Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Michigan goes 1-1, Noone is surprised.

Michigan 22, Newberry 13
Michigan 9, Kent State 28

Sunday, Michigan wrestled its last meet before taking a break for Christmas, and again I cannot find video of it. This should get a lot better during the actual Big 10 season, as they do a decent job providing wrestling coverage, either on tv or online, as should any preview posts, which are a lot easier when I already know most of a teams lineup. Not that there would be a whole lot to watch here, Michigan beat a very good DII team in Newberry, 22-13, then lost to a pretty good DI team in Kent State, 23-9. Not a bad day really, Newberry is actually a decent test for some of the wrestlers, and Kent has some very good wrestlers and one outstanding one. On to the bullet points.

Sean Boyle: Boyle had his first 2-0 day Sunday, earning decisions over Troy Opfer of Kent State and DII #3 Matt Oliver. Pretty good day for Boyle, who has been struggling to adjust to college wrestling so far. They might not be great wins, but they are wins you can build on, and thats what this team needs the most right now, some serious building.

Zac Stevens: Steven's continues to wrestle tough, going 1-1 for the day, winning a 9-3 decision over Newberry's Sheridan Moran, and losing a 10-5 decision to #11 Danny Mitcheff of Kent State. I've really been impressed by Steven's this year, he's wrestled tough in every match, most of which, if not all, have been decisions. Judging from the score it looks like Mitcheff scored pretty well on his feet, but Stevens didn't give up any back points and was able to save team points by keeping him to only a decision. It takes a lot of pride and toughness to fight like that for 7 minutes against a more talented opponenent, especially when your team doesn't really have a realistic shot to win the meet, and that kind of toughness is a great thing to have on a wrestling team.

Mark Weber: Ugh, Weber had a frustrating day. He gave up 4 points, yet lost 2 matches, 2-1 to Deral Brown of Newberry, and 2-0 to Chase Skonieczn of Kent State. I guess its nice that he kept it close, but he's a sophomore, who was a 4 time state champ in high school. You'd like him to beat the mediocre kids, or at least take them down. Hopefully he does manage to put it together and become an NCAA qualifier type wrestler, I loved his offense in high school. I do love me some knee picks.

Mark Beaudry: Beaudry was another wrestler who went 0-2, dropping a 16-6 major decision to Latra Collick of Newberry and getting pinned in 4:46 by #11 Matt Cathell of Kent State.

Dave Johnson: Johnson went 1-1 Sunday, both of which were fairly close matches. He opened by defeating Mike Rogers of Newberry 4-1, and then dropped a 7-4 decision to Mallie Schuster of Kent State. Decent wrestling by Johnson here, nothing to get overly excited about, but solid, he beat a wrestler he should beat and was in the match against someone that was a little better than him.

Aaron Hynes: Hynes was the 2nd Wolverine to go 2-0, majoring Newberry's Josh Whitelock 16-4 and beating Kent State's Ross Trice 7-5. Definetly a good day for Hynes, he dominated an inferior wrestler and then was able to come up in crunch time against an opponent at about his level. Just another step in the building process for the program, as Hynes isn't really an All-American threat yet, but he might have a better record at NCAA's this year than he did last.

Justin Zeerip: Zeerip was, hands down, the most impressive Wolverine wrestler in either match. Against Newberry he pinned Curtis Chenoweth, 3:39 in, and then proceeded to tear up Keith witt of Kent State, 7-1, one takedown short of a major. Zeerip really is progressing nicely this year, when it opened it looked as though he couldn't shake the dissapointment of his freshman year, but he has really come on lately. If he can harness his ability, he will be an All-American caliber athlete, as he has talent to spare.

Hunter Collins & Erich Smith: Collins and Smith both competed at 184 and 197 on Sunday. Due to the abscence of Anthony Biondo, sidelined with a knee injury, Michigan had to bump one of their 184 Lb'ers up to 197 for both the meet against Kent State and Newberry. Early results were promising, as Collins scored 8 3rd period points on DII #2 Bryant Blanton to close the match at 184 to a one point, 12-11 decision by the end, and Smith took DII #1 Keeno Griffin to Sudden Victory overtime before losing 2-1 at 197. They couldn't hang with Kent States uppers though, Smith was pinned at 184 by #3 Dustin Kilgore, and Collins was handily defeated, 15-6, by Adam Cogar.

Ben Apland: Highly touted Hwy recruit Ben Apland made his dual meet debut sunday, notching a 7-1 decision over Newberry's Steven Butler, and losing 5-3 to #19 Brendan Barlow of Kent State. Pretty good debut if you ask me, fairly dominant first match and a very close match to a ranked wrestler? I mean, he's no Devin Pommeranke, but he might be better this year than I thought. Especially because last years starter, Eddie Phillips, has sat out the last 2 meets.

Really, not an awful day. It sucks to lose, especially to a team from Ohio, but thats life when you're in the midst of a down year. You can see the talent in this team starting to develop, Boyle getting better, Hynes winning matches, Apland wrestling well, Zeerip starting to showcase his incredible ability. It's certainly not pretty, and the bevy of injuries don't help, but the foundation is being laid here to build a champion in 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cliff Keen: The Aftermath

Yeeck, another bad weekend for Michigan wrestling, as the hits just keep on coming. Just bullets as I've been incredibly busy in Richmond's wrestling room.

