Foley Places Seventh At Big Ten Championships
Freshman finishes rookie season as a Big Ten placewinner.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Freshman 125-pounder Rayvon Foley finished as a place winner in his first appearance at Big Ten Championships, claiming seventh place among a challenging field of competition. Michigan State hosted the Big Ten Championships this weekend for the first time since 2007 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
"It's been great for us to feature the sport of wrestling in the state of Michigan," MSU head coach Roger Chandler said. "I think this conference and this championship is the best event in the country, and that's why we get the fan support that we do. Our Michigan State event management and administration have done a great job featuring wrestling, featuring Michigan State and the rest of the country."
Foley, the 17th-ranked grappler in the nation at 125 pounds, wrestled against Elijah Oliver from Indiana, a three-time NCAA Championships qualifier. In the second match-up between the two this weekend, Foley secured a takedown with just 20 seconds left to take a 6-4 decision in the seventh place match.
"It means a lot. I didn't get exactly what I wanted. I want to win, I want to be number one, I want to take first place and become a Big Ten champion, but I can't do it this year," Foley said. "I'll just have to wait for next year, but I'm always striving to get better. This is just motivation for me to get better. It feels good. Like I said, things didn't turn out exactly like I wanted them to, but I definitely think it's a big deal. I enjoy going out there wrestling. It's my first Big Ten championship and it won't be my last."
Foley qualified for NCAA Championships with a win on the first day of competition against Oliver. Foley also knocked off No. 12 Drew Mattin for a second time this season in wrestlebacks on Saturday.
"I know Rayvon accomplished his goal of getting to the NCAA Championships, but I know he's got bigger goals than that," Chandler said. "Rayvon truly wants to win an NCAA Championship and he's got the mentality to compete for a national title, and you know this is just the first step in that process. You throw your hat in the ring, and you punch your ticket to the NCAA championships. He did that the last two days, and in a week and a half, he's going to get his chance to be an All-American, which would be an incredible feat for himself."
Redshirt freshmen Jwan Britton (149) and Jake Tucker (157) started off the day with matches in the extra bracket, both falling to their opponents. Britton fell to Cole Martin of Wisconsin in a major decision, 15-3. An aggressive match, Britton made a run at the end of the match but didn't have enough time. Tucker dropped to Illinois' Kyle Langenderfer, 7-3, coming back from a 4-1 deficit with a reversal in the second period, but giving up a late takedown in the third and a bonus point for riding time.
"Jake had a good run last night," Chandler said. "It was hard to come back this morning because we knew we were wrestling the same opponent back-to-back because he wrestled Langenderfer, and beat him pretty soundly, but people make quick adjustments and that was just a tough match. Jake left it all out on the mat, and that's what we ask of our guys, and there's no doubt he's going to grow from this experience."
Spartan alumni and Big Ten Champions David Morgan, Nick Simmons, Pat McNamara, Pat Milkovich, Don Behm, Andy Simmons, Tom Milkovich, Dick Cook, Mike Bradley and Larry Avery returned to the campus of Michigan State to present the awards to the newly crowned Big Ten title winners.
Ohio State was the tournament champion, scoring 164.5 points for its second consecutive Big Ten title. Michigan State finished in 14th place.
"Overall, I just talked to our team a little while ago, and any time you lose two of your three returning NCAA qualifiers, it's going to hit your team," Chandler said. "We're missing two of our big guns in Drew Hughes and Austin Eicher, and they scored a lot of points for us last year at the Big Tens, and we're going to get those guys back, but at the same time a lot of these guys that wrestled in the championships got invaluable experience. I know that's going to make the rest of our team better in the long run."
NCAA Championships will take place on March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Michigan State's 2018 Big Ten Wrestling Championships - Sunday Results
125 Seventh-Place Match: No. 17 Rayvon Foley (MSU) dec. Elijah Oliver (IND), 6-4
149 NCAA Allocation Match: Cole Martin (UW) major dec. Jwan Britton (MSU), 15-3
157 NCAA Allocation Match: Kyle Langenderfer (ILL) dec. Jake Tucker (MSU), 7-3