Jan. 30, 2014
Michigan State (5-8, 0-5 Big Ten) vs. No. 1 Penn State (11-0, 5-0 Big Ten)
| Date | Time
||Friday, Jan. 31 | 7 p.m.
||East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House
||Big Ten Digital Network | msuspartans.com
| Live Stats
||Adults: $5 | Youth/Senior: $3
| Game Notes
||Michigan State | Penn State
| Social Media
||@wrestlingmsu | #B1GWrestle
SPARTANS PLAY HOST TO THREE-TIME DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPION AND TOP-RANKED PENN STATE FRIDAY AT JENISON FIELD HOUSE
The Michigan State wrestling team will play host to three-time defending national champion and top-ranked Penn State Friday at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House. The match will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network and will be available for purchase at msuspartans.com.
The Spartans (5-8, 0-5 Big Ten) are coming off losses on the road at No. 12 Michigan and at home to No. 15 Illinois last week. Senior heavyweight Mike McClure and 197-pounder Nick McDiarmid won both of their matches against the Wolverines and Fighting Illini. McClure moved up to No. 7 in the latest InterMat rankings, fueled by his 5-1 decision over No. 1 Adam Coon last Friday in Ann Arbor. The Holland, Mich., native followed that impressive effort with a 6-1 win against Chris Lopez of Illinois on Sunday. McDiarmid topped Michigan's Chris Heald, 3-1, and Illinois' Jeff Koepke, 9-6.
Penn State (11-0, 5-0) has claimed the last three national championships and is back on top of the rankings once again this season. All 10 of PSU's starters are ranked, including six in the top five, but No. 12 Jimmy Lawson (heavyweight) will be held out of competition this weekend. The Nittany Lions will also face Michigan on their road trip, squaring off against the Wolverines on Sunday in Ann Arbor.
"We're not going to change much in our routine this week," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel of preparing to wrestle No. 1 Penn State. "We want to improve the mistakes we made last weekend and correct some of those. That's the process - you compete, you evaluate, you make improvements, and then you go and test it. For us, we really need to stay focused on what we do, and doing it a little better this weekend. Our goal is to take another step forward as a team."
At 197 pounds, McDiarmid will look to extend his winning streak to three as he goes against No. 7 Morgan McIntosh.
"Nick's doing a nice job," commented Minkel. "He's keeping better position and he's getting more comfortable as he's gotten better. It's becoming more of who he is, rather than what he's trying to be. He's making great progress, and I think you can see that in his results."
Although McDiarmid and McClure were the only ones to come away with victories last weekend, Minkel believes several wrestlers are on the verge of translating their improvement on the mat to wins.
"We've got a few guys that are closing (from breaking out)," he said. "Garth Yenter in particular at 133 has been so close - he's right there. He's a red-shirt freshman with all kinds of potential. I hope he can get over that hump here pretty soon. Nick Trimble (149) is also right there; he's made as much progress in a year as anyone I've ever coached. He's been in every match with everyone he's wrestling. There are a number of other guys as well, but those two really stand out in making major strides."
|Michigan State vs. No. 1 Penn State: Probable Starting Lineups
||MSU: Brenan Lyon (Sr., 5-11) vs.
PSU: No. 2 Nico Megaludis (Jr., 20-2)
||MSU: Garth Yenter (R-Fr., 14-13) vs.
PSU: No. 16 Jimmy Gallon (Fr., 11-9) OR Jordan Conaway (So., 13-5)
||MSU: Brian Gibbs (So., 12-16) vs.
PSU: No. 2 Zain Retherford (Fr., 21-0)
||MSU: Nick Trimble (So., 18-8) vs.|
PSU: No. 15 Zack Beitz (Fr., 11-7) OR Andrew Alton (Jr., 7-0)
||MSU: Roger Wildmo (So., 11-12) vs.
PSU: No. 4 Dylan Alton (Jr., 13-0) OR James Vollrath (Sr., 11-7)
||MSU: Bobby Nash (Sr., 14-13) vs.
PSU: No. 1 David Taylor (Sr., 21-0)
||MSU: Kevin Nash (Jr., 8-9) OR Nick Kaczanowski (5-8)
PSU: No. 3 Matt Brown (Jr., 21-1)
||MSU: John Rizqallah (Jr., 15-6) vs.
PSU: No. 2 Ed Ruth (Sr., 20-1)
||MSU: Nick McDiarmid (Jr., 14-6) vs.
