MSU Spartans
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Wrestling Set for Action at Nittany Lion Open
Joe Williams
Joe Williams

Nov. 30, 2007

Date: Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: State College, Pa.
Arena: Rec Hall
Live Stats:

PDF of Complete Notes and Stats
Coach Minkel's Weekly Press Conference

Coming off a tough loss to seventh-ranked Central Michigan, Michigan State looks to pick up individual wins Sunday as the Spartans travel to State College, Pa., for Penn State's annual Nittany Lion Open. Preliminary action will begin at 8:30 a.m., with bouts running all day.

The tournament will feature some of the nation's premier programs including, but not limited to, Army, Bloomsburg, Buffalo, No. 12 Cornell, No. 15 Edinboro, Kent State, Lehigh, Lock Haven, No. 24 Maryland, Michigan State, No. 20 Navy, North Carolina, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 25 Old Dominion, Rider, Rutgers, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

At last year's event, Joe Williams won his second career open title by topping Purdue's Brent Chriswell with a 6-4 sudden victory in the 184-pound finals. Williams opened action with a 15-0 technical fall win over Steve Funk of Millersville, then pinned Michael Elshamy of Rutgers in 5:20. The Orange, Calif., native then rattled off three straight victories before beating Chriswell in the championship match.

Additionally, Franklin Gomez placed second at 125, while Jeff Wimberley took third at 141. Gomez lost his first match of the year in the 125-pound finals, a 5-3 sudden-victory defeat to No. 7 Mark McKnight of Penn State. Gomez dominated his five matches en route to the finals, recording two technical falls, a major decision, a pin and a victory over a ranked opponent.



Wimberley won his first four matches at 141 pounds, reaching the semifinals before bowing to eventual champion Bryan Heller of Penn State, 10-4. Wimberley rebounded with a 6-3 victory over Edinboro's Ricky McLaughlin to finish in third place.

Michigan State wrestling couldn't fend off the nation's seventh-ranked program as Central Michigan (5-0) defeated the Spartans, 33-3, Thursday night in front of 1,755 fans at the Chippewas' Rose Arena. Central Michigan brought eight ranked wrestlers to its starting lineup, proving to be too strong for Spartans' two ranked starters.

Tallying the only win for the Spartans, No. 6 Franklin Gomez earned his third win over a ranked opponent this season, as the 133-pounder defeated No. 14 Conor Beebe to maintain his perfect record this year (9-0). Posting two takedowns in both the first and third periods, Gomez sealed a 10-3 decision, and gave the Spartans a chance to stay alive, tying the match 3-3.

Despite Gomez's revival efforts, the Spartans failed to earn another win for the remainder of the dual as Central Michigan swept the final eight contests.

Michigan State is led by a pair of ranked wrestlers, No. 6 Franklin Gomez and No. 15 Joe Williams. Boasting an MSU tournament title, Gomez leads the Spartans with a perfect 9-0 record so far this fall as the 133-pound starter. His flawless start to the season includes one technical fall, one major decision and three wins over ranked opponents.

While Gomez ranks sixth in five national polls, senior starter Joe Williams sits as high as 15th in the 197-pound class. Williams has earned a 9-3 overall record this year, including three wins over ranked opponents as well as three pins and three major decisions. Additionally, Williams' only losses have come against ranked opponents - Northwestern's No. 3 Mike Tamillow and Central Michigan's No. 5 Wynn Michalak.

Sophomore standout Franklin Gomez has jumped out to an incredible start to the season, going undefeated (9-0) through tournament and dual action. The 133-pound starter ranks sixth nationally in his weight class, a standing propped up by his MSU Open title, Big Ten Wrestler of the Week accolades and wins over three ranked opponents.

Topping off his outstanding performance at the Spartans' home tournament, Gomez defeated Indiana's then-ranked No. 3 Andrae Hernandez 5-2 for the 133-pound title.

At Nov. 17's ACC-Big Ten Clash, Gomez defeated his second ranked opponent of the season, taking down Virginia's No. 9 Eric Albright in a 7-1 decision. And most recently, Gomez picked up the Spartans only win in Central Michigan dual, besting No. 14 Conor Beebe, 10-3. Gomez began last year in similar fashion, running an 18-match winning streak in 2006-07.

Senior captain Joe Williams continues to be a driving force for the Spartans, as the fifth-year 197-pounder leads by example for the MSU wrestlers, having defeated three ranked opponents in his 12 bouts.

Ranked as high as 15th in the nation, Willams paces the Spartans with three major decisions and ties for first on the team with three pins. The senior also ties for second on the team in total wins this season with his 9-3 record, good for the third best winning percentage (.750) along with Joel Trombly.

In his career, Williams owns a 66-36 overall mark and 21-19 dual record.

Franklin Gomez and Alan O'Donnell represent the only two Spartans to remain undefeated in dual action this season. Gomez has chalked up five dual wins, going against Old Dominion, North Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina State and Central Michigan, while O'Donnell picked up his solo dual victory against Old Dominion.

The Spartans will break for the holiday season and return to tournament action at the Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30 in Evanston, Ill. Michigan State's next dual isn't until next year, when MSU hosts Ohio at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House on Jan. 4, 2008.


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