No. 7 MSU Faces Top Teams; No. 1 Iowa, No. 4 Penn State Come to Town

UP NEXT
Saturday, Jan. 11 IOWA Jenison Field House 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12 PENN STATE Jenison Field House Noon

THIS WEEK
The Michigan State University wrestling team, ranked No. 7 nationally entering this week, hosts a pair of formidable dual meets in Jenison Field House this weekend. The Spartans will square off with No. 1 Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. before entertaining fourth-ranked Penn State on Sunday, Jan. 12 at noon.

MSU, 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, lost a 25-13 to eventual national champion Iowa last season, while splitting a pair of dual meets with Penn State. The Green and White dropped a 23-14 meet to the Nittany Lions at Penn State, then defeated PSU, 16-15, at the National Team Duals in Nebraska later in the season.

LAST WEEK

The Spartans posted a 19-15 win over Central Michigan on Friday, Jan. 3, and a 23-12 victory at Ohio State in their Big Ten opener on Sunday, Jan. 5. Each meet saw the Spartans win the first match and the last five matches to pull out the wins. Junior David Morgan (Ferndale) gave the Spartans early leads each night at the 118-pound class, but losses at the next four weights put the pressure on MSU's heavier weights.

Sophomore 158-pounder Greg DeGrand (Ann Arbor) jump-started the Spartans each night, claiming a 6-3 win vs. CMU and a 4-2 overtime win vs. Ohio State to swing the momentum in MSU's favor. Senior Ralph Conte (Cleveland, Ohio) followed suit with a pair of wins at 167, including an 8-7 decision over CMU's nationally ranked Mike Greenfield on Friday. Next came MSU's nationally ranked duo of Erich Harvey (Sr., Allegan) and Brian Picklo (Sr., Saginaw), posting easy wins at 177 and 190, respectively, in each meet. Closing out both victories was junior heavyweight Marco Sanchez (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who needed a win vs. CMU for an MSU team victory, and ended the OSU meet by defeating
nationally ranked Nick Nutter, 6-4 in overtime.

SCOUTING IOWA AND PENN STATE

The Hawkeyes, in search of their 24th straight Big Ten title and sixth national crown in the last seven years, will take to the mats for the first time since the Midlands Championships on Dec. 28-29. Iowa won that meet with 176 points, nearly double the next closest team. Iowa and Penn State faced each other in a dual meet at Iowa on Dec. 6 this season, with the Hawkeyes posting a 22-15 win. Iowa has five grapplers ranked among the top 12 of their weight classes, led by three No. 1 choices Mark Ironside at 134, Lincoln McIlravy at 150 and Joe Williams at 158.

The Nittany Lions come into Jenison Field House on the heels of consecutive wins at Fresno State (19-13) and Cal-State Bakersfield (21-12) last weekend. following the dual with MSU, Penn State will travel to Michigan for a meet with the Wolverines later in the afternoon. The Lions also boast five nationally ranked matmen, led by No. 1 heavyweight Kerry McCoy, who enters the meet a perfect 17-0 on the year. Glenn Pritzlaff, ranked No. 5 at 167, also is undefeated at 18-0.

SPARTAN NOTES

MSU is led by a trio of nationally ranked wrestlers Morgan, No. 2 at 118, is 19-1 for the season with seven pins; Harvey, No. 4 in the country, stands 16-3 with a team-high nine pins; and Picklo, No. 5 in the nation, has a team-best 19 wins vs. just three losses this season...Harvey set the school record for career wins during the Midlands Championships Dec. 28-29. He tops the list with 126 career victories, while he stands fifth all-time with 30 pins...Picklo is tied for 16th with Ron Cantini (1982-84) on the MSU career wins ladder with 77...Morgan defeated Jesse Whitmer of Iowa, 1-0, to win the 188-pound title at the Midlands this season.

QUOTING MINKEL

"The two meets last weekend certainly were exciting in that we won the last five matches of each one to get the wins. This year's team is a bit different from last year when we were more balanced and were able to build some early leads. We will continue to improve as our younger wrestlers get more experience. "This week we've got two of the top teams in the country coming in, and the fans should be able to see some great wrestling."