Sean Boyle: Boyle went 2-2 over the weekend, losing to 2 ranked wrestlers and beating 2 unranked ones. He lost a 7-2 decision to #11 Jared Patterson of Oklahoma, and a 10-5 decision to #17 Andre Gonzalez of Cal State Fullerton. Boyle might suffer this year due to an incredibly tough schedule, but he should be better for it in the future.

Zac Stevens: Steven's undefeated run came to an end in Las Vegas, losing 7-6 to #19 David Marble of Bucknell in his second match. Stevens finished the tournament 3-2, after losing 7-2 to #13 Steve Mytych of Drexel. Stevens might see some time ranked this year, as he has been hanging tough against good kids, even knocking off a few.

Mark Weber: Weber was a little unlucky, he drew his first match against #17 Kenny Hashimoto of Northern Colorado, and he lost 9-2. He finished 1-2 on the tourney, with no more matches against ranked opponents. A little dissapointing actually, I had hoped Weber could step in down a weight and be more competitive. It's too bad Kellen Russel is redshirting, this tournament is where he made his name, and shot up from outside the top 20 to ranked # 3 his freshman year.

Mark Beaudry: Beaudry went 1-2 over the weekend, his only ranked opponent was a respectable 11-7 loss to #18 Desmond Green of Buffalo to knock him out of the consolation bracket. Beaudry's obviously in a tough spot, and I'm personally amazed he has the strength to continue wrestling so soon. He's a better man than me.

Dave Johnson: Johnson scored the biggest upset in wrestling at the tournament, or even this year, when he gave #1 and returning National Champion Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska his first loss in 2 years. Granted, it may have been an Inj. Default because Burroughs tooth was knocked out, but still, take what you can get. He wasn't so lucky in the next match, dropped an 11-2 major to #14 Bryce Saddoris of Navy. He then lost his first match in consolations to drop to 3-2 on the tournament. Disregarding the fluke Inj. Default win over a far better wrestler, Johnson still had a good tournament, destroying some inferior competition and hanging in there with better wrestlers, including a 9-4 loss to previously ranked Colton Salazar.

Aaron Hynes: Hynes was another wrestler with a bad draw, dropping his first match wrestled to #17 P.J. Gillespie of Hofstra. Hynes then wrestled well, winning 2 matches, before dropping an 11-10 battle to someone whose full name appears on the bracket at "T Edwards" of Az. State. I'm kind of dissapointed he didn't do better, as I think Hynes should be beating kids around the #17-20 range, but he lost 2 close matches to decent wrestlers, so not an awful weekend.

Justin Zeerip: Zeerip had one of the better tournaments for Michigan wrestlers, and wrestled good enough to earn his first appearence on the national rankings, debuting at #19. Zeerip won 3 straight matches to start, including a 2-0 decision over Tyler French, who had just beaten the 4 seed and currenty #14 Nate Lee of Boise St. in a 4-3 decision. His first loss was a 6-2 decision at the hands of #7 Luke Manuel of Purdue. He finished the tournament 5-3, including a 2-1 decision over #20 David Rella of Ohio St, a 4-1 loss to #11 Ryan Patrovich of Hofstra, and a 3-2 loss to #8 Jeff James of Oklahoma. This tournament was a very good sign of his future, as he is starting to hang with the big boys and pose a real threat to knock someone off. Great sign for the future of Michigan wrestling, as Zeerip's success looks to be key to the success of the program.

Erich Smith: Smith had a quiet tournament, going 1-2, and wrestling zero ranked kids. I'm not sure what to say... I'd like to see what Hunter Collins has, but McFarland knows what he's doing. This is probably the teams biggest hole though...although 41 hurts a little more because we were supposed to be so good there.

Anthony Biondo: Probably the only Wolverine to have a better day than Justin Zeerip was Anthony Biondo, who sees his ranking shoot all the way up to #5 in the country after the tournament. Biondo's shot up the rankings is due almost entirely to him knocking off the #2 seed, and former Michigan 2 time state champ, now #6 Cam Simaz of Cornell. Of course, as with everything in Michigan sports, we can't just enjoy that, as Biondo had to injury default out to 6th place with a sprained MCL. Still, excellent wrestling by Biondo to knock off Simaz, 8-6, and really cement himself as an All-American caliber athlete. Now we just have to hope for a full and speedy recovery.

Ben Apland: I was a little surprised to see Apland here instead of Phillips, but I guess the coaches want to test him this year to make sure he's ready. He did OK in his first big time college action. He was 2-2 against no ranked wrestlers, notchign 2 pins, getting pinned once and decisioned once. Not a bad debut, though this weight class wasn't as ridiculously stacked as many of the others where

Overall, not an awful performance by Michigan, they just don't have the studs to really compete this year. Great to see Zeerip and Biondo step up their game on the big stage though, especially since both will be back next year, where the team will be much better. Good to see Steven's performign well too, its always good when athletes are rewarded for their hard work. Maybe they can work him somewhere into next years lineup even with Grajales expected to start.