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Michigan State Wrestling Set to Host No. 4 Penn State at Kellogg Arena

Dan Osterman placed third at the Reno Tournament of Champions over the holiday break.

Jan. 5, 2012

Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) vs. No. 4 Penn State (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Sunday, Jan. 8 | 2 p.m
 Location Battle Creek, Mich. | Kellogg Arena
 Tickets $7.00 (Adults) & $3.00 (Children)
 Match Notes  Michigan State | Penn State
 Statistics  Michigan State | Penn State
 Multimedia Coach Minkel Podcast | Dan Osterman
 Social Media @wrestlingmsu  

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Spartan wrestling team plays host to No. 4 Penn State on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. The dual serves as a cornerstone event for the Michigan Youth Wrestling Association's Spartan Country Tournament to bridge together youth and collegiate wrestling in a single setting.

"Penn State is the defending national champ and they have most of their guys back," head coach Tom Minkel said. "They are one of the two or three strongest teams in the country. I'm glad to have it early in the semester so we can really see where we are and what we need to work on. We are looking forward to competing against them."

The Spartan Country Tournament begins at 8:30 a.m. and the event will be wrestled on approximately 15 mats continuously throughout the day. The youth tournament will stop to prepare for the collegiate dual at 2 p.m. The youth tournament will then commence again after completion of the dual.

"School is not back yet here and it is a little quiet," Minkel said. "This gives us an opportunity to feature a big time dual against a big time team in front of youth wrestlers and their families at the Kellogg Arena. I think it will be a great venue and I think we will have a lot of enthusiasm and it is a great event for youth wrestlers that may be aspiring to wrestle in college."

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Kellogg Arena and are $7 for adults and $3 for children.

Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) is coming off a holiday trip to the Reno Tournament of Champions where it placed fifth as a team with 66 points. Six Spartan wrestlers placed in the top six individually and Dan Osterman (149) and David Cheza (165) both finished third.

Penn State (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) recently took first at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2 with 195.5 team points and had four wrestlers claim individual titles. The Nittany Lions' conference loss came at the hands of No. 3 Minnesota, 23-14, back on Nov. 20.

Michigan State trails Penn State in the all-time series, 15-9-0, and the last Spartan win came on Jan. 15, 2005, when the Spartans beat Penn State 19-12 at home.

Next up the Spartans settle in for their first home weekend with duals Friday, Jan. 13 against West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 15 against Indiana at 2 p.m. Both contests will be held at Jenison Field House.

Michigan State Probable vs. No. 4 Penn State
 125 Eric Olanowski (Sr., 2-3)
 133 Brandon Fifield (Fr., 9-8)
 141 Brian Gibbs (Fr., 14-8)
 149 No. 18 Dan Osterman (Jr., 17-6)
 157 No. 14 Anthony Jones Jr. (Sr., 12-3)
 165 David Cheza (Sr., 10-2)
 174 Curran Jacobs (Sr., 15-5)
 184 John Rizqallah (R-Fr., 7-4)
 197 Nick McDiarmid (R-Fr., 12-5)
 Hwt. Steve Andrus (Jr., 14-7)

Michigan State is coming off a two-week break after competing in the 17th annual Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 18. The Spartans placed fifth out of 28 teams with 66 points collectively in a tournament that is dubbed as the "toughest tournament in the USA."

Six individual wrestlers placed at the tournament, Dan Osterman (149) and David Cheza (165) both placed third in the event. Other Spartans that placed were; Anthony Jones Jr. (157) fourth, Curran Jacobs (174) fifth, Nick McDiarmid (197) fifth and Steve Andrus (heavyweight) sixth.

Head coach Tom Minkel is in his 21st season as head coach and notched his 150th dual win last season, Minkel could set another benchmark this season in all-time career wins. Minkel currently has 153 dual wins and needs just five more to tie Fendley Collins for second all-time at Michigan State with 158. Collins coached MSU from 1930-1962 and mentored 13 national champions during his tenure. Legendary head coach Grady Penninger leads Michigan State with 213 career victories.

