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Wrestling Takes to the Road to Face Northwestern, Illinois

Senior Anthony Jones Jr. is currently ranked No. 13 in the nation at 157 pounds.

Jan. 19, 2012

Michigan State (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at No. 18 Northwestern (5-3, 1-3 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Friday, Jan. 20 | 8 p.m.
 Location Evanston, Ill. | Welsh-Ryan Arena
 Coverage Live webstream available for purchase at | Live results via Twitter @wrestlingmsu
 Live Scoring Live scorebook available at
 Notes Michigan State | Northwestern
 Statistics  Michigan State | Northwestern
 Video Weekend Preview
 Multimedia  Coach Minkel Podcast | Anthony Jones

at No. 6 Illinois (10-2, 2-2 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Sunday, Jan. 22 | 3 p.m.
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Huff Hall
 Coverage Live webstream available for purchase at | Live results via Twitter @wrestlingmsu
 Live Scoring Live scorebook available at
 Notes Michigan State | Illinois
 Statistics  Michigan State | Illinois

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Spartan wrestling team travels to Illinois this weekend for a pair of Big Ten Conference matches against No. 18 Northwestern on Friday, Jan. 20 and No. 6 Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 22.

The Spartans (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) dual against Northwestern will be streamed live for a fee at

"I think with each dual the team matures a little bit," head coach Tom Minkel said. "We have some young guys in the lineup that are new to the environment and new to the pressure. But I am confident that as the season progresses, we will be a little bit better week after week."

Last season the Spartans fell to Northwestern at home, 22-15. Michigan State dropped the first six matches of the dual and was behind 22-0 before rattling off four consecutive victories. Curran Jacobs (174), Ian Hinton (184), Tyler Dickenson (197) and Joe Rizqallah each recorded victories for MSU.

"I think we can wrestle well against Northwestern, they've got a pretty good team and some kids that are formidable," Minkel said. "We are going to have to win those close matches like we did against Indiana."

Northwestern (5-3, 1-3 Big Ten) is coming off a very tough weekend, hosting Penn State on Jan. 13 and traveling to take on Iowa on Jan. 15. The Wildcats fell to Penn State, 38-3, and lost to Iowa, 24-13.

Michigan State defeated Illinois last season at Jenison Field House, 21-15. Dan Osterman and Ian Hinton both won over ranked wrestlers and the Spartans won six of the 10 matches in the dual.

The Illini (10-2, 2-2 Big Ten) are coming off a home loss to Minnesota, 25-9. Illinois recorded wins at 197 and 165 pounds.

"Illinois is a much improved team and they are off to a really great start," Minkel said. "We need to stay focused on what we do and what we are able to do, and not get distracted by the environment or the crowds."

Following the road weekend the Spartans return home to host Nebraska on Jan. 27 and then face in-state rival Michigan on Jan. 29.

Michigan State Probable Lineup at Northwestern, Illinois
 125 Eric Olanowski (Sr., 4-3) OR Brenan Lyon (So., 7-9)
 133 Brandon Fifield (Fr., 9-10) OR Terry Turner (Fr., 9-2)
 141 Brian Gibbs (Fr., 14-10) OR Andrew Ermatinger (R-Fr., 5-10)
 149 Dan Osterman (Jr., 17-9)
 157 No. 13 Anthony Jones Jr. (Sr., 14-4)
 165 David Cheza (Sr., 13-3)
 174 Curran Jacobs (Sr., 17-6)
 184 John Rizqallah (R-Fr., 12-7) OR Ian Hinton (Sr., 12-5)
 197 Nick McDiarmid (R-Fr., 13-7)
 Hwt. Steve Andrus (Jr., 14-9) OR No. 10 Michael McClure (So., 12-5)

The Spartans went 1-1 over the weekend, falling to West Virginia 23-12 on Jan. 13 and defeating Indiana 21-20 on Jan. 15. Both contests were held at Jenison Feild House and the win over the Hoosiers was the first conference win for MSU.

Against West Virginia, Michigan State dropped the first four duals but was able to rebound in the middle weight classes and received three consecutive victories from Spartan seniors. No. 13 Anthony Jones Jr. (157), David Cheza (165), Curran Jacobs (174) and Nick McDiarmid (197) all recorded victories for Michigan State in the loss.

Westling picked up its first confence win of the season over Indiana in exciting fashion in front of the home crowd. Michigan State led 20-16 heading into the final match at 141 pounds between Andrew Ermatinger and Matt Ortega of Indiana. Although Ortega recorded an 11-2 major decision over Ermatinger, the Spartans were awarded a tiebreaker point based on total match victories. MSU won six matches throughout the dual and Indiana won four.

Spartans that contributed to the victory were Eric Olanowski (125), Terry Turner (133), No. 13 Anthony Jones Jr. (157), David Cheza (165), Curran Jacobs (174) and No. 10 Michael McClure (HWT).

Michigan State fell to No. 4 Penn State, 36-6, on Jan. 8 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. Over 3,000 spectators took in the dual that served as a feature event for the Spartan Country youth tournament in an attempt to bridge collegiate and youth wrestling in the same setting.

"It is nice to have an event like this in conjunction with the youth tournament because youth wrestling is very important to collegiate wrestling," head coach Tom Minkel said after the dual. "We have to foster youth wrestling in the state of Michigan in order for collegiate wrestling to go to the next level."

Michigan State placed fifth out of 28 teams and six wrestlers placed in the top six at the 17th annual Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 18. Dan Osterman (149) and David Cheza (165) both placed third individually.

Anthony Jones Jr. placed fourth and reached the semifinals at 157 pounds with three straight victories. Curran Jacobs reached the semifinals and placed fifth at 174 pounds. Nick McDiarmid wrestled at 197 pounds for the Spartans and also placed fifth. At heavyweight, Steve Andrus finished the tournament with a 4-2 record and made it to the fifth place match before having to forfeit due to injury.

Head coach Tom Minkel, who is in his 21st season as head coach and notched his 150th dual win last season, could set another benchmark this season in all-time career wins. Minkel currently has 154 dual wins and needs just four 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 Peninger 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 on Dec. 9. 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 has started four duals and 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. 10 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, as both No. 13 Anthony Jones Jr. (157) and David Cheza (165) lost the majority of last season due to injury. This season they are a combined 27-7 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.

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. 13 Anthony Jones Jr. (157), David Cheza (165), Curran Jacobs (174), Ian Hinton (184) and Tyler Dickenson (197).

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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