben Apland ||5th Sr. ||Woodridge, Ill. (Downers Grove South) |
Senior/junior Sean Boyle (125 pounds), freshman Rossi Bruno (133), senior/junior Eric Grajales (149), freshman Taylor Massa (165), senior/junior Dan Yates (174), junior/sophomore Max Huntley (197) and fifth-year senior Ben Apland (Hwt) will serve as Michigan's contingent at the 2013 NCAA event. It will be the first-ever NCAA appearance for Bruno and Massa, while the Wolverines' five other representatives earned return trips.
Three Wolverines earned seeds for the NCAA Championships:
With 174 NCAA All-America certificates in program history, the Wolverines rank sixth among the leading programs in the nation, trailing only Oklahoma State, Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Penn State. Michigan has produced at least one All-American in 19 of the last 20 seasons. The Wolverines also rank eighth among the national elite with 22 NCAA individual titles in program history.
Senior/junior Sean Boyle matched his best Big Ten finish with a fourth-place showing at 125 pounds. Boyle went 2-2 over the tournament, earning a 4-2 decision over Ohio State's then-No. 12-ranked Nikki Triggas -- his second win over Triggas this season -- and a similar 4-2 decision over Minnesota's 13th-ranked David Thorn. Boyle owns six wins over ranked wrestlers this season.
Freshman Rossi Bruno, who was unseeded for the Big Ten Championships after posting a 2-6 conference record, posted a 3-2 mark at the tournament to claim seventh place and earn the final automatic bid the NCAAs. He registered two decision wins over Nebraska's Shawn Nagel, who pinned him during the dual, beating him, 5-3, in the first round and more soundly, 5-2, in the seventh-place match.
Senior/junior captain Dan Yates used a first-period takedown to knock off Minnesota's top-ranked Logan Storley, 3-2, in the Big Ten quarterfinals at 174 pounds. It was Yates' biggest career win to date. He owns a 7-9 record against the NCAA field, earning bonus points in five of seven wins.
Michigan wrestlers earned seven individual wins over opponents who had previously beaten them earlier this season:
|Rossi Bruno, 133 pounds ||1st Match ||2nd Match ||3rd Match |
|Opp: Shawn Nagel (Nebraska) ||L - F, 2:41 ||W - D, 5-3 ||W - D, 5-2 |
|Chris Heald, 184 pounds ||1st Match ||2nd Match || |
|Opp: John Rizqallah (MSU) ||L - D, 6-1 ||W - D, 8-2 || |
|Opp: Luke Sheridan (Indiana) ||L - Fall 1:17 ||W - D, 3-1 SV || |
|Max Huntley, 197 pounds ||1st Match ||2nd Match ||3rd Match |
|Opp: Alex Polizzi (NW) || L - D, 4-3 ||W - D, 4-3 ||W - D, 7-3 || |
|Opp: Braden Atwood (Purdue) ||L - F, 1:19 ||W - D, 7-3 || |
|Ben Apland, Heavyweight ||1st Match ||2nd Match || |
|Opp: Mike McClure (MSU) ||L - D, 5-1 ||W - F, 2:23 || |
Senior/junior Sean Boyle and freshman Rossi Bruno are the lone Wolverines to appear in every dual meet and tournament for Michigan this season. Boyle has wrestled 32 matches at 125 pounds, while Bruno has appeared in 30 at 133 pounds.
Senior/junior Dan Yates sits at 92-37 in his career, closing in on Michigan's prestigious 100-Win Club. With eight more wins, which he will likely hit next year, he will become the 36th Wolverine wrestler to tally 100 career victories. Fifth-year senior Ben Apland stands close but just out of range with an 89-65 career mark.
Bonus points will play a major role at the NCAA tournament, and the Wolverines' seven representatives have proven their potential to rack up the extra points.
Wrestler (Overall Pct.)
Sean Boyle (.318 - 7/22)
Rossi Bruno (357 - 5/14)
Eric Grajales (.409 - 9/22)
Taylor Massa (.640 - 16/25)
Dan Yates (.667 - 14/21)
Max Huntley (.235 - 4/17)
Ben Apland (.500 - 9/18)
Senior/Junior Eric Grajales saw his 11-match winning streak snapped at the Big Ten Championships. Over the winning stretch, Grajales posted a perfect 8-0 Big Ten dual-meet record, earned three wins over nationally ranked opposition -- Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi (6-3, Feb. 17), Purdue's Ivan Lopouchanski (10-6, Feb. 3) and Nebraska's Jake Sueflohn (3-2, Jan. 11) -- and claimed six bonus wins. He is 18-5 in Big Ten dual competition over his career.
Grajales avenged an earlier-season loss to OSU's Scott Sakaguchi at the National Duals, using a pair of first-period takedowns to defeat the then-seventh-ranked Beaver wrestler, 6-3. Grajales gave up no offensive points, sacrificing only an escape, a locked-hands call and a stall call. The Wolverine dropped a 9-6 decision to Sakaguchi in November.
Freshman Taylor Massa leads the Wolverine team with a 25-8 record. Massa also leads in two bonus categories with five pins and seven technical falls. The U-M rookie has earned bonus points in 16 of 25 wins this season (64 percent) and, excluding pins, has outscored his opposition, 297-126. Three of his season losses have come by just two points.
Q: Is this your favorite time of year? What do you like about this time of year?
A: I always did as a student-athlete and a competitor, and I do as a coach. This is what the season is all about. It's a great tournament with a lot of highs and lows. It can be a little stressful on a coach. There's definitely some anxiety that comes along with it. But I'm excited.
Q: Do you think these guys are peaking right now? It's been a long season; do you think that they're where they need to be at the end?
A: I think so. They've got a little extra pep in their step this week. I think they're excited about it. We've had some good workouts -- intense, short and crisp workouts. From that standpoint, I think it's been good sign. But you've got to make your breaks at this tournament. We've been talking a lot about how they need to compete to get where they want to be. You've got to be aggressive and take control of these matches. They know what they need to do, and we'll need to do that this week.
Q: What do you do in preparation? What are practices like in the last week of the season?
A: We did some team stuff this week -- things that we saw at Big Tens that we need to continue to work on. I think, for the most part, the guys are doing a really good job with that. We also did some individual work. Something that one particular guy needs to work on might be different than something that another guy needs to work on. So, we did a little bit of both.
Q: Were you pleased with the overall effort at Big Tens? Did you see progression from the dual season?
A: We did a lot of good things at the Big Ten. I thought we showed improvement, and I thought our guys showed aggressiveness. We didn't win all the matches that we would have liked. There were some matches we'd like to have do-overs. But we flipped a lot of matches that we had lost during the season, and that was particularly good to see. I wish things would have gone a little better for Eric (Grajales). He didn't have great training going into it, but he's had good training since. He seems to be back to where he was.
Q: One guy in particular who went out and earned his NCAA bid was freshman Rossi Bruno. Is it important for him to get to NCAAs and have an opportunity to wrestle?
A: Absolutely. It's a great opportunity. We've been talking to him about not just being happy with going, and I don't think he is. He's excited about going and trying to make some noise. This is when you want to make a name for yourself. This is the type of experience that you can only get at the NCAA tournament.
U-M Individual Rankings
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines took sixth place at the Big Ten Championships behind nine individual placewinners. It is the program's most since similarly placing nine at the 2006 conference tournament. Senior/junior Sean Boyle headlined U-M's performance with a fourth-place finish at 125 pounds, while seven total wrestlers either matched or outplaced their Big Ten seed. The Wolverines also outplaced three teams who beat them during the dual-meet season. [ Recaps: Day 1 | Day 2 ]