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January 23, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-23

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6A - Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Huntley, Massa make best of season off the mat

By ZACH SHAW low on glory, Massa
Daily Sports Writer must lead their tea
the sideline. Coach
Grunts could be heard from waiting fortheir ow
outside the gym. Inside, two to shine again.
Michigan wrestlers in sweat-
soaked gray shirts took turns **
pummeling each other. It was
20 minutes before practice Massa was fumi
was set to start, but sophomore can't turn back time
Taylor Massa and his opponent 17-2 to unranked Iov
were fighting at an intensity tier Michael Moren
usually reserved for the most American spot on ti
important matches. was set to begin a 2
The four coaches watching tus from competing
created a wall outside the ring, Forcing his wayi
but beyond the mat over their ing lineup as a
shoulders, junior Max Huntley true freshman,
could be seen helping a teammate the former No.
with his technique. Though 2 high school
not wrestling, Huntley's facial wrestler in the
expression also held the same nation showed
intensity as those on the mat. he belonged,
Lost in Michigan wrestling's winning a
breakout season are the leaders team-best
of last season, who, for different 27 matches.
reasons, must watch the season But from the
unfold from the sidelines. Massa, moment the
last year's freshman sensation, is buzzer sounded
taking a painfully long redshirt and ended his 2
season. Huntley, the journeyman paign, Massa kn
who had battled his way through would sting for a l
the ranks to be named captain, is A mid-college
recovering from his second sea- redshirt - a co
son-ending injury in four years. tice among elite w
The pair are two of the designed to help atf
Wolverines' best wrestlers. But theirbodies and skil
in erna" ^frc nn nti n n n- n~tn -- -n n-' r

a and Huntley week or dealing with a daunting
immates from schedule of competition. While it
ing, cheering, appears Massa will emerge stron-
n opportunity ger in November, havingto watch
the season unfold without being
in the ring has been difficult.
"I love to compete, and I want
to be out there bad," Massa
ng, but anger said. "Going to the home duals;
e. After losing sitting in the bleachers, watching
wa State wres- everyone else is hard. Especially
o with an All- against Stanford when we had a
he line, Massa close loss and not being out there
0-month hia- really eats away at you. I want to
for Michigan. be wrestling, but I know I still
into the start- have my best years coming."
coach Joe
"I was mad ... McFarland:
"It'd r a be nice
but there was to have him in
our lnu, no
nothing I really doubt about
could do." it. But (senior
Dan Yates) is
doing a nice
job in that
weight class
012-13 cam- right now, so it's working itself
ew the loss out really well. But no question,
ong time. he's a great competitor, and we
non-medical can't wait to have him back."
mmon prac-
vrestlers - is *
hletes develop
is without the Huntley couldn't help but feel
weight every good. After a less-than-stellar
17-16 campaign last season, he
had charged full force into his
junior year with one goal: to be
an NCAA All-American. A long
shot, Huntley made tremendous
strides during the summer, which
he spent training in Ann Arbor.
The efforts didn't go unnoticedby
the coaches, who named Huntley
team captain despite being
just a junior and though other
teammates had superior records.
"We felt that the way he
approached everything and the
work he put in showed he had
matured a lot," McFarland said.
"He did a greatjob and was really
turning into a great leader. He
worked hard all summer, made
some great sacrifices to get
himself ready for a great year. He
was doing well in practice, on his
own, in the classroom and we just
felt he had the maturity, so we
GLZMAN/Oay selected him as our captain for
s year. the year."

Responding well to the leader-
ship role, Huntley had cruised to
a 4-1 start, looking like the All-
American he had long dreamt of
becoming. After winningthe first
round of the Cliff Keen Invita-
tional in Las Vegas 17-5, Huntley
was up four points on Northern
Iowa's Kyle Lux. With Lux on his
back and a pin well within reach,
Huntley clenched his grip, pre-
paring for the kill.
Then, it happened.
A desperation kick by Lux, a
shift of weight just large enough
to matter, stretched Huntley's
hold, tearinghis pectoral muscle.
Huntley's grip released. Though
not known at the time, it was
Huntley's last hold of the season.
"It happened quickly," Huntley
said. "He did the kick, and I lost
all the strength in my arm and
heard a pop, but I didn't think
it was that bad. My left side
cramped up and they stopped the
match, but I didn't really know
why. My arm hurt, but I thought
it was something minor. Then I
got anMRIand learned mywhole
pec was completely torn off, and
I'd miss the rest of the season.
"I was really mad for a while,
but there was nothing I really

