Wrestling Ready to Compete in Big Ten Championships at Purdue
 
 
 
Anthony Jones Jr., who earned a No. 4 seed at 157 pounds, will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the third time in his career this weekend.
 
Anthony Jones Jr., who earned a No. 4 seed at 157 pounds, will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the third time in his career this weekend.
 
 

March 1, 2012

2012 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
 Location West Lafayette, Ind. | Mackey Arena
 Session 1 Saturday, 10 a.m. ET (First round, Quarterfinals)
 Session 2 Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (Semifinals, Wrestlebacks)
 Session 3 Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Consolation semifinals, Seventh-place matches)
 Session 4 Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (First, third and fifth-place matches)
 Coverage Sessions 1, 2 and 3 will be streamed live on BTN.com; Session 4 will be televised live on the Big Ten Network
Official Big Ten Championships Website
 Social Media Twitter updates @wrestlingmsu
 Brackets Complete Brackets (PDF)
 Notes Michigan State | Big Ten
 Statistics  Michigan State
 Multimedia   Coach Minkel Podcast | Anthony Jones Podcast | Curran Jacobs Podcast

MICHIGAN STATE HEADS TO PURDUE FOR BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Michigan State wrestling team will head to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete in the 2012 Big Ten Championships this weekend (March 3-4) at Purdue University. The event will be held at Mackey Arena.

The Big Ten Wrestling Championships are the most prestigious conference championships in the nation, each and every year. Nine teams from the Big Ten are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the NWCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll, including six in the top eight (No. 1 Minnesota, No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 5 Illinois, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Nebraska).

The conference will send 74 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships March 15-17 in St. Louis, 28 more than any other conference (a total of 290 wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships).

SPARTANS TO WATCH
• Senior Anthony Jones Jr., currently ranked ninth at 157 pounds, will be the fourth seed and is the highest-seeded Spartan. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury but is back in the starting lineup and has had one of his strongest seasons of his career. Jones led the team with 11 dual victories and is 19-6 overall this season. He placed third at the MSU Open and took fourth at the Reno Tournament of Champions earlier this season. Jones placed as high as third at the Big Ten Championships in his junior season and was an NCAA qualifier in both 2009 and 2010. He went 3-2 at NCAA's in 2010 and was one win shy of earning All-America honors.

Curran Jacobs, ranked 18th at 174 pounds, will be the No. 6 seed and has faced much of the toughest competition at a loaded weight class. The Owosso, Mich., native will be looking for his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships after qualifying last season by placing seventh at the Big Ten Championships. Jacobs has defeated three ranked wrestlers this season, including No. 8 seed Jordan Blanton of Illinois and No. 9 seed Lee Munster of Northwestern.

• Senior Ian Hinton, the No. 8 seed at 184 pounds, is looking for his third trip to the NCAA Championships. Hinton narrowly missed a trip last year in his first year wrestling at 184 pounds. Hinton is 18-10 this season and won six dual-meet matches.

• Junior Dan Osterman is the No. 9 seed at 149 pounds. Osterman leads MSU with 23 victories this season and is tied for the team lead with five falls. He placed seventh at the Big Ten Championships as a sophomore last year to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Michigan State Probable Lineup for Big Ten Championships
 125 Brenan Lyon (So., 12-11)
 133 Brandon Fifield (Fr., 12-16)
 141 Brian Gibbs (Fr., 16-17)
 149 Dan Osterman (Jr., 23-13)
 157 No. 9 Anthony Jones Jr. (Sr., 19-6)
 165 David Cheza (Sr., 14-8)
 174 No. 18 Curran Jacobs (Sr., 22-8)
 184 Ian Hinton (Sr., 18-10)
 197 Nick McDiarmid (R-Fr., 20-12)
 Hwt. Steve Andrus (Jr., 20-11)

BIG TEN ANNOUNCES PRE-SEEDS FOR BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
• Six Michigan State wrestlers earned pre-seeds in the Big Ten Championships, the conference announced on Monday.
Anthony Jones Jr. is the highest seeded Spartan, coming in at No. 4 at 157 pounds.
• At 174 pounds, Curran Jacobs is the No. 6 seed.
• Two Spartans earned No. 8 seeds; Chris Lyon at 125 pounds and Ian Hinton at 184.
Dan Osterman is the No. 9 seed at 149 pounds and Steve Andrus is the No. 10 seed in the heavyweight division.

