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.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with most of what you're saying; it's been good to watch several of the younger guys who are starting to emerge, especially Boyle, Stevens, and Zeerip. Boyle, more than anyone would have benefitted from a redshirt year; right now he doesn't quite have the horsepower to dominate in Div. I. Stevens always wrestles tough as nails, and it shows even in his losses. Zeerip seems to love working from the tie, but should really try to open things up and work his shot, which is very good.

    This was the first time I saw Apland wrestle, and although he needs more size, he appears to be starting to hold his own. Trost's work is starting to pay off.