With only a week to prepare before the start of the beginning of the Big Ten conference season, the No. 17 Michigan wrestling team had two goals this weekend: win and stay healthy.

Neither was fully accomplished as the Wolverines beat Binghamton 39-6 but lost to Virginia Tech 22-15 in back-to-back duals Saturday afternoon at Cliff Keen Arena.

With Aaron Hynes (157 pounds) already out with a shoulder injury, Michigan was already shorthanded. But the Wolverines were dealt a huge blow when fourth-ranked sophomore Kellen Russell (141 pounds) suffered a knee injury halfway through his match.

Russell completed his first bout but was forced to sit out of the match against Virginia Tech later in the day. Redshirt sophomore Mike Sears filled in and lost 15-0, putting his team in a deficit from which it could never recover.

“I think we should be all right by next weekend,” Michigan coach Joe McFarland said. “With Kellen, we just couldn’t take a chance on it and making (the knee) worse before the Big Ten season got started.”

With his teammates hurting, senior Tyrel Todd, fresh off of a knee injury himself, picked up the slack. Todd pinned his opponent in his first match and won by disqualification in his second to end the weekend undefeated.

Against Virginia Tech, Todd had a 17-3 lead before the Hokies’ D.J. Bruce was whistled for his fifth stalling call, disqualifying him from the match.

The sixth-ranked Todd tore his ACL in a match on Dec. 6 but missed just one dual meet before returning to the mat.

“(The knee) is definitely not 100 percent,” Todd said. “But I’m learning to wrestle with it and just trying to keep in the right mindset. I’m just doing what works for me and what I have had success with in the past.”

Freshman Zac Stevens also stepped up for the young Wolverines. The Monroe native, one of just three wrestlers to start in every match this year, came out of the gates quickly with an 18-3 victory over Binghamton’s Rob Slavin.

Against Virginia Tech, he prevented an escape on a reset with five seconds left to squeak out a 7-6 win.

“He is winning these matches because he is out-toughing and out-hustling these guys,” McFarland said. “I love his style of wrestling. He is in it the whole time and he is going to give everything he can to win that match. That kid’s got a lot of heart.”

The 133-pounder wrestles in arguably the Big Ten’s toughest weight class, with six of 11 wrestlers ranked in the top 20, including the top three wrestlers in the nation.

“I just view it as another person to wrestle,” Stevens said. “I just try to keep working hard, keep getting better every day and get as much wrestling in as I can. I made a lot of improvements this week that helped me out a lot today. I’m moving my feet more and I’m taking more shots.”

The Wolverines will need Russell and Hynes healthy as they begin Big Ten play with two meets this weekend. They face No. 19 Northwestern on Saturday, which features a pair of top-20 wrestlers in the 141-pound and 157-pound weight classes, and end the weekend Sunday against No. 21 Indiana.

“The Big Ten is the toughest conference in wrestling,” Todd said. “Every weekend, you have a top-notch competitor. You have to be ready to go every weekend.”

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