MICHIGAN STATE: BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
• Michigan State has won eight Big Ten titles, including seven in a row from 1966-72.
• Spartans have won 67 Big Ten individual championships in program history.
• MSU's first Big Ten title came in 1961 under Coach Fendley Collins, while the rest came under the guidance of Grady Peninger.
• Michigan State finished 11th at last year's Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Ill.
• Coach Minkel's highest finish at the Big Ten Championships was second in 1995; MSU also placed third in 1996 and tied for third in 2003.
• MSU's last Big Ten Champion was Franklin Gomez, who won two 133-pound titles (2008, 2009).

NCAA QUALIFIER INFORMATION
• The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 22. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.
• This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten are: 125 (6), 133 (7), 141 (5), 149 (9), 157 (6), 165 (8), 174 (9), 184 (7), 197 (7), and heavyweight (10).
• After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers (total of 330).
• The NCAA Championships will be held March 15-17 in St. Louis.

THE BRIGHT LIGHTS
Senior Curran Jacobs is ranked No. 18 in the nation at 174 and has three wins this season over ranked wrestlers. On the mat is not the only place that the senior grappler shines, as Jacobs is an aspiring actor and theater major. He has played the lead role of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "A Streetcar Named Desire", in October 2011 and starred as Orlando in Shakespeare comedy "As You Like It" in 2010.

CONSISTENCY IN THE LINEUP
Senior Anthony Jones Jr. at 157 pounds has emerged as a vocal and demonstrative leader after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury. Jones has a team best 11 dual victories and is 19-6 overall. He is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation at 157 pounds. Jones is looking to improve on his third-place finish at Big Ten's in 2010.

QUOTING MINKEL
On the Big Ten Championships...
"It is a culmination of an entire year of hard work," head coach Tom Minkel said. "The guys have been working very hard since we started pre-season back in September. This really is the culmination of all that work and all that effort. We really hope to get their best performance, if we can get their best performance; I think we'll have a good weekend."

On Anthony Jones Jr. and the Big Ten Championships...
"Anthony always gives you his best, and we expect that from him this weekend," Minkel said. "The good thing for Anthony is he has a lot of experience, he is a fifth-year senior, he has been through this before, he knows what to expect, and he's done well at the Big Ten's. I think the fact that it's not new to him will make it a little more comfortable. When you step out there you have to wrestle hard, get after it, and be aggressive, and I expect that out of him."

On the someone that could step up at Big Ten's...
"David Cheza has been around and is experienced. He's smart, he's tough and a lot of the matches that got away from him during the year were very close. David is healthy and he is fresh; I'm not sure a lot of people really see him coming. I expect him to have a good tournament."

On junior Dan Osterman...
"The 149-weight class is just loaded. Danny is a bit like David in that he has wrestled everbody close. He is one heck of a tough young man and he goes wide open. People that might draw him may overlook him, but that is dangerous thing to do. He could very well have an outstanding Big Ten's."

On the environment of the Big Ten Championship's...
"The Big Ten's are really what you prepare for the whole year. You don't really get focused on it until a couple weeks prior, but in the back of your mind you're always getting ready for the Big Ten's and wondering how things are going to affect the Big Ten Tournament. For us, it has been in the back of our minds for eight months and now it's here. I think everyone, my staff, the managers, the trainers; we're excited and ready to go."

YOUNG TALENT
Michigan State will have three freshmen competing in the Big Ten Championships this weekend at Purdue. True freshmen Brandon Fifield (133 pounds) and Brian Gibbs (141) have started the majority of matches for the Spartans at their respective weight classes. Both are gaining vital experience in the toughest conference in the country. Red-shirt freshman Nick McDiarmid took over at 197 pounds after the injury to Tyler Dickenson and is 20-12 this season and 5-6 in dual matches. McDiarmid is making his first trip to the Big Ten Championships and is looking to make it to the NCAA Championships.

NEXT UP
The Spartans that qualify for the NCAA Championship's after the conclusion of the Big Ten Championships will have two weeks to prepare for NCAA's. The NCAA Championships are March 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo. at the Scottrade Center.

LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State closed out its dual season with a loss against No. 25 Central Michigan, 21-12. The Spartans won four individual matches and picked up wins from Dan Osterman (149 pounds), Anthony Jones Jr. (157), Curran Jacobs (174) and Nick McDiarmid (197).

CHAMPIONSHIP SEEDING
The NCAA released the final coaches' panel rankings and the second Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2011-12 wrestling season last week. The final rankings and RPI will be two of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo. To be eligible for an RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight class.

Seven Spartans were listed in the most recent rankings.

