MSU Spartans
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No. 17 Spartans Open Season At No. 2 Oklahoma State
 
 
 
Andy Simmons is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 141 pounds.
 
Andy Simmons is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 141 pounds.
 
 

Nov. 15, 2006

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THIS WEEK IN SPARTAN WRESTLING

MATCHUP: No. 17 MICHIGAN STATE (0-0) at No. 2 OKLAHOMA STATE (1-0)
WHERE: Stillwater, Okla. • Gallagher-Iba Arena
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 16 • 8 p.m. ET
MEDIA COVERAGE: An audio webcast is available beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET at www.okstate.com.

SPARTANS OPEN DUAL SEASON AT FOUR-TIME DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
MSU head coach Tom Minkel always stresses the importance of a tough dual-meet schedule. Year after year, he continually wrestles the top programs in the nation. This year is no exception.

Minkel's Spartans, ranked 17th in the NWCA Preseason Coaches' Poll, begin the dual-meet season with the grueling task of facing four-time defending national champion Oklahoma State - in Stillwater. The Cowboys, who defeated UC Davis 22-9 on Sunday in their opener, start the season ranked second in the poll.

Oklahoma State returns three All-Americans to its starting lineup, including 165-pound NCAA Champion Johny Hendricks. All-Americans Coleman Scott and Nathan Morgan are moving up in weight to 133 and 141, respectively. The Cowboys will display many new faces, however, as they feature six new starters in the lineup.

SPARTANS BOAST THREE WRESTLERS RANKED IN TOP-FIVE
Michigan State features three wrestlers ranked in the top five of their respective weight class, including Nick Simmons, who is No. 1 at 133 pounds (Amateur Wrestling News). Simmons jumped to the top spot after beating previously-ranked No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Matt Valenti of Penn in the 133 finals at the MSU Open on Nov. 12. Nick's brother, Andy, is ranked second at 141 pounds, while red-shirt freshman Franklin Gomez is fifth at 125. Junior Joe Williams is also ranked, coming in at 17th at 184 pounds.

Nick Simmons NAMED BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Fifth-year senior Nick Simmons was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after winning the 133-pound title at the Michigan State Open last Sunday. Simmons' upset victory over Matt Valenti of Penn vaulted Simmons to the top of the national rankings and earned him MSU Open Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. This marks the fourth time in Simmons' illustrious career that he has won the award.

QUOTING COACH MINKEL
An excerpt from Coach Minkel's Monday press conference:
On Nick Simmons...
"We had an excellent weekend here at the Michigan State Open. The highlight was Nick Simmons. Nick has wrestled at 125 his entire college career, but this year, he's considering wrestling at 133. Making the transition from 125 to 133 is something he's been looking at. He has to cut a lot of weight to make 125, and he's a little more comfortable at 133. His goal is to win a national title. He's a three-time All-American and two-time Big Ten champion, and at this point the only thing eluding him is a national title, and of course, our top priority is putting him in a position to win an NCAA championship. Nick met defending champ Matt Valenti in the finals and had a great match, beating him 2-0 to win the MSU Open. That's certainly good validation for Nick that he can compete at this weight class.

"We go to Oklahoma State on Thursday, and they have the No. 2 wrestler in the country in Coleman Scott. Nick has already beat Scott at 125, so if he wins at Oklahoma State, Nick should emerge as the top wrestler in the country at 133 pounds."

On his first three weight-classes...
"With Nick looking at 133, we're actually in really good shape at 125 pounds as red-shirt freshman Franklin Gomez cruised through the MSU Open. He really is a remarkable athlete, and is off to a great start. And of course Andy Simmons at 141 is right up there at the top. So our first three weights, we're as strong as we've ever been."

On Oklahoma State...
"We're looking forward to Thursday at Oklahoma State. They have tradition unlike any other school. There's certainly lesser opponents we could wrestle to start the year, but if you've ever been to Stillwater, it's really a remarkable place. Wrestling is so big there, and it's a great place to compete. Last year they were here, and we won five of 10 matches against them. We match up really well with them this year. If we can wrestle well there, we'll be in really good shape."

