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Spartans Hope to get on Track; No. 9 MSU Heads to Nebraska, Home for Northwestern

Sat./Sun., Jan. 18/19 at National Dual Championships, Lincoln, NE All Day
Sunday,Jan. 26 NORTHWESTERN, Jenison Fieldhouse 1:00p.m.

The Michigan State University wrestling team, ranked No. 9 nationally, travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take part in the National Team Dual Championships this Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 18-19. The two- day event features the top teams in the nation based on Amateur Wrestling News rankings, competing in a double-elimination dual meet format. Twelve Division I schools highlight the field, joined by four of the elite schools from Division II and III to round out the 16-team field.

At last year's Championships, the Spartans finished fourth, defeating Pittsburgh, Central Oklahoma, and Penn State, and tying North Carolina along the way.

The MSU grapplers suffered a pair of conference defeats last weekend, dropping a 26-10 decision to defending Big Ten and National Champion Iowa on Saturday, and a 19-18 heartbreaker to No. 4 Penn State on Sunday.

Against Iowa, all 10 Spartan points came from their three All-Americans. At 118 pounds, No. 2 David Morgan (Jr., Ferndale) recorded a 19-7 major decision over Jessie Whitmer, defeating Whitmer for the second time this season. No. 4 Erich Harvey (Sr., Allegan) picked up a 7-1 decision over Tony Ersland at 177 pounds. And in a rematch of last years Big Ten Championship at 190 pounds, No. 5 Brian Picklo (Sr., Saginaw) downed No. 2 Lee Fullhart in a 3-2 thriller.

The Green and White fared better versus Penn State on Sunday, losing 19-18 on the final match of the day. Morgan put MSU on top right away, getting a tough 4-2 decision over Jeremy Hunter. Isaac Miller followed suit at 134 pounds, upsetting No. 5 Biff Walizer 5-3 in overtime. At 158 pounds, Greg DeGrand picked up three more points with a 6-2 victory over Brian Romesburg. Harvey and Picklo then put MSU ahead again, with Harvey pinning Frank Morici in 4:38, and Picklo taking 6-3 decision from Rob Neidlinger. No. 1 Kerry McCoy picked up six points for Penn State at heavyweight to clinch the meet for the Nittany Lions.

Michigan State is led into the National Dual Championships by their trio of All- Americans: Both Morgan and Harvey were a perfect 6-0 at the championships last season, while Picklo finished 4-2, leading the Spartans to a fourth place finish...With his pin of Morici, Harvey took sole possession of fifth place on the school's career falls list, with 29... Picklo gained sole possession of fifteenth place on the MSU career wins list with his two victories this weekend. He now has 79 career wins.

Selected Michigan State dual meets will be televised on a tape delayed basis by PASS Sports this season. The Spartan dual with Iowa can be seen on Monday, January 23rd, at 7:00 p.m., followed by the Penn State meet on Thursday, January 27th, 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 http://spartans.

"The competition will be pretty stiff at the National Team Duals, and we're looking forward to the challenge. We have shown definite improvement each week in the last month, and I'm looking for continued improvement.

"You always hope the young guys will mature quickly. Sometimes they do, and other times they just get frustrated. The thing I'm most pleased with is how this group has handled the level of competition as the season progresses."

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