Jan. 3, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After nearly a month layoff from dual-meet competition, the Michigan State wrestling team returns to conference action to face third-ranked Iowa in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed live through the Big Ten Digital Network and is available for purchase at msuspartans.com and BTN.com.
Michigan State (5-4) is coming off a first-place victory at the Cradle Gear Invitational in Lock Haven, Pa., last weekend as the Spartans won the team title with 105 points, 19 points better than second-place Bloomsburg. Three Spartans took home individual titles at the tournament: Nick Trimble (149), John Rizqallah (184) and Mike McClure (heavyweight).
All 10 starters from Iowa are ranked, including No. 1 Derek St. John at 157 pounds, the defending national champion. The Hawkeyes are 6-1 on the season and will wrestle Purdue in Bradley, Ill., on Friday before hosting the Spartans; their only blemish was a 24-12 defeat to top-ranked Penn State on Dec. 21.
McClure, who was the top seed in his bracket at the Cradle Gear Invite, improved to 17-2 and won his fifth career tournament title. The ninth-ranked senior dominated the competition with two falls and a 7-1 victory over Justin Grant of Bloomsburg in the championship match. McClure, who has recorded 14 straight wins, also won the Northern Iowa Open on Dec. 14 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He will be facing fourth-ranked Bobby Telford of the Hawkeyes in the spotlight match of the dual. Telford shut out McClure, 4-0, in the Big Ten Championships last March.
Rizqallah, seeded second, picked up four victories en route to the 184-pound title. He defeated No. 15 Fred Garcia of Lock Haven in the first-place bout, 7-4. Rizqallah entered the national rankings for the first time this week, as he sits at No. 20 in the 184-pound weight class, according to InterMat.
Trimble also won four matches to take first place in the 149 bracket. The sophomore upset top-seeded Macaulay Maldarelli in the championship round, 4-1.
Other Spartans to place in Lock Haven included Brenan Lyon (fourth at 125 pounds), Garth Yenter (third place at 133), Brian Gibbs (fourth at 141), Roger Wildmo (third at 157), Bobby Nash (second at 165), Travis Curley (third at 165), and Nick McDiarmid (second at 197).
The Spartans fell in their first Big Ten dual back on Dec. 8 at Jenison Field House to Wisconsin, 30-7.
Michigan State returns home to face Minnesota on Jan. 17 in East Lansing.