The Wolverine

May 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  NCAA tournament: wrestling Injury-Riddled Wolverines Conclude Difficult Season The Michigan wrestling program has a great tradition of performing well on the biggest stage. Owners of eight top‑10 finishes at the NCAA Championships over the past decade, Michigan usually has high expectations for the season's culminating event. However, this year fate dealt them an ugly hand that proved impossible to overcome. Last season, Kellen Russell claimed his second of two consecutive individual na‑ tional championships. The Redshirt junior Sean Boyle (125 pounds) was one graduation of both Russell of six U-M wrestlers eliminated on day two of the and Zac Stevens, however, NCAA Championships, resulting in a 33rd-place team meant that this season Michi‑ finish. photo courtesy michigan athletic media relations gan had no All-Americans on its roster for the first time since 1990. An influx of eight freshmen joined the program, and major injuries to junior Brandon Zeerip and sophomore Jake Salazar, both redshirts, forced the Wolverines to wrestle backups and walkons at a number of key weights. Quite simply, it was a year of major change. Coming off a sixth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, U-M appeared to have reason for optimism. However, the regular season had left them bat‑ tered and bruised. The trip to Des Moines, Iowa, for the NCAA Championships provided a chance for an improved showing, but Michigan turned in a mediocre performance on day two, when all six of its participants were eliminated with a second loss. Entering the aforementioned day two, there was a sense of finality in the air — Michigan would either rise up and finish the day in decisive fashion, or it would succumb courtesy of its depleted roster. A few freshmen tried to step up to the challenge, but the Maize and Blue's thin depth got the better of them. One of those freshmen, Taylor Massa, lost by a sizable margin in the AllAmerican session of the 165-pound weight class. He was defeated soundly by Iowa State's Michael Moreno, 17-2. Massa was also previously beaten, 3-1, by Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell. Redshirt junior Sean Boyle owed some payback to his opponent in the

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