Spartans Post 14 Top-Six Finishes at MSU Open
Four wrestlers earn individual titles.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State wrestling began its 2017-18 campaign with a dominating performance at the annual Michigan State Open, highlighted by 14 medalists in both the freshman/sophomore division and open division. Redshirt junior Javier Gasca became a three-time MSU Open champion at 141 pounds in the open division, and three Spartans took titles in the freshman/sophomore division.
"I'm just excited that our guys are stepping up to the challenge of competing against some of the region and nation's best talent," MSU head coach Roger Chandler said. "At the end of the day, after an event like this, you're always going to find things you need to work on as a program, but I think we saw some great competitiveness out of our guys today. I think we've taken a big step forward and we'll keep pushing our guys to strive for more."
Ranked No. 8 individually according to FloWrestling, Gasca was undefeated through the day's competition, claiming five wins from four decisions and a fall at 3:56 in the first round. Gasca bested three ranked opponents - No. 12 Eli Stickley of Wisconsin, No. 16 Sal Profaci of Michigan and No. 14 Michael Longo from Oklahoma on the way to the title.
"I was really happy with how controlled he wrestled, not just the entire match, but all day, especially in his first competition after offseason shoulder surgery. It was a good event for him to see in the rehab process and today was a good showing. He's come a long way and I really believe he can compete for a national title this year," Chandler said.
Gasca won his third-straight MSU Open title, winning at 141 pounds last two two seasons after claiming the title at 133 as a sophomore.
"It feels good. It's just nice to be back on the mat," Gasca said. "First real competition, we've got some work to do. It's always good to get wins at home and have a crowd, so it's exciting to give them a win. I know I have some work to do. I wasn't performing at my best. I've got a long season ahead of me to clean things up and sharpen it up."
Three Spartan freshmen took titles in the freshman/sophomore division in their first action for the Green & White: Jaden Enriquez (unattached) at 141 pounds, Nathan Atienza (unattached) at 157 pounds and Cameron Caffey (unattached) at 184 pounds, all undefeated at 5-0. Freshman Rayvon Foley (unattached) ended the day in second place at 125 pounds, claiming four wins.
Sophomore Drew Hughes (unattached) also finished in second place at 174 pounds in the open division, tallying three wins, including a 1-0 decision over No. 13 Christian Brucki of Central Michigan in the semifinal round. No. 9 Hughes fell in the final round to No. 4 Myles Amine from Michigan in a major decision, 20-6.
Redshirt freshman Alex Hrisopoulos tallied a five-match fall-streak, claiming six wins for a third-place finish at 141 pounds in the freshman/sophomore division. Redshirt freshman Danny Kruse (184) and freshman Brad Wilton (197, unattached) both claimed third-place finishes in the freshman/sophomore division. Sophomore Matt Santos took a fourth-place finish at 133 pounds in the freshman/sophomore division, while redshirt freshman Jake Tucker ended in fourth place at 157 pounds in the open division.
MSU's fifth-place finish was redshirt junior Shwan Shadaia at 184 pounds. Rounding out the top-six finishes for the Spartans were redshirt freshman Nathan Ellis at 133, Jimmy Muscato at 149 and freshman Nick May at 184.
"I was really pleased with our team up and down the line," Chandler said. "Cameron Caffey beat a kid who was the number one recruit in his weight class in the country and that was a big win. He'd lost to him a few times in high school and for Cameron to win in the finals of the freshman and sophomore division, that was a great win for him. RayVon Foley continues to impress. He wrestled a quality opponent in the finals and just came up a bit short. Jake Tucker proved that he's ready to step up to the challenge. There's a lot of guys that had a good day and this was a great building point for us for the season."
Next up, Michigan State will travel to Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the EMU Open on Nov. 11.