ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team kicked off 2014 in commanding style, cruising to a 28-10 victory over future Big Ten Conference opponent Maryland on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 5) at Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines won seven individual matches, earning bonus points in four.
The dual started at heavyweight — the scorecard’s tightest matchup — and freshman Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) secured his second win over seventh-ranked Spencer Myers in week with a 4-1 decision. After earning two escapes in the second, including one on injury time, Coon, ranked No. 3 in the latest InterMat poll, iced the match with a late single-leg takedown. He improved to 20-0 on the season.
The Wolverines followed the marquee match with back-to-back wins at the lowerweights. Like Coon, sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS) repeated his Midlands result against Billy Rappo at 125 pounds, rallying from an early deficit to win 6-2 on a first-period double leg, second-period reversal and third-period rideout. Sophomore Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) dominated Paul O’Neill at 133 pounds, scoring nine takedowns and a late three-point tilt in the third to earn a 22-7 technical fall — the first of his collegiate career.
Maryland put its first points on the board with a narrow decision at 141 pounds, but the Wolverines responded with four straight wins — earning bonus in three — to seal up the dual victory.
Fifth-year senior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS), ranked eighth, pinned Josh Snook early in the 165-pound match, converting on a quick single leg before using a head scoop to stick the Terrapin wrestler at 1:21 mark. Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) and senior/junior Collin Zeerip (Fremont, Mich./Hesperia HS) also earned bonus points with major decisions at 149 and 174 pounds, respectively.
Grajales, ranked 12th, cruised past Frank Goodwin, scoring on an early single leg and three-point turn in the first, two reversals in the second and another three-point bow and arrow in the third. He wrapped the match with 5:21 in riding-time advantage to cap a 13-2 victory. Zeerip boasted a similar five-point start against Tony Gardner before adding three takedowns, three more back points and 3:18 time advantage en route to a 17-3 major decision.
Freshman Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS) returned to the lineup at 157 pounds, where he used a late takedown to clinch a 3-1 decision against Ben Dorsay. With the score tied midway through the third period, Murphy, ranked 16th, shot in deep on a single leg and locked up a cradle on the edge to secure the winning takedown. Maryland challenged the takedown but were denied as Murphy claimed his first collegiate dual win.
With Michigan’s team win secure, the Terrapins narrowed the final score with victories from their top-10 upperweights in the final two bouts. Senior/junior Chris Heald (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS) took 10th-ranked Christian Boley to overtime at 197 pounds before narrowly losing 3-1 on a high crotch midway through the extra frame.
The Wolverines (4-2) will kick off Big Ten competition next Friday (Jan. 10), hosting Purdue at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena.