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No. 9 MSU Hosts Conference Rival; Team Takes on Northwestern, Michigan


The Michigan State University wrestling team, No. 9 in the nation, will play host to conference rival Northwestern on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Jenison Field House, followed by No. 8 University of Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The Spartans defeated both teams on the road last season, downing Northwestern 18-17, and Michigan 20-18.

The MSU wrestlers finished fifth at the Cliff Keen National Dual Championships, last weekend in Lincoln, Neb. The tournament featured the top 16 teams in the nation, competing in a double-elimination, dual meet format.

In the first round, Michigan State easily defeated Pittsburgh-Johnstown, the No. 1 team in Division II, 28-9. The Spartans won seven of 10 matches, including the final four. The second round matched MSU against Oklahoma State in a rematch of their Dec. 14 meeting. OSU upended the Green and White 36-3, the lone Spartan points coming by way of No. 4 Erich Harvey's (Sr., Allegan) 8-4 decision over No. 7 Mark Smith at 177 pounds.

In the second consolation round, State squared off against No. 23 Clarion, coming away with a 26-13 decision. In perhaps the best match of the entire tournament, the nation's top two 118-pounders battled into overtime with Clarion's Sheldon Thomas (No. 1) defeating No. 2 David Morgan (Jr., Ferndale), 5-3. The Spartans again put together a run at the end of the meet, winning six of the final seven matches to close out the dual. MSU then advanced to face No. 15 Oklahoma, defeating the Sooners 28-10 in the consolation bracket quarterfinals. Morgan bounced back to record a 6-4 decision over No. 4 Shane Valdez to start the meet, as MSU took seven of 10 bouts. In consolation semifinals, MSU took on the No. 5 team in the nation, Big Ten foe Minnesota, which sent the Spartans to the fifth-place meet with a 28-9 defeat.

In their final action of the tournament, the Spartans grabbed a 19-16 decision from No. 3 Iowa State in the fifth-place meet. No. 5 Brian Picklo (Sr., Saginaw) led the way, decisioning No. 9 Matt Mulvihill 10-4 at 190 pounds.

The All-American trio of Morgan, Picklo and Harvey again led the Spartans, going 4-2, 5-1 and 3-2, respectively, for the tournament...With his 5-1 slate at the Dual Championships, Harvey increased his school-record career win total to 132; his two falls on the weekend give him 10 for the season, raising his career total to 31, fifth on the MSU career list...Other Spartans competing at the National Duals: Jason Nusbaum (Fr., Centerville), 0-6 for the tournament at 126 pounds; Issac Miller (So., Flint), 2-4 at 134; Sam Hakim (Fr., Randolph, NJ), 4-2 at 142; Adam Elderkin (Fr., Sand Lake), 1-5 at 150; Greg DeGrand (So., Ann Arbor), 2-4 at 158; Will Hill (Fr., Indianapolis, IN), 3-1 at 167; Ralph Conte (Sr., Cleveland, OH), 1-1 at 167; Nick Muzashvili (Fr., Unatego, NY), 1-0 at 190; Marco Sanchez (Jr., Brooklyn, NY), 1-2 at HWT; and Jason Peterson (Sr., Garden City), 1-2 at HWT.

Selected Michigan State dual meets will be televised on a tape delayed basis by PASS Sports this season. The Jan. 12 Spartan dual with Penn State will be televised Thursday, Jan. 27 at 9:00 p.m.

The latest Amateur Wrestling News rankings are available on the Internet at The Michigan State University athletics homepage can be found at

"The team has matured a lot during the last few weeks, and our younger wrestlers faced extremely tough competition and performed well. Sam Hakim, in particular, wrestled well going 4-2 at the Team Duals, and Greg DeGrand has a huge fall for us in the win over Iowa State. Beating Iowa State (No. 3 nationally) in the sixth dual meet of the weekend really was a significant accomplishment for this team. It's been a brutal last two weeks competition-wise, but the team is better off because of it.

On Northwestern: "Northwestern always is a solid team and usually finishes in the middle of the pack at the Big Ten meet, so that's very respectable. We're certainly not the type of team that can overlook anyone, so we'll need to be prepared."

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