PSU: No. 7 Morgan McIntosh (So., 20-2)
||MSU: No. 7 Mike McClure (Sr., 19-4) vs.
PSU: Jon Gingrich (Jr., 19-3)
YET ANOTHER RANKED OPPONENT
All five of MSU's opponents in the month of January are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA TODAY Top 25 Coaches Poll. Michigan State has already wrestled No. 3 Iowa, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 12 Michigan and No. 15 Illinois, and hosts No. 1 Penn State Friday at Jenison Field House.
SPARTANS IN THE RANKINGS
Senior heavyweight Mike McClure moved up to No. 7 in this week's InterMat rankings following wins over No. 1 Adam Coon of Michigan and Chris Lopez of Illinois last week.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST PENN STATE
Penn State leads the all-time series against Michigan State, 17-9. MSU is looking for its first win over PSU since recording a 19-12 victory over the Nittany Lions on Jan. 15, 2005, in Jenison Field House. Penn State won last year's dual in University Park, Pa., 41-0.
PENN STATE HEAD COACH CAEL SANDERSON
Penn State is led by fifth-year head coach Cael Sanderson, who has led the Nittany Lions to three consecutive national championships and Big Ten titles. Sanderson previously coached for three seasons (2006-09) at his alma mater, Iowa State, and guided the Cyclones to three straight Big 12 titles. While wrestling at ISU, Sanderson went a perfect 159-0 in his career and won four NCAA Championships. He also was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler four years in a row, becoming the first collegiate wrestler to do so. Sanderson won the 84 kg gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
MORE ON PENN STATE
All 10 of Penn State's wrestlers are ranked by InterMat, including two-time defending national champion Ed Ruth at 184 pounds. Ruth is currently ranked No. 2. Senior David Taylor, who won the 2012 national title, holds the top spot at 165 pounds. At heavyweight, No. 12 Jimmy Lawson will not be competing this weekend; however, his replacement, Jon Gingrich, manage to defeat McClure last season in University Park, 5-3.
McCLURE ANCHORS TEAM AT HEAVYWEIGHT
Senior Mike McClure is in his third year as a starter at heavyweight for the Spartans. The Holland, Mich., native earned his first trip to the NCAA Championships last season as a junior and is looking to return to the national stage this March to earn All-America honors. McClure, who owns a career record of 91-26, is four victories away from entering MSU's all-time top 20 for wins.
Ranked seventh by InterMat, McClure has collected a 19-4 overall record, including a 10-3 mark in dual meets (3-2 Big Ten). He's also tied for the team lead with five falls. McClure is 3-3 against ranked opponents, with victories over No. 1 Adam Coon (Michigan), No. 6 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) and No. 18 William Smith (Rutgers) and losses to No. 8 Adam Chalfant (Indiana), No. 4 Bobby Telford (Iowa) and No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota).
McClure is 9-1 in open tournaments this season and claimed first place at both the Northern Iowa Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Dec. 14 and the Cradle Gear Invitational in Lock Haven, Pa., on Dec. 29.
McDIARMID STEPPING UP AT 197 POUNDS
Three-year starter Nick McDiarmid has already collected a career-high seven dual wins this season at 197 pounds. The junior from Fowlerville, Mich., is 7-3 in duals this season and 14-6 overall. He placed runner-up at the Cradle Gear Invitational and fifth at the MSU Open. McDiarmid also owns wins over two ranked opponents in duals this season (No. 14 Brandon Palik of Drexel; No. 15 Nick Whitenburg of Eastern Michigan). Last weekend, McDiarmid defeated Chris Heald of Michigan (3-1) and Jeff Koepke of Illinois (9-6). For his career, McDiarmid is 52-28.
RIZQALLAH SECOND ON TEAM WITH EIGHT DUAL WINS
Junior John Rizqallah ranks second on the team with eight dual wins and has produced a 15-6 overall record this season at 184 pounds. Rizqallah entered the national rankings after going 4-0 and taking first place at the Cradle Gear Invitational on Dec. 29 in Lock Haven, Pa.
Rizqallah is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season, including a victory over No. 15 Jackson Hein of Wisconsin in the dual against the Badgers on Dec. 8. Rizqallah nearly upset No. 3 Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa on Jan. 4 in Iowa City, but lost 4-2 after giving up the lead in the third period.
Rizqallah, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, owns a 50-25 career record.