Mar. 2, 1998
Note of the Weekend: Follow the leader - Michigan State senior David Morgan leads the Spartans into the 1998 Big Ten Championships looking to win his third consecutive Big Ten title at 118 pounds. Last season, he was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the Big Ten Championship.
Morgan, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation at 118 pounds, is unbeaten at 37-0 this season. He won all four tournaments in which Michigan State participated and is 16-0 against Big Ten opponents. The two-time All-America boasts third-place and fifth-place finishes at the last two NCAA meets and has hopes for a national championship this year. Where Morgan stands among MSU,s all-time best:
Career Victories Best Career Winning Pct. Best Season Record 1. Erich Harvey, 147 1. Merle Jennings, .974 (37-1) 1. DAVID MORGAN, 2. DAVID MORGAN, 122 2. Jeff Smith, .962 (50-2-0) 37-0-0* 3. Gale Mikles, .957 (44-2-0) 4. Dale Anderson, .932 (61-4-1) 5. DAVID MORGAN, .931 (122-9) *Six MSU wrestlers have finished the season unbeaten, with the best record 25-0 by Dale Anderson. No Spartan has finished with a perfect record since 1972 (T. Milkovich, 23-0)
More Big Ten Championship Notes
A little history - Entering this year's Big Ten Championships, Michigan State is looking to improve on its eighth-place finish from a year ago ... Michigan State last won the Big Ten title in 1972, a title that ended a string of seven straight championships for the Spartans. That year, Greg Johnson, Pat Milkovich, Tom Milkovich, Gerry Malecek and Ben Lewis each claimed individual titles ... Michigan State sent three wrestlers from the Big Ten Championships on to the NCAA Championships last season, Morgan and former All-America honorees Erich Harvey and Brian Picklo, and in 1996 seven Spartans competed in the NCAAs. Overall in the 1990s MSU has qualified 37 wrestlers for the NCAA Championships, with Head Coach Tom Minkel tutoring 34 of them Sum Of those 31 qualifiers, 16 have gone on to earn All-America honors.
Back to the present - The Spartans enter the Big Ten Championships ranked No. 12 in the latest NWCA poll ... Michigan State will be fielding one of its youngest teams in recent memory at this season,s tournament, as they have six wrestlers who will be competing in their first Big Ten ChampionshipSumMSU returns one defending champion this season, senior captain David Morgan, who has won back-to-back 118-pound championships and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championship in 1996 ... Should Morgan win a third title, he will be the first Spartan grappler to win three crowns since Pat Milkovich achieved the trifecta in 1972, 1974 and 1976 Sum Also returning to the championships for MSU are juniors Greg DeGrand and Issac Miller, who represented Michigan State at 158 and 134 pounds, respectively, at last season's tournament.
Against the best - Thirteen of Michigan State,s 19 dual meet opponents this season are ranked in the top 12 of the latest NWCA team rankings. The Spartans, ranked No. 12, are unbeaten against teams ranked below them and 3-10 against higher-ranked foes.
Powerful 1-2 punch - In the dual meet season, Michigan State made a habit of posting early leads on opponents, led by the tandem of David Morgan and redshirt freshman Pat McNamara. McNamara is ranked sixth in the nation at 126 pounds and carries an impressive 28-5 record into this weekend's championships.
More support - In addition to Morgan and McNamara, two other Spartans have already reached the 20-victory plateau for 1997-98. Junior Greg DeGrand is 27-13 at 158 pounds for the Spartans, while sophomore Will Hill stands at 22-15 at 167 pounds. Two other MSU wrestlers are knocking on the 20-win door. At 134 pounds, junior Isaac Miller has posted a 17-14 record, while sophomore Nick Muzashvili is 18-15 at 190 pounds.