Spartans Travel To Ypsilanti for Eastern Michigan Open
MSU is one of 22 teams competing on Saturday.
|2017 Eastern Michigan Open|
|Date | Time||Saturday, Nov.11 | Prelims: 9:00 a.m. ET / Finals: TBD|
|Location||Ypsilanti, Mich. | EMU Convocation Center|
|General Information||Eastern Michigan Open|
|Streaming Coverage||No Video|
|Internet Coverage||Live brackets at TrackWrestling.com|
|Social Media||@wrestlingmsu | Facebook | Instagram|
MSU will be one of 22 teams represented at the Eastern Michigan Open, and the field includes Big Ten Conference competition from Indiana, No. 3 Michigan, Northwestern, No. 2 Ohio State and Purdue. Two additional ranked opponents in No. 6 Arizona State and in-state foe No. 21 Central Michigan are also in the field of competition, according to Intermat.
SPARTANS TO WATCH
Redshirt senior 141-pounder Javier Gasca is one of MSU's three returning NCAA qualifiers... won the Michigan State Open 141 title in the open division for the third consecutive year ... went undefeated with five wins at the event, collecting four decisions and a fall at 3:56 in the first round ... named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week by the conference for his performance at the MSU Open, his first career weekly conference honor and the first since Drew Hughes last season on December 20, 2016 ... placed third at the 2017 Big Ten Championships, the highest individual finish for a Spartan wrestler since Frank Gomez won the Big Ten title in 2009 ... finished the season with a 27-10 record ... ranked No. 12 by InterMat, No. 10 by Flo Wrestling and No. 14 by Trackwrestling.
Redshirt sophomore Austin Eicher also returns to the MSU lineup as a two-time NCAA qualifier ... finished his first season as a Spartan with a 22-18 overall record ... placed eighth at the Big Ten Championships ... posted five falls and four majors decisions ... ranked No. 12 by Flo Wrestling at 133 pounds ... last season, was ranked in the top 20 throughout ... came to MSU last season as transfer from NIU, where he qualified for NCAA Championships after winning the MAC Conference Championship at 133 pounds.
Sophomore Drew Hughes rounds out the returning NCAA qualifying Spartans at 174 pounds ... took second place at the MSU Open in the open division, tallying three wins, including a 1-0 decision over No. 14 Christian Brucki of Central Michigan in the semifinal round ... Hughes' only loss of the day came against No. 4 Myles Amine of Michigan in the final round ... became the first Spartan freshman to qualify for NCAA Champions since Sean McMurray in 2011 ... finished his first season with a 29-10 overall record, winning 24 of his last 33 matches ... shutout 15 of his last 20 opponents last season, collecting 16 shutouts overall ... placed fifth at 2017 Big Ten Championships ... named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Dec. 20, 2016 ... ranked No. 8 by InterMat, Flo Wrestling and Trackwrestling.
157-pounder Jake Tucker returns to the Spartans after a redshirt season ... finished in sixth place at the MSU Open in the open division, logging two decisions and a fall.
True freshmen Spartans dominated the freshman/sophomore division, claiming three titles for the day. 141-pounder Jaden Enriquez, 157-pounder Nathan Atienza and 184-pounder Cameron Caffey all came in first place in their first competitions in the Green and White. 125-pounder Rayvon Foley claimed second place.
Redshirt freshman Alex Hrisopoulos logged a tournament-leading five falls, competing in the freshman/sophomore division at 141 pounds. His fastest fall came at 1:07 in the semifinal consolation round.
SPARTANS IN THE RANKINGS
Senior Javier Gasca - 141 pounds
No. 12 by InterMat
No. 10 by Flo Wrestling
No. 14 by Trackwrestling
Junior Austin Eicher - 133/141 pounds
No. 14 by InterMat (133)
No. 12 by Flo Wrestling (133)
No. 14 by Trackwrestling (133)
Sophomore Drew Hughes - 174 pounds
No. 8 by InterMat
No. 8 by Flo Wrestling
No. 8 by Trackwrestling
GASCA EARNS BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Javier Gasca was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Tuesday, Nov. 7 after his performance at the MSU Open on Sunday, Nov. 5. Gasca went undefeated through the day's competition and bested three ranked opponents to claim his third consecutive MSU Open title. This marked Gasca's first career Big Ten weekly honor, and he is the first Spartan wrestler to earn the accolade since Drew Hughes last season on Dec. 20, 2016.