For the second time this season Michigan State split five of the 10 matches, but came up short in the Big Ten opener at Purdue, 22-17. Tyler Dickenson beat No. 12 A.J. Kissel at 197 pounds.

The Spartans boast one of the strongest heavyweight classes in the conference with three formidable wrestlers all battling for the starting position. Junior Steve Andrus will get the nod against Penn State and is considered one of the top Greco-Roman wrestlers in the country. This past summer he qualified for the 2011 Pan American Championships in Rionegro, Colombia, but had to withdraw from the tournament due to an injury.

Other heavyweights include No. 11 Michael McClure and Joe Rizqallah who qualified for the NCAA championships last season.

"Three of the best heavyweights in the country, and they're all in the same program," Minkel said at the beginning of the season. "Seriously, these guys are great wrestlers, but they have really helped make each other great. They all have different styles and they're all big."

Michigan State traveled to Pennsylvania on Dec. 3 and picked up dual wins over both Lock Haven and Bucknell at their respective campuses. Michigan State finished the day with a combined score of 57-12.

Lock Haven was up first for the Spartans and Michigan State dropped only two matches en route to a 30-6 victory. After then traveling to Bucknell, Michigan State dropped two of the first three matches before stringing together seven consecutive wins to take a 27-6 win.

Last season the Spartans were without two key contributors in the middle of the lineup, both No. 14 Anthony Jones Jr. (157) and David Cheza (165) lost the majority of last season due to injury. This season they are a combined 24-5 and have each placed in two of the three tournaments MSU has competed in, including an individual title for Cheza at the MSU Open. These seniors have been counted on to add consistency to the Spartan lineup.

Michigan State took five of the 10 matches against Eastern Michigan but fell 20-16 in the first dual of the season. The Spartans fell behind early, 20-7, but even after winning the final three matches it was not enough to close the gap.

Head Coach Tom Minkel boasts a lineup filled with experience and senior leadership in the 2011-12 season. Michigan State has six seniors, all of which are regular starters. The seniors include; Eric Olanowski (125), No. 14 Anthony Jones Jr. (157), David Cheza (165), Curran Jacobs (174), Ian Hinton (184) and Tyler Dickenson (197).

"Whenever you have that kind of experience in your lineup, you have the potential to have a pretty special season," said Minkel prior to the season. "We expect to have a pretty good season."

The Michigan State wrestling program hosted the MSU Open all day on Nov. 13 at Jenison Field House. The event featured more than 600 wrestlers and more than 29 schools were represented from around the country.

The Spartans had 16 wrestlers place in the top six on the day, including individual titles from David Cheza in the 157-pound open division and Nick Proctor in the 165-pound freshman/sophomore division.

Michigan State head wrestling coach Tom Minkel announced Wednesday, Nov. 16 that Nick Trimble (Sparta, Mich./Sparta High School) and Jordan Wohlfert (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns High School) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Spartan wrestling program beginning in the 2012-13 season.

"Nick and Jordan are both very successful high school wrestlers and are really committed to Michigan State," said Minkel. "They're really excited about wrestling here. We're definitely looking forward to having them as a part of our program.

Nick Trimble won the 2011 Michigan Division 2 state title at 130 pounds with a 9-5 victory over previously unbeaten Jeff Jenkins of Tecumseh and Jordan Wohlfert won the 2011 Michigan Division 2 state title at 152 pounds with a 14-6 win over Dan Fleet of Lowell.

Eleven Michigan State wrestlers placed at the Eastern Michigan Open on Saturday, Nov. 5 in the first competition of the 2011-12 season.

In his first collegiate tournament, true freshman Roger Wildmo won all six of his matches, including two falls, to claim first place at 149 pounds in the freshman/sophomore division.



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