A LOOK AT LAST WEEK'S MICHIGAN STATE OPEN
Red-shirt freshman Franklin Gomez and senior Nick Simmons won titles at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively, at the Michigan State Open held last Sunday at Jenison Field House. Five other Spartans placed: senior Andy Simmons (second at 141), sophomore Jeff Wimberley (third at 133), red-shirt freshman Rocky Cozart (fourth at 165), sophomore John Murphy (fourth at 174) and junior Joe Williams (sixth at 184). The unscored event featured over 360 wrestlers from 21 schools. Simmons was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.





"We're looking forward to Thursday at Oklahoma State. They have tradition unlike any other school. There's certainly lesser opponents we could wrestle to start the year, but if you've ever been to Stillwater, it's really a remarkable place. Wrestling is so big there, and it's a great place to compete."
Head Coach Tom Minkel


Simmons, who has made the transition from 125 to 133 in the first two open meets this season, remained perfect at his new weight class with a thrilling upset over defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Matt Valenti of Penn. Simmons cruised to the finals, recording two technical falls and a pin in the first three rounds before defeating 18th-ranked T.J. Enright of Ohio State in the semifinals.

In the title bout, Simmons and Valenti went scoreless after one period. In the second, Valenti could not escape from Simmons, and the match remained scoreless. In the third, Simmons pulled a reverse on Valenti with about 30 seconds remaining, and held him the remainder of the match for the 2-0 victory. Simmons, who won the Eastern Michigan Open last week, improves to 9-0 for the year.

Gomez was equally as dominant in winning his second title of the young season. He won the first round by a technical fall in 2:30, then proceeded to win his next three matches by a combined score of 29-6. Gomez topped Obenson Black of Lock Haven, 5-1, in the championship match to move to 10-0 on the season.

Andy Simmons, ranked No. 1 at 141 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News, advanced to the finals before bowing to North Carolina's Vincent Ramirez in the final match due to an injury default. Simmons recorded a fall in his first match, then won the next two bouts by a combined score of 21-0. He beat Ryan Williams of Old Dominion, 6-5, in the semifinals.

Cozart - the defending MSU Open champ at 165 pounds - took fourth place after losing his first-round match. Cozart, seeded third, rattled off six straight victories in the consolation bracket before falling to Max Dean of Indiana in the third-place match, 3-2. At 174 pounds, sophomore John Murphy went 5-2 to capture fourth place. Junior Joe Williams took sixth at 184. Wimberley won four straight matches in the consolation bracket to take third at 133.

OKLAHOMA STATE NEWS & NOTES:
• OSU will have six new starters in the lineup for the 2006-07 season, including red-shirt freshmen Tyler Shinn (125) and Jared Rosholt (heavyweight).

• The Cowboys return three All-Americans to its starting lineup from last year's national championship team, including 165-pound NCAA Champion Johny Hendricks. All-Americans Coleman Scott and Nathan Morgan are moving up in weight to 133 and 141, respectively.

• Both Hendricks and Scott are slated to compete at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Dallas.

A LOOK AT LAST YEAR'S OKLAHOMA STATE DUAL
The No. 19 Michigan State wrestling team split its dual meet with three-time defending national champion Oklahoma State, but lost 21-15, last season at Jenison Field House.

The Spartans season kicked off with a victory by No. 18 Joe Williams over Jack Jensen at 184 pounds. After an uneventful first two minutes of the match, Williams scored on a single-leg takedown late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Williams gave up one point in the second period, then poured it on in the third, outscoring Jensen 6-2, adding a riding-time point for a 9-4 decision.

Senior Jeff Clemens gave defending national champion Jake Rosholt a run for his money early, but dropped the decision to the wrestler ranked No. 1 at 197 pounds, 8-4, tying the meet score at three apiece.

