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Four Spartans Head to 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships

Michael McClure is 32-5 on the year and is the No. 8 seed at heabyweight.

March 20, 2013

2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships
 Location Des Moines, Iowa | Wells Fargo Arena
 Session 1 Thursday, 12 p.m. ET (First round)
 Session 2 Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Second round, consolation rounds)
 Session 3 Friday, 11 a.m. ET (Quarterfinals, consolation rounds)
 Session 4 Friday, 7 p.m. ET (Semifinals, consolation rounds)
 Session 5 Saturday, 11 a.m. ET (Medal Rounds)
 Session 6 Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (Finals)
 Social Media Twitter updates @wrestlingmsu and @ncaawrestling
 Brackets Complete Brackets Get Acrobat Reader
 Tournament Information NCAA Wrestling Championships Website
 Coverage Sessions 1-3 on; Sessions 3-5 on ESPNU; Session 6 on ESPN
 Notes Michigan State
 Statistics  Michigan State

The Michigan State wrestling team heads to the NCAA Championships this weekend (March 21-23) in Des Moines, Iowa, at Wells Fargo Arena. Dan Osterman (149 pounds), Ryan Watts (157), John Rizqallah (184) and Michael McClure (HWT) will represent MSU at the NCAA Championships. McClure is the No. 8 seed at heavyweight.

Osterman, Watts and McClure automatically qualified at the Big Ten Championships, while Rizqallah earned an at-large bid by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee.

"Getting four guys there is important for them and for our program," head coach Tom Minkel said. "They are led by Mike McClure and his outstanding year. It is the pinnacle of college wrestling and we are really looking forward to it."

Dan Osterman, the lone senior competing for the Spartans, it is his third straight trip to the NCAA Championships and took fifth at the Big Ten Championships two weekends ago. Osterman is 20-12 and 8-7 in duals this season; he placed third at the Eastern Michigan Open and second at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
• At 157 pounds, Ryan Watts is making his first appearance at NCAAs, he placed seventh at the Big Ten Championships. Watts took over for David Cheza after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on Jan. 20. Watts finished the season 21-12 and 8-7 in duals, he took second at the MSU Open and fourth at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
John Rizqallah, a sophomore, is ranked No. 20 at 184 pounds and is making his first trip to NCAAs after earning an at-large bid. He finished the season 23-9 and was 12-4 in duals, second best on the team. Three of the four losses came against wrestlers ranked inside the top eight. Rizqallah defeated No. 11 Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa, 6-3, and placed second at the Eastern Michigan Open and third at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
• Junior Michael McClure is currently ranked No. 11 in the country according to InterMat and will be the No. 8 seed at the NCAA Championships, his first career appearance. McClure took seventh at the Big Ten Championships and is 32-5 on the season and 15-3 in dual matches, while also recording eight falls. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week twice this season and placed first at the Eastern Michigan Open, Michigan State Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions.

Michigan State Lineup at NCAA Championships
 149 Dan Osterman (Sr., 20-12)
 157 Ryan Watts (So., 21-12)
 184 No. 20 John Rizqallah (So., 23-9)
 Hwt. No. 11 Michael McClure (Jr., 32-5)

• Spartan wrestlers have won 25 individual NCAA titles.
• MSU's last National Champion was Franklin Gomez, who won the 133-pound title in 2009.
• Michigan State won the 1967 National Championship and has placed in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 24 times in program history.
• Coach Minkel's highest finish at the NCAA Championships was third in 1995; Minkel has placed in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships 13 times during his career at MSU.

• The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 1. 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 (7), 133 (7), 141 (6), 149 (8), 157 (7), 165 (8), 174 (8), 184 (6), 197 (8), and heavyweight (9).
• After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee met in person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers. The at-large selections were made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches' ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
• All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.
• The NCAA Championships will be held March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

On the selection process and serving on the NCAA Selection Committee...
"It is a very good committee, there is six people on the committee and they are really sharp individuals. The first half is determining the at-large selections and the second half was seeding the tournament. It's important work and there is and enormous amount of data. It is very well organized and I think we vetted it really thoroughly, I'm proud of the work we did.

On John Rizqallah earning an at-large...
"That's really huge for him. The first thing they look at is how you have done against guys that are in the NCAAs and have qualified. John had a pretty good record against guys that were in the tournament and I am happy for him. He did not have a good Big Ten Championships. He was fighting a knee injury but he is healthy now and I'm optimistic that he will do well at the NCAAs."

On Dan Osterman and his match with Donnie Corby of CMU...
"He is highly motivated and his Big Ten Championships were the best he's ever wrestled. Probably the best tournament in his life. He had some big wins and his loss was really close in the semifinals. He has never wrestled better. I'm optimistic that will continue and he will have an outstanding NCAAs."

On Ryan Watts qualifying for his first NCAAs...
"It's huge. This is all a little new to him and he wasn't even in the lineup until halfway through the year. To do well at the Big Ten's and qualify for NCAAs in your first shot is really important for him. He's a young man that initially thought he was going to be a backup this year and now he is going to the NCAAs. I'm enormously proud of him and I'm sure it will be a great tournament for him."

On Osterman being the only one with NCAA experience...
"The first time wrestling in front of 16,000 people can be a little bit of a shock. One of the challenges is the crowd may be going nuts and it could have nothing to do with you. It may be the mat next to you that has a big upset. It is a little disconcerting sometimes to have the crowd going wild and it not having anything to do with you. It is a great opportunity and I am really excited for all of them."

