March 7, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team finished seventh at the Big Ten Championships at Penn State University, accumulating 57.5 team points and advancing six wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Iowa claimed it's 25th straight conference championship, scoring 132.5 points, followed by Penn State (120.5) and Minnesota (107). The Hawkeyes also crowned a tournament-high three individual champions.
Senior captain David Morgan lived up to his No. 1 national ranking, winning his third consecutive Big Ten crown and advancing to the NCAA Championships with a 9-7 victory over Jeremy Hunter of Penn State in the final. Morgan is now 40-0 on the season, becoming the only wrestler in MSU history to have three 40-win seasons. He will be looking to capture All-America honors for the third straight season, having finished third in 1996 and fifth in 1997.
Freshman Pat McNamara also qualified for the NCAA tournament, finishing fourth at 126 pounds after losing 2-0 to Purdue's Josh Hutchens in the consolation finals. McNamara is the first Spartan freshman to qualify for the NCAA tournament since Erich Harvey in 1994, and takes a 29-7 record into the NCAA Championships. Junior Issac Miller also earned an NCAA berth by way of a sixth-place finish at 134 pounds, losing to Robbie Archer of Ohio State in the fifth-place match. Miller, 20-17 on the year, will be participating in his first NCAA Champioships.
Junior 158-pounder Greg DeGrand (29-16) will also make his first NCAA appearance after a fourth-place showing, having lost 8-5 to Minnesota's Josh Holiday in the final of the consolation bracket. At 167 pounds, sophomore Will Hill (25-16) grabbed his first NCAA bid with a 5-4 win over Zac Taylor of Minnesota in the fifth-place match. Rounding out the Spartan qualifiers was sophomore Nick Muzashvili (20-18), who enters his first NCAA tournament by way of a sixth-place showing at 190 pounds. Muzashvili was defeated 10-8 by Ross Thatcher of Penn State in the fifth-place match. Also competing in the final round for Michigan State were sophomore Mike Castillo and freshman Matt Lamb, who finished eighth at 142 and heavyweight, respectively.
Team Standings(Points) Big Ten Individual Champions 1. Iowa (132.5) 118 - David Morgan, Michigan State 2. Penn State (120.5) 126 - Eric Jetton, Wisconsin 3. Minnesota (77.5) 134 - Mark Ironside, Iowa 4. Michigan (77.5) 142 - Jeff McGinness, Iowa 5. Wisconsin (65.5) 150 - Bill Lacure, Michigan 6. Illinois (63.5) 158 - John Lange, Penn State 7. Michigan State (57.5) 167 - Joe Williams, Iowa 8. Northwestern (55) 177 - Mitch Clark, Ohio State 9. Purdue (44.5) 190 - Tim Hartung, Minnesota 10. Ohio State (38) HWT - Airron Richardson, Michigan 11. Indiana (20.5)