The Cowboys took a 7-3 lead in the meet behind two-time national champion Steve Mocco. Mocco scored a technical fall against senior Max Lossen at the 5:55 mark of their 285-pound match up, winning 24-8.

No. 4 Nick Simmons got the Green and White back on the winning track at 125 pounds, dominating his match with No. 5 Coleman Scott, 6-0. Simmons scored an early takedown and tallied three near-fall points in the first period, and accumulated over four minutes of riding time to improve his record to 11-0 on the season.

Wrestling in his first-career dual meet, Jeff Wimberley dropped the 133-pound match to No. 7 Nathan Morgan by major decision, 20-8.

The most anticipated match came at 141 pounds, where No. 4 Andy Simmons gained revenge on No. 13 Daniel Frishkorn after injury defaulting to him in last March's NCAA Championships. Simmons notched the 7-1 victory, tallying takedowns in the second and third periods, and adding two near-fall points after Frishkorn took the down position in the second frame.

Oklahoma State extended its lead to 16-9 behind a technical-fall victory by defending national champion Zack Esposito at 149 pounds.

Joe Williams recorded a win last year against Oklahoma State.


Tony Greathouse notched a thrilling, come-from-behind win at 157 pounds to upset No. 8 Kevin Ward. Greathouse trailed 3-0 after two periods, but scored two takedowns, including one inside one minute, that included two near-fall points.

Oklahoma State secured the dual-meet victory at 165 pounds, where defending national champion Johny Hendricks defeated sophomore Bryan Harney by technical fall in 6:48, 20-5. Hendricks outscored Harney by four in the first, six in the second and five in the third.

R.J. Boudro wrapped up the meet with a victory for MSU, defeating Brandon Mason at 184 pounds, 3-1.

Oklahoma State 21, Michigan State 15
184-	Joe Williams dec. Jack Jensen, 8-4
197-	Jake Rosholt dec. Jeff Clemens, 9-4
285-	Steve Mocco tech. fall Max Lossen, TF, 24-8, 5:55
125-	Nick Simmons dec. Coleman Scott, 6-0
133-	Nathan Morgan maj. dec. Jeff Wimberley, MD, 20-8
141-	Andy Simmons dec. Daniel Frishkorn, 7-1
149-	Zack Esposito tech. fall Darren McKnight, TF, 21-6, 7:00
157-	Tony Greathouse dec. Kevin Ward, 6-4
165-	Johny Hendricks tech. fall Bryan Harney, TF, 20-5, 6:48
174-	R.J. Boudro dec. Brandon Mason, 3-1

Andy Simmons SELECTED TO NWCA ALL-STAR DUAL MEET
Senior Andy Simmons was selected to represent Michigan State at the NWCA All-Star Classic held Monday, Nov. 20 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Simmons, ranked second in the NWCA Poll, will wrestle in the 141-pound match against top-ranked Ryan Lang of Northwestern.

Simmons and Lang have a long history. Simmons went 2-2 last season against Lang - he defeated him 8-2 for the Big Ten title, but fell 3-0 in the NCAA Championships. Both Lang and Simmons earned All-America honors, as Simmons took fifth and Lang claimed fourth. Lang topped Simmons to capture first place at last year's MSU Open, but Simmons returned the favor by pinning Lang in the regular-season dual. In 2004, Simmons defeated Lang by major decision, 15-6, in the Big Ten semifinals.

Simmons competed in the 2004 NWCA All-Star Classic, falling to Northern Iowa's Dylan Long, 8-2.

SPARTAN LINEUP FEATURES FIVE NEW FACES
MSU's starting lineup against Oklahoma State will feature five wrestlers (Franklin Gomez-125; Eddie Skowneski-149; Rocky Cozart-165; Nick Palmieri-197; Alan O'Donnell-285) competing in their first-career collegiate dual meet. A sixth starter (John Murphy-174) has only seen action in three duals.

Nick Simmons, who is a three-time All-American at 125 pounds, could start his first career bout at 133 on Thursday. Andy Simmons (141), Tony Greathouse (157) and Joe Williams (184) are the only three starters returning to their weight class from last season.

