Michigan State Wrestling Awards Announced At 2017-18 Banquet
MSU recognizes senior Javier Gasca; freshman NCAA qualifier Rayvon Foley named Outstanding Wrestler.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State wrestling honored lone senior Javier Gasca and awarded Outstanding Wrestler of the year to freshman NCAA qualifier and team win leader Rayvon Foley at the annual team banquet on Thursday night, held at the North End Zone Engagement Center at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
MSU head coach Roger Chandler and assistants Chris Williams, Wynn Michalak and Anthony Jones recognized the 2017-18 Spartan wrestling team for their hard work and dedication this season.
“I’m very proud in how our program persevered throughout the season,” Chandler said. “The true character of a team really shines through when they take the ‘next man up’ approach and that is exactly what everyone did this year. Having a young team sometimes has its challenges, but I truly enjoyed watching each and every one of them grow this year when they were given the green light.”
The Spartans’ lone senior, Javier Gasca, was recognized for his commitment, dedication and leadership as a Spartan wrestler, receiving the Collins-Mikles Leadership Award. Gasca was a two-time NCAA qualifier while wearing the Green and White, posting back-to-back 20 plus win seasons and becoming the first Big Ten finalist from MSU since 2009. Throughout his career, the Kingsburg, California, native was ranked among the top-20 in the 141-pound category, and won the Michigan State Open three times. Gasca will receive a degree in psychology in May and will teach English while studying Muay Thai in Thailand.
“We are very much going to miss the leadership of Javier Gasca. He is someone who has represented and led this program for many years in a positive light,” Chandler said. “He has always given his best effort and never made excuses, which is what we ask out of everyone involved with Spartan Wrestling.”
Foley received the Outstanding Wrestler award. The freshman was the lone Spartan to qualify for NCAA Championships this season. Foley amassed a team-high 28 wins, including a 13-4 record in duals for a team-high 46 dual points. Foley collected three technical falls and four major decisions at 125 pounds, and finished in seventh place at the Big Ten Championships. A true freshman, Foley made the finals at the Michigan State Open in his first collegiate wrestling appearance, and won the EMU Open title in his next outing. Foley faced ranked wrestlers on nine different occasions, tallying a victory in three of those matches. Foley was only the third true freshman to qualify for NCAA Championships in program history since 1978, and ended the season ranked at No. 16 by InterMat.
“Rayvon Foley set the tone for the program this year and produced the results we expect out of everyone,” Chandler added. “He is someone who is just starting to scratch the surface of his true potential. I know he expects greatness out of himself and teammates.”
Redshirt freshman Christian Rebottaro was given the Special Moment award. Rebottaro was the anchor for Michigan State wrestling in two of the team’s dual wins this season, coming through with a decision in the last match against Indiana to give the team an 18-15 win in the first Big Ten match of his collegiate career, as well as pinning his opponent in the final bout against Clarion, winning the dual, 22-15. Rebottaro battled through an injury this season, making his return to the lineup against Indiana after almost two months away from competition.
The Tom Muir Most Improved Award winner was redshirt sophomore Logan Ritchie, who moved up to 174 pounds this season after starting at 165. Ritchie posted 11 wins, including two Big Ten wins. Ritchie served Fritz Schierl of No. 2 Ohio State a 9-6 decision, and secured a come-from-behind win against Beau Breske of No. 15 Nebraska. Ritchie started in a career-high 16 duals this season, posting a technical fall and major decision.
The recipient of the Commitment Award was redshirt sophomore Logan Griffin. He returned to the lineup after undergoing Tommy John surgery, making his first appearance of the season against No. 24 Purdue on February 2, 2018, wrestling up a weight class at 133. Griffin battled tough throughout the year, earning his first win of the season with a 3-1 sudden victory in the match against Clarion and made the first appearance of his career at the Big Ten Championships.
The Outstanding Redshirt was awarded to Cameron Caffey, who was one of three Spartans to achieve over 20 wins this season. Caffey was 22-6 overall at 184 pounds, earning seven falls, three technical falls and three major decisions. Caffey appeared at seven open tournaments, never placing lower than fifth. Caffey won three open titles, at the Michigan State Open, the Storm Open and the Alma Open.
Redshirt freshman Alex Hrisopoulos received the Most Falls Award, with nine this season. Hrisopoulos spent time competing both at open tournaments and in the starting lineup, with his quickest pin of the season coming at 0:44. Hrisopoulos was 14-6 overall this season at 141 pounds, placing third at the MSU Open and second at the Alma Open. Hrisopoulos earns the award for the second-straight year, sharing the honor last season with Gasca at eight pins each.
Redshirt freshman Ethan Curtin was the Grady Peninger Scholastic Achievement Award recipient, with a 3.75 cumulative GPA. Curtin is majoring in business at MSU, and posted seven wins while competing at open tournaments this season. Curtin notched one pin at 3:45 and two major decisions, finishing eighth at the Storm Open.
Michigan State will return three NCAA qualifiers next season, with sophomore Drew Hughes and redshirt junior Austin Eicher slated to return to the starting lineup and Foley to begin his sophomore season. MSU loses just one letterwinner and NCAA qualifier in Javier Gasca. Head coach Roger Chandler will take on his third season at the helm of the Spartan wrestling team with a bright future ahead.
Collins-Mikles Leadership Award
Tom Muir Most Improved Award
Special Moment Award
Outstanding Redshirt Award
Most Falls Award
Grady Peninger Scholastic Achievement Award