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Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Cliff Keen Wrestling Club preparing Olympic hopefuls and more college notes

By Matt Durr

During his time at Michigan, Tyrell Todd was a three-time All-American and won a Big Ten crown in 2009 at 197 pounds.

After leaving to coach at Cal-Poly, Todd recently returned to train at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club in Ann Arbor. This weekend, that training could result in a spot on the United States Olympic team for the 2012 London Games.

Todd and six other wrestlers from the club will be competing at the U.S Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, with a chance to live out a lifelong dream.

“I’m wrestling the best I ever have right now; there’s no question about that in my mind,” Todd said. “A lot of that is just due to this great environment we have here. Outstanding coaching, and great coaches that help us tweak little things. We have some of the best wrestlers in the world working out here.”

Jimmy Kennedy is another three-time All-American training at the club. Kennedy, who wrestled for the University of Illinois, said he thinks that the club's high level of competition keeps the wrestlers sharp.

“Coming here allowed me to grow into the freestyle wrestler that I am today,” Kennedy said. “They do a good job here of getting you the training that you need.”

Michigan wrestler Kellen Russell, fresh off his second national championship at 141 pounds, has begun training with the club. He earned a wildcard selection for the trials and also will be competing for a shot at the Olympic team.

Sean Bormet, an assistant coach for the Michigan wrestling team and the club's head coach, said the camaraderie is a key component to what has made the club successful thus far.

“I think it’s helped them improve as a group. They’re a competitive group, but it’s a healthy competition,” Bormet said. “Just the overall dynamics that are here are healthy. They know what it takes to get better.”

With the trials beginning Saturday, Bormet said he's focused on preparing his wrestlers for the weekend.

“A lot of focus is on recovery and letting their bodies recharge. They’ve done the work, their confidence is really high, and they’re going to go in and be prepared to win,” Bormet said.

With a chance to live out his dream, Todd said he agrees that he is prepared. Now, it’s just a matter of execution.

“For me, it’s something that I’ve thought about so much. It’s about clearing my mind and getting the work done and before I know it, it’s going to be here,” he said.

U-M men’s tennis team streaking as season winds down

As the final weekend of the regular season approaches, the U-M men’s tennis team is streaking at the right time, according to head coach Bruce Berque.

“I think we’re probably at our best. I think overall as a team, we have an understanding of what we need to do to compete,” Berque said. “I definitely don’t feel like we’ve maxed out.”

Having won six matches in a row and 11 of their last 12 contests, the Wolverines currently sit at No. 21 in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Sunday, the Wolverines travel to Columbus to face rival No. 3 Ohio State with a chance to claim the Big ten title. Michigan is 8-1 in conference play, and the Buckeyes are unbeaten. Should the Wolverines beat Penn State on Friday, it would set up a showdown with OSU for the conference title.

“It’s human nature to think about that and look ahead, but our guys have done a good job all year of making the next match the most important. We definitely have respect for Penn State. Right now, our goal is to beat Penn State and give ourselves a chance," Berque said.

“We knew that Ohio State was going to be the team to beat. Our guys have had a goal all year to have that match be for the championship.”

EMU athletes named to all-academic teams

Six athletes from Eastern Michigan University have earned Mid American Conference All-Academic team honors.

Terefe Ejigu, Joshua George and Grzegorz Kalinowski from the men’s indoor track and field team earned the honor. From the women’s track and field team, Meghan Powers and Kate Wolanin were selected and from the women’s basketball team, Natachia Watkins earned the honor.

To qualify for the award, athletes must have a grade-point average of 3.20 or higher and play in more than 50 percent of their team's games.

U-M, EMU athletes earn weekly awards

EMU pitcher Joe Battistelli has been named the MAC West Pitcher of the Week. Last week, Battistelli earned a win and a save while striking out seven batters in 3 1/3 innings of work. This is the second time in his career that Battistelli has won the award.

EMU runner Shantavia Williams won the MAC Track Athlete of the Week for her performance at the Jesse Owens Classic. Williams was a key part of two relay teams that finished second during the competition and set a new conference standard with her time of 53.26 seconds in the 400-meter dash.

U-M softball players Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga have been named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively.

Wagner was 2-0 during the weekend and earned a save while pitching 13 2/3 scoreless innings. This is the fourth time this season Wagner has won the award.

Driesenga earned her second award of the season after batting .600 with a home run and two RBIs during the weekend. She also picked up a win as the starting pitcher in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Michigan State.

Upcoming home schedule:


EMU women’s tennis — 1 p.m. vs. Bowling Green at the Chippewa Club

U-M men’s tennis — 4 p.m. vs. Penn State at Varsity Tennis Center

U-M baseball — 6:05 p.m. vs. Northwestern at Wilpon Complex


EMU women’s tennis — 1 p.m. vs. Western Michigan at the Chippewa Club

U-M baseball — 1:05 p.m. vs. Northwestern at Wilpon Complex


U-M women’s tennis — noon vs. Ohio State at Varsity Tennis Center

U-M baseball — 1:05 p.m. vs. Northwestern at Wilpon Complex