A LOOK AT THE EASTERN MICHIGAN OPEN
Three Michigan State wrestlers captured individual titles at the Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 4 in the first competition of the season.

Red-shirt freshman Franklin Gomez eased his way to a title at 125 pounds, while senior Nick Simmons won the crown at 133 pounds. Gomez went 5-0 on the day and won his five matches by a combined score of 52-3; he claimed the title with a 9-1 major decision over Alex Usztics of Navy in the finals. Simmons went 4-0 and pinned Joe Baker of Navy in 3:38 in the championship at 133.

Senior Tony Greathouse won at 157, while junior Joe Williams compiled a 3-1 record at 184 to take third place. Greathouse was a perfect 5-0 and beat Aaron Hynes of Michigan in the finals, 5-4.

A SCHEDULE LIKE NO OTHER
The Spartans, as always, boast one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Thirteen of MSU's 14 duals are against teams ranked in the preseason NWCA Top 25, including seven in the top 10. MSU opens its dual-meet season against four-time defending national champion and second-ranked Oklahoma State. In addition to the seven ranked Big Ten opponents MSU will wrestle, the Spartans will also step out of conference to take on No. 3 Missouri, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 12 Central Michigan, No. 13 Edinboro and No. 25 Pittsburgh.

RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN
The Simmons' brothers are continuing their assault on the MSU record book. With his five wins at the MSU Open, Nick moved into a tie for 11th place with Gray Maynard for most victories in MSU history with 106. Andy is tied for 13th at MSU with 105 career wins. In addition, Nick is just eight falls away from Jim Mason's all-time record of 45 set from 1980-84.

THE SIMMONS BROTHERS: A LOOK AT THE LEGACY
The Simmons brothers, Nick and Andy, enter their fifth years as two of the top wrestlers in Michigan State history. Here's a brief look at their impact:

Nick
• Three-time All-American at 125 pounds...two-time defending Big Ten Champion at 125...boasts a 106-18 career record...tied for 11th in MSU history in wins and is fifth in falls (37)...currently ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds with a 9-0 record...beat defending NCAA champion Matt Valenti of Penn, 2-0, in the 133 finals of the MSU Open...named MSU Open Most Outstanding Wrestler...went 4-0 to win the Eastern Michigan Open...named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week four times in his career (latest Nov. 15, 2006)...named 2004-05 MSU Male Athlete of the Year.

Andy
• Two-time All-American at 141 pounds...defending Big Ten champion at 141...boasts a 105-23 career record...tied for 12th in MSU history in wins...currently ranked No. 2 at 141 with a 4-0 record.

LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Red-shirt freshman Franklin Gomez is expected to make an immediate impact in the lineup this year for the Spartans. During his red-shirt season, Gomez compiled a 23-3 record at 125 pounds and captured three first-place finishes (Cleveland State Open, Kent State Open, Edinboro Open) and three second-place finishes (EMU Open, MSU Open, Penn State Open).

Gomez has opened the season in dominating fashion, going 10-0 with open title wins at Eastern Michigan and Michigan State, and is currently ranked fifth by Amateur Wrestling News.

He outscored his opponents 52-3 in the EMU Open and took home the title with a 9-1 major decision over Alex Usztics of Navy.

At the MSU Open, Gomez was equally as dominant in winning his second title of the young season. He won the first round by a technical fall in 2:30, then proceeded to win his next three matches by a combined score of 29-6. Gomez topped 11th-ranked Obenson Black of Lock Haven, 5-1, in the championship match to move to 10-0 on the season.

Gomez was a highly-touted recruit after completing the "triple crown" of high school wrestling in 2005, winning the high school national championship, the junior freestyle national championship and the junior Greco-Roman national championship.

MADE FOR TV
Michigan State will have two home regular-season dual meets televised on Comcast Local this season. The station will broadcast the Dec. 10 meet against Missouri and the Jan. 28 meet against Michigan on a tape-delayed basis.

 

 

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