The Wolverine

January 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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C By Andy Reid all it luck, leadership or just plain hard work — but some sort of mojo seems to follow Taylor Massa as he progresses through his wrestling career. When Massa, now a true freshman in the 165-pound weight class at Michigan, earned a spot in the St. Johns (Mich.) High School varsity wrestling team as a ninth grader, the Redwings had never had an individual state champion and hadn't claimed a team state title since 1960. That year, Massa and five others on the team went to the individual state finals. Massa won the 145-pound championship. Over the next three seasons, Massa claimed three more individual titles (at 152, 160 and 171 pounds), posting an incredible 231-0 record and earning ASICS High School All-America honors as a junior and a senior. And St. Johns won the Michigan state championship in each of his final three years. "We turned that program around and just shot it straight to the top," Massa said. "I feel like we're doing the same thing here. "I think we can place top five at NCAAs. With how young or team is that will be a great accomplishment, and in the very near future we're looking to win a national title." The Wolverines have just two seniors on the roster this season — heavyweight Ben Apland and 165-pounder Mark Boyer, both fifthyear seniors — but they are stocked with young talent that is quickly adapting to the college game. Through Dec. 14, Michigan had posted a 6-1 record in dual meets — with big victories over then-No.  18 Pitt, 16-15, and then-No.  10 Oregon State, 21-18, in Corvallis, Ore. — and was ranked No. 32 in the nation by Intermat. At the annual prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, the Wolverines scored 52.5 points to finish 12th in the 32-team field. "I think we had a pretty good first semester," Michigan coach Joe McFarland said. "But we are not where we want to be yet. "These guys are working hard and have done everything we've asked, but we need to work on our toughness. We need to see more bullies in the practice room. I want to see that 70  the wolverine    January 2013 Young And Dangerous A Roster Stocked With Talent And Potential Is Working Hard To Improve Redshirt junior captain Dan Yates boasted a perfect 10-0 record and was ranked No.  12 nationally in the 174-pound weight class by Intermat as of mid-December. photo courtesy michigan athletic media relations

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