Senior Dan Osterman took fifth at the Big Ten Championships two weekends ago, his highest career finish, and is back for his third straight NCAA Championships. His is 0-4 at the NCAA Championships but is hoping to make his mark in his last collegiate tournament. He will face Donnie Corby of Central Michigan in the first round. Osterman went 1-1 against Corby this season, beating him at the MSU Open before falling to him in the last dual of the season.

"I felt like I wrestled the best I have in a long time at Big Ten's," Osterman said. "I put in a lot of work before that week with Chris Williams and Roger Chandler and the biggest thing was finally believing in myself. I've always known the technical stuff but I was lacking the belief. That was the biggest thing that helped me out and I had fun. The confidence is one best things I can have right now. I can compete with anyone in my bracket at nationals. I'm extremely excited.

"I was excited when I saw who I would face. I couldn't ask for a better first round match, I won the first one but he beat me on senior night and it's a fitting way to end my career. He beat me at home and to be able to wrestle him in the last tournament of my career is pretty exciting. If I wrestle up to my abilities then good things will happen."

Junior Michael McClure comes into his first NCAA Championships as the No. 8 seed at heavyweight after finishing in seventh at the Big Ten Championships. McClure is 32-5 on the season and will face Riley Shaw of Cleveland State in the first round on Thursday.

"It's an awesome accomplishment already but I'm not finished," McClure said. "I want to go there and I want to place. I set it as a goal at the beginning of the year, to be an All-American, and I'm not going to be done until I accomplish it. I feel I have a good road and I feel good about my spot on the bracket."

John Rizqallah finished second on the team in dual wins with 12 in his first season in the starting lineup as a sophomore. Rizqallah's biggest win came against No. 11 Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa and he earned an at-large bid after failing to qualify at the Big Ten Championships, going 1-2. Rizqallah is currently ranked No. 20 and square off against Mason Bailey of Navy in the first round.

"That was huge and I felt like he deserved it," McClure said of Rizqallah. "It was the right thing to do with the season he had and I'm very excited for him."

Ryan Watts will make his first career appearance at the NCAA Championships after finishing seventh at the Big Ten Championships. Watts went 21-12 and drew No. 6 seed Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State in Thursday's first round match. Watts was counted on to fill in for an injured David Cheza halfway through the season and filled a gap in the starting lineup in just his sophomore year.

No. 11 Michael McClure is 32-5 this season and 8-2 against ranked opponents after beating No. 5 Jarrod Trice of Central Michigan on Feb. 22. He placed first at the Eastern Michigan Open, Michigan State Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions this season and he was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Nov. 13 after winning the MSU Open and again on Dec. 17 after winning the Reno Tournament of Champions. McClure's three losses have come at the hands of Big Ten opponents: No. 14 Connor Medbery of Wisconsin, Jon Gingrich of Penn State and No. 2 Tony Nelson of Minnesota.

Three Spartans qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing strong at the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Assembly Hall on Sunday, March 10. Senior Dan Osterman qualified for his third straight NCAA Championships after beating Ian Paddock of Ohio State, 6-3, in the fifth-place match. Watts placed seventh at 157 and taking down Taylor Walsh of Indiana, 3-2 and McClure went on to place seventh after pinning Jimmy Lawson of Penn State in sudden victory at the 7:37 mark.

The NCAA released the final coaches' panel rankings and the final Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2012-13 wrestling season. The final rankings and the RPI were one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Five Spartans are ranked in the latest poll:
Dan Osterman (149): No. 29 Coaches' Ranking/No. 21 RPI
Ryan Watts (157): NR/No. 26 RPI
John Rizqallah (184): No. 26 Coaches' Ranking/No. 17 RPI
Luke Jones (197): No. 21 Coaches' Ranking/No. 32 RPI
Michael McClure (285): No. 5 Coaches' Ranking/No. 7 RPI

Senior David Cheza suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and will be out for the remainder of the season. Cheza has battled injuries to both shoulders throughout his career and received a sixth-year of eligibility at the beginning of the season. Cheza won 69 matches for the Spartans while wrestling in three different weight classes. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2010 at 149 pounds and in 2012 at 165 pounds.

Every Big Ten opponent on the MSU schedule has been ranked at one point this season, including eight teams in the top-25 this week. The Spartans also faced a ranked Iowa State team and Central Michigan team.

Redshirt freshman Roger Wildmo went 2-0 in duals filling in for Dan Osterman. Wildmo, a three-time state champion, is 21-2 on the season, including 12 falls. Last year he led MSU in wins and falls with 28 and 15, respectively.

The Spartans are relying on young talent to contribute in the starting lineup and have had either a freshman or sophomore starting in seven different weight classes this season. Nick Trimble, a freshman at 141 pounds and Jordan Wohlfert, a freshman at 174 pounds, have each started this year for MSU, along with sophomores Brandon Fifield (133), Ryan Watts (157), Nick Proctor (165), John Rizqallah (184) and Luke Jones (197).

Michigan State wrestling head coach Tom Minkel announced on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the signing of Christian Pagdilao (Corona, Calif./Corona Santiago) to a National Letter of Intent, bringing the 2013-14 recruiting class to four student-athletes. Pagdilao will be joined by Javier Gasca (Kingsburg, Calif./Kingsburg), Josh Pennell (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns), and Mitch Rogaliner (Temperance, Mich./Temperance Bedford) who each signed a NLI in November.



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