Michigan rolls to Mat Town title
Wolverines take five of six in final round to earn team crown
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- No. 8 Michigan crowned five individual champions en route to the team title at the Mat Town Invitational on Thursday at Lock Haven's Thomas Fieldhouse. The Wolverines, who boasted 11 total placewinners, accumulated 141 points in their first Mat Town appearance, finishing 15 points ahead of runner-up Pittsburgh.
Michigan won five of the six championship matches it had wrestlers in, earning shutout victories in all five as senior Zac Stevens, senior Kellen Russell, sophomore Dan Yates, senior Justin Zeerip and junior Ben Apland won titles.
|Mat Town Invitational Team Results|
|8||Franklin & Marshall||27.5|
|• Complete brackets|
Stevens, Yates and Apland captured their titles in similar fashion, using escapes and rideouts to claim 2-0 shutout decisions in their respective championship matches. Stevens defeated Pittsburgh's 19th-ranked Shelton Mack in the 133-pound championship -- his second win against the Panther wrestler this season -- after riding out the second period and earning an immediate escape in the third. Stevens, ranked 15th in the latest InterMat poll, earned a pair of bonus wins in the preliminary rounds, including a quick first-period pin against Franklin & Marshall's Robert Ruiz.
Yates earned a mild upset against Drexel's 16th-ranked Joe Booth in the 165-pound final on a second-period escape and subsequent third-period rideout. He opened the tournament with back-to-back major decisions against Drexel's Anson Worrell (14-1) and Bloomsburg's Chris Smith (13-2). The tournament title was the second for Yates this season.
Apland avenged an earlier loss to Kent State's 15th-ranked Brendan Barlow with his 2-0 heavyweight championship win. He earned his points on a second-period rideout and a third-period escape. Apland, ranked 18th, went 3-0 and claimed bonus points on a major decision in the quarterfinals and a semifinal pin against Drexel's Kyle Frey.
Russell went 4-0 with four bonus wins at 141 pounds, including an 8-0 major decision against Kent State's 12th-ranked Tyler Small in the championship. A Wolverine captain, ranked second, converted on takedowns in the first and third periods, earned a third-period reversal and added an escape and riding time to cruise to his second tournament win of the season. Russell is 16-1 on the season.
Zeerip used a big second period to cruise past Pittsburgh's Ethan Headlee in the 174-pound championship, earning a quick escape before finishing on a single leg and riding out the period. He ended the match with 1:10 in time advantage. It was his second win over Headlee this season. Zeerip, ranked fifth, went 3-0 en route to his second tournament title and earned falls in both of his earlier matches. He improved to 14-1 on the season.
Michigan's additional finalist, freshman Max Huntley dropped a narrow 3-1 decision to Pittsburgh's sixth-ranked Matt Wilps on an early takedown in the 197-pound final. Huntley went 3-1 in the tournament, opening the day with back-to-back pins in the preliminary rounds.