Junior Max Huntley suffered his second season-ending injury this season.

could do."
quantitative lea
separation bets
in each weight
of the pack. "
far ahead of ev
school wrestler
sport makes itl
to dictate whe
the rankings w
to rebuild their
their skills w
time off.
The last wre
a jump was Ke
being named A
sophomore, Ru
year off, prepa
The wait paid
back-to-back c
close out his ca:
Massa shock
joining the el
high school a
falling just sho

American. Now, he's taking a year
off in hopes of mirroring Russell's
*** success. '
"When you're competing all
is a sport of the time, you've got to train smart
ps. There's a clear because you don't want to wear
ween the elite few your body down and be beat up
class and the rest for the tournaments coming up,"
Even the rest" is Massa said. "We talked about it
'en the best high- and thought it would be a good
's. The divide and year to just focus on develop-
nature of the ing my stuff and come back even
hard for wrestlers stronger next year."
re they belong in In the gym, McFarland has
ithout taking time seen a more focused and driven
bodies and refine Massa. That's translated to an18-1
ithout significant record in non-varsity action. But
in order to make the leap, McFar-
stler to make such land knows Massa will have to do
llen Russell. After more than just grunt work.
All-American as a "He's responded very well,"
issell took a long McFarland said. "But there are
ring for the leap. some habits we still want him to
off: Russell won focus on this year. Training at the
hampionships to right weight, nutrition, all those
reer: little things that great athletes do,
ed many by nearly even outside of the room, add up
ite directly from to being the best you can possibly
year ago before be. It's a24/7 lifestyle; you have to
rt of being an All- live it every day.

Sopnmore .ay.or Massa has gone 16-1 in non-vrity actinni!

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

RELEASE DATE- Thursday, January 23, 2014
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 69 More than 32 Castro of Cuba 47 Gotlthere
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(c)2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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"What we've been trying to
stress to him is that it isn't just
working hard, which he does, but
it's about doing the little things
and living the lifestyle."
Unfortunate as it is, this isn't
Huntley's first experience with
a season-ending injury. Minutes
into his collegiate debut, a fateful
turn tore his anterior cruciate
ligament, delaying his time as a
Michigan wrestler another year.
The ACL injury had a longer
recovery time, but there's no
doubt the pectoral tear hurts
more for Huntley, for he too was
ready to make the leap.
"I worked my ass off all last
year and all summer thinking
that this year would be the
year," Huntley said. "I was ready
to make a name for myself, to
be an All-American. Before, I
didn't have the confidence to
go as far, but this year I had it.
Everything was there. To just
have it all taken away so quickly
is beyond disappointing."
Despite the setback, Huntley is
determined to stay optimistic.
With what both McFarland and
Huntley deemed a "pretty good
shot" at obtaining a second
redshirt year, Huntley will
likely have two seasons left
as a Wolverine. With another
year comes another chance to
elevate his game.
"This could endupbeingone of
the best things to happen to me,"
Huntley said. "I've been doing a
lot of thinking about wrestling,
and I have two years left, maybe
one. And in no other time in my
life are people going to come from
all over and watch me compete.
"If I'm a businessman or a law-
yer, no one's going to come watch
me write papers all day. It sounds
corny, but it's my chance to be a
hero. I'm also starting to realize
how quickly you can lose it all too,
and I was taking that for granted
before. I'm twice as driven now
realizing the opportunity I have
to do somethingspecial."
The cheers can be heard
from outside the gym now. As
Michigan freshman sensation
Adam Coon slams a Purdue
wrestler to the mat, nearly
pinning him, the crowd at Cliff
Keen Arena rises to its feet.
Among those standing and
cheering in the stands is Massa.
That glory was once his, but
today Massa is confined to a seat
behind the Wolverine bench and
a uniform of a dark gray hoodie
and darker jeans.
Closer to the action is Huntley.
He's remained the team's captain,
and he cheers passionately in
khaki pants and blue polo, an out-
fit normally reserved for coaches.
As the Wolverines defeat Min-
nesota 19-14 to win their Big Ten
debut, the two sidelined leaders
of the team remain standing. It's a
tale of two different stories in one
long season. One stands in antici-
pation for greatness to come; the
other hopes that an unfair, year-
long setback proves to be a detour
to a long, legendary journey.



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