Dan Osterman (149): No. 29 Coaches' Ranking/ No. 23 RPI
Anthony Jones (157): No. 12 Coaches' Ranking/ No. 14 RPI
David Cheza (165): No. 27 Coaches' Ranking/ NR RPI
Curran Jacobs (174): No. 17 Coaches' Ranking/ No. 18 RPI
Ian Hinton (184): No. 27 Coaches' Ranking/ No. 32 RPI
Nick McDiarmid (197): NR Coaches' Ranking/ No. 26 RPI
Steve Andrus (HWT): No. 28 Coaches' Ranking/ No. 20 RPI

NATIONALLY RANKED SPARTANS
Two Spartan seniors are currently ranked according to InterMat's latest rankings. No. 9 Anthony Jones Jr. (157) stayed in the same spot from a week ago after beating Donnie Corby of Central Michigan, 2-1, in sudden victory on Feb. 16. Jones is one of four Big Ten wrestlers ranked inside the top 10 at 157 pounds.

No. 18 Curran Jacobs (174) also remained ranked in the same spot from a week ago after defeating Anthony Bill of Central Michigan, 3-0. Jacobs has three wins over ranked wrestlers this season. Jones is one of nine Big Ten wrestlers ranked inside the top 20 at 174 pounds.

SENIOR DAY
The Spartans fell to No. 6 Ohio State, 24-13, on Senior Day at Jenison Field House. Michigan State wrestled hard and was in control of the dual with only two matches remaining. The Spartans won four matches in the dual and had the lead late with only two weight classes to go, but lost in the final matches. Seniors Anthony Jones Jr. (157) and Curran Jacobs (174) each recorded decisions for Michigan State.

ANCHORS IN THE MIDDLE
Last season the Spartans were without two key contributors in the middle of the lineup, as both No. 9 Anthony Jones Jr. (157) and David Cheza (165) lost the majority of last season due to injury. This season they are a combined 33-14 and have each placed in two tournaments this season, including an individual title for Cheza at the MSU Open. These seniors have been counted on to add reliability to the Spartan lineup.

WELCOMING NEBRASKA AND TRAVELING TO IN-STATE RIVAL MICHIGAN
Michigan State lost to No. 7 Nebraska and No. 11 Michigan on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29, respectively. MSU hosted Nebraska and fell 27-8. Senior Eric Olanowski recorded a technical fall at 125 pounds and junior Dan Osterman had a decision at 149 pounds. The Spartans led 8-7 after four matches following Osterman's win, but Nebraska won the final six matches of the dual to claim the victory. Four of the 10 matches were decided by just one point.

The Spartans fell to in-state rival Michigan 27-8 at Cliff Keen Arena on Sunday, Jan. 29. Anthony Jones Jr. (157), Ian Hinton (184) and Nick McDiarmid (197) each recorded decisions at their respective weight classes. Michigan lead 9-6 over the Spartans heading into intermission. The Wolverines won four of the final five matches to claim the dual victory.

SENIOR DEPTH
Head coach Tom Minkel boasts a lineup filled with experience and senior leadership in the 2011-12 season. Michigan State has six seniors, five of which are regular starters after Tyler Dickenson injured his knee in the Reno Tournament of Champions. The seniors include: Eric Olanowski (125), No. 9 Anthony Jones Jr. (157), David Cheza (165), No. 18 Curran Jacobs (174), Ian Hinton (184) and Tyler Dickenson (197). Currently the seniors are a combined 88-41 overall this season.

DICKENSON LOST FOR SEASON
Michigan State senior 197-pounder Tyler Dickenson suffered a career-ending knee injury at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 18. Dickenson was 7-1 on the season and ranked as high as No. 12 according to InterMat.

Dickenson placed fourth in the Big Ten Championships a year ago and made his first trip to NCAA's last year. He defeated No. 12 A.J. Kissel of Purdue this season and owns a career record of 57-56.

WEEKEND IN ILLINOIS
Michigan State had a tough road weekend in which it faced No. 18 Northwestern on Jan. 20 and No. 6 Illinois on Jan. 22. The Spartans lost to Northwestern, 30-12, and fell to Illinois, 26-13.

Senior Curran Jacobs had an outstanding weekend, picking up two decisions over ranked wrestlers over the weekend. Jacobs defeated No. 11 Lee Munster of Northwestern, 3-1, and dropped No. 10 Jordan Blanton of Illinois, 7-3.

MSU WINS TIEBREAKER
The Spartans lost to non-conference foe West Virginia on Jan. 13, 23-12, but defeated Indiana 21-20 on Jan. 15, in a thrilling match at Jenison Field House. The win over the Hoosiers was the first conference win for Michigan State.

The win over Indiana came 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).