Wrestling Opens Big Ten Slate On The Road
Jan. 22, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team opens the Big Ten season this weekend with two of its toughest road tests of the 2008-09 campaign. The Spartans (5-2) will take on No. 19 Northwestern (7-3) on Friday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m., and No. 9 Minnesota (9-4) on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m.
MSU is 26-16 all-time against Northwestern, and has won five of the last six in Evanston. Minnesota holds the all-time advantage over MSU, winning 26 of the teams' 49 meetings.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The Wildcats are led by senior Jake Herbert, who boasts an 18-0 season record and currently holds the top ranking at 184 pounds. Herbert was an NCAA Champion in 2007.
Other ranked Wildcats include 125-pounder Brandon Precin (No. 3, 18-1 season record), 141-pounder Keith Sulzer (No. 16, 13-4) and 157-pounder Jason Welch (No. 17, 15-5).
Minnesota enters its third weekend of Big Ten competition at 9-4 after splitting two weekend pairs with conference opponents. The Gophers picked up wins against then-No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 14 Penn State, but lost to defending national champion Iowa and No. 6 Ohio State.
The Gophers boast five ranked wrestlers - Zach Sanders (No. 7, 25-1) at 125, Jayson Ness (No. 6, 22-3) at 133, Mike Thorn (No. 9, 21-8) at 141, Tyler Safratowich (No. 14, 19-8) at 157 and heavyweight Ben Berhow (No. 18, 15-6).
LAST TIME OUT
The Spartans won the first three bouts of the night to jump out to a 13-0 lead against WVU, and would remain in front of the Mountaineers (2-4) for the remainder of the match.
MSU then rattled off four wins in a row against Ohio after dropping the first bout of the afternoon, which proved to be enough to hold off the Bobcats (5-5-1).
Top-ranked 133-pounder Franklin Gomez recorded two major decisions on the weekend to move his unblemished season record to 11-0. Redshirt freshman Ian Hinton earned his first fall of the season at 174 against 12th-ranked Mountaineer Kurt Brenner in 4:48.
HE'S NUMBER ONE
Gomez has held the No. 1 ranking since the week of Dec. 9, and also held the top spot after winning the Big Ten Championship last season.
The seven pins is the most at 125 since All-American Nick Simmons tallied 16 for the Spartans in 2005-06.
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