MSU HAS NINE LETTERWINNERS, 15 NEWCOMERS iN 2017-18
Michigan State returns nine letterwinners from last season. MSU has 17 newcomers, including 14 freshmen and one transfer from Lake Erie. Ten of the newcomers hail from Michigan. The remaining five are natives to Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania and California.
CONFERENCE ACTION THIS WEEKEND
Nine Big Ten Conference teams take the mat this weekend in the second week of the 2017-18 wrestling season. Michigan hosts a dual meet on Friday, while Michigan State and Ohio State will compete at the EMU Open on Saturday. Iowa and Rutgers will also compete in dual meets on Saturday. Finishing out the weekend, Penn State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State and Maryland will participate in duals on Sunday.
CHANDLER BEGINS SECOND YEAR AS HEAD COACH
Michigan State head coach Roger Chandler is in his 21st season on the Spartan wrestling staff, but his second as head coach, taking over the reins of the MSU program from longtime head coach Tom Minkel, who directed the program since 1991, and retired following his 25th season at Michigan State in 2015-16.
In his first season as head coach, Chandler led the Spartans to a 10th-place finish at Big Ten Championships, the team's best finish since 2012. MSU's 38.5 points at the meet was their highest total since 2012, showing the signs of the program's progress in Chandler's first year acting as head coach. The Spartans also qualified three for NCAA Championships for the first time since 2013 in Chandler's first year at the helm of the program.
SPARTAN ASSISTANT COACHES
Former Spartan All-American Chris Williams is in the second year of his second stint on the MSU staff as an assistant coach. Williams had served as the head wrestling coach at Adrian College since November 2014, where he restarted the program and led the Bulldogs in their first season of competition in 31 years in 2015-16. He previously was an assistant coach at Michigan State, along with Chandler, for eight seasons (2005-13).
Former Central Michigan All-American and U.S. Senior Nationals Champion Wynn Michalak is in his second season as the Spartans' assistant wrestling coach. One of the most successful wrestlers in Central Michigan history, Michalak was a four-time Mid-American Conference Champion (2005-08), three-time MAC Wrestler of the Year (2006-08), and a three-time NCAA All-American (2005, 2006, 2008), including a runner-up finish at 197 pounds in 2008. He won the 2015 U.S. Senior Nationals title at 97 kg/213 pounds on Dec. 19, 2015, in Las Vegas, and competed in the past two U.S. Olympic wrestling trials.
LAST SEASON'S EMU OPEN
The 2016 EMU Open was the season-opening competition, highlighted by Javier Gasca's 141-pound title win. The Spartans finished the day with eight medal-winners in total, including a second-place finish from Drew Hughes, fourth-place finish from Jwan Britton, fifth-place finishes from Lucas Hall and Austin Thompson and sixth-place finishes from Logan Griffin, Austin Hiles and Jake Tucker.
COACH CHANDLER ON THE TEAM'S PROGRESS
"We just have to continue to get better every time we step on the mat. There are some fundamental things we need to work on as a program, and we've already addressed them this week and we will continue to address them throughout the next few days. Fundamentally, our defense needs to be better. We need to sprawl and we need to take advantage of those opportunities to score from those positions. I want a team that wants to put points on the board, and I want to see guys that are willing to go after a win instead of backing into a win. If these guys are trying to put points on the board through offensive attacks, then at the end of the day we can feel good about things."
COACH CHANDLER ON THE EMU OPEN
"The early open tournaments allow us to build into our season. You'll see a lot of different levels of wrestling. I think our tournament was by far and above the toughest open tournament in the country. That was a good benchmark for our program to compete at that level, and I know they'll have more competition this weekend but it won't be so influenced through the depth of the Big Ten."
COACH CHANDLER ON THE TRUE FRESHMEN
"We expected these guys to have success, and we want these guys to have success early on but all of them showed up right away in the first college competition which is very pleasing as a coach. To know that these guys are continuing their competitive success and not taking a step back. I think they expect it out of themselves, to have success, and that's the mindset we want in our wrestlers."
After the EMU Open, the Spartans will compete in their first dual of the season against No. 17 Central Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.