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Spartans Visit Buffalo For Dual Friday Night

Dec. 7, 2017

Dual #2:
Michigan State (0-1, 0-0 B1G) at Buffalo (2-2, 1-0 MAC)
 Date | Time Friday, Dec. 8 | 7:00 p.m.
 Location Buffalo, N.Y. | Alumni Arena
 Notes Michigan State | Buffalo
 Statistics Michigan State | Buffalo
 Internet Coverage Stream live on ESPN3
 Social Media @wrestlingmsu

Michigan State wrestling travels to Buffalo, New York, to compete in its second dual of season against Buffalo on Friday, Dec. 8. Action at Alumni Arena will begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN3. Friday's dual marks the first meeting between the Spartans and the Bulls in program history.

The Spartans make the trip to Buffalo, New York, after spending last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 36th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Widely regarded as one of the nation's top college tournaments, the Spartans were part of 46-team field of competition. Fourteen out of those 46 teams were ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches poll.

MSU's tournament run was cut short on Friday, Dec. 1 after the Spartan wrestlers were downed in consolation. Freshman Rayvon Foley went 4-2 at 125 pounds, redshirt freshman Jake Tucker went 3-2 at 157 pounds and sophomore Drew Hughes went 2-2 at 174 pounds. All advanced to the round of eight in wrestlebacks.

A group of Michigan State wrestlers competed unattached at the fifth annual Storm Open hosted by Lake Erie College on Sunday, Dec. 3 in Painesville, Ohio. Freshman Cameron Caffey highlighted the Spartan effort, claiming first at 184 pounds and going undefeated through four matches, including two falls and a major decision. Caffey is 9-2 in open tournaments this season.

At 157 pounds, freshman Brad Wilton earned a 5-1 record at the tournament, garnering a fifth-place finish and collecting three falls along the way. Redshirt freshman Matt Lloyd also went 5-1 to take a fifth-place finish at 285 pounds, and freshman Clay Smith went 4-2 at 133 pounds, finishing in sixth place.

Buffalo is currently 2-2 in dual action, and 1-0 in conference duals. In its last time out, Buffalo earned a commanding 27-9 victory in its MAC opener over Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Two wrestlers on the Bulls are ranked in the top-20 in national wrestling publications. At 133 pounds, Bryan Lantry is ranked No. 16 by FloWrestling and InterMat. Lantry is a two-time NCAA Championships qualifier and placed second at the 2017 MAC Championships. At 285 pounds, Jake Gunning is ranked 20th in the nation by InterMat and was the 2017 MAC Champion.

Buffalo Projected Lineup (Year, Overall, Duals)
125: Kyle Akins (R-Jr., 3-1, 3-1) -OR- Justin Patrick (R-So., 4-3, 0-1)
133: No. 16 Bryan Lantry (R-Jr., 2-2, 2-2)
141: Blake Retell (R-Jr., 0-2, 0-2)
149: Jason Esteves (Sr., 2-2, 2-2) -OR- Nick Palumbo (Fr., 1-2, 0-0)
157: Kobe Garrehy (So., 1-1, 1-1) -OR- Eric Fasnacht (R-Fr., 2-3, 0-1)
165: Noah Grover (Fr., 2-2, 0-0) -OR- Derek Holcomb (R-Jr., 2-2, 2-2)
174: Ryan Kromer (R-Jr., 0-0, 0-0) -OR- Austin Weigel (Sr., 6-4, 2-2)
184: Brett Perry (R-Jr., 3-3, 3-1)
197: Joe Ariola (Sr., 4-4, 1-2)
285: No. 20 Jake Gunning (R-Jr., 3-1, 3-1)

• 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. 13 by FloWrestling, No. 18 by InterMat, and No. 20 by
Win Wrestling Magazine.

• 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. 14 by Trackwrestling and No. 17 by InterMat at 133 pounds ... last season, was ranked in the top 20 throughout the season ... 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... placed fifth at 2017 Big Ten Championships ... ranked No. 16 by FloWrestling and Win Wrestling Magazine and No. 18 by InterMat.

• Freshman Rayvon Foley earned his first collegiate dual match win in his first career start as a Spartan at No. 17 Central Michigan, giving MSU an early 3-0 lead after defeating Drew Hildebrandt, 9-6 ... claimed his first open tournament title as a Spartan, going undefeated through four matches, including a major decision in the final bout, in the freshman/sophomore division at the Eastern Michigan Open ... took second place of the freshman/sophomore division at the MSU Open in his first competition in the Green and White ... went 4-2 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational ... leads the team with 13 wins overall.

• Senior Javier Gasca - 141 pounds
No. 13 by FloWrestling
No. 18 by InterMat
No. 20 by Win Wrestling Magazine

• Sophomore Drew Hughes - 174 pounds
No. 16 by FloWrestling
No. 16 by Win Wrestling Magazine
No. 18 by InterMat

Seven Spartans saw action in their first dual in the Green and White against No. 17 CMU, three of which came away with a win - freshman Rayvon Foley at 125 pounds, redshirt freshman Nathan Ellis at 133 pounds and redshirt freshman Austin Hiles at 174 pounds. Redshirt freshmen Alex Hrisopoulos (141), Jake Tucker (157), Nick May (184) and Christian Rebottaro (HWT) also notched the first dual match of their careers under their belt.

Redshirt freshman Austin Hiles, normally at 165 pounds, started at 174 pounds against No. 17 CMU (11/17) to fill in for No. 10 Drew Hughes. Appearing in his first career dual match, Hiles went up against 14th-ranked C.J. Brucki. The Spartan knocked off the Chippewa in thrilling fashion, coming back from a 9-1 deficit to defeat
Brucki 12-10 with a buzzer-beater takedown.

Hiles is the third Spartan this season to defeat a ranked opponent. Redshirt senior Javier Gasca has claimed three wins over nationally ranked wrestlers at 141 pounds, and sophomore Drew Hughes has recorded a victory over Brucki from CMU as well.

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.

• 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 enters his second season as 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.

"Coach Stutzman took over the Buffalo program a few years ago and he's known to put a very good product on the mat. I know he's going to put 10 guys out there that are going to compete hard, so from that standpoint it's going to be a challenge for us but at the same time we look forward to it."

"Buffalo is going to be a physical wrestling team. They're going to stand in there toe-to-toe with us. We definitely have some work cut out for us."

"We have to get better every time we step on the mat We have to learn from what we experienced last week when we competed at the Las Vegas Invitational. Obviously, that's the standard at the national level and that most replicates the NCAA tournament, so from that standpoint, we have to grow from that and raise our level to match what we experienced at that event."

Following the dual with Buffalo, the Spartans will compete at the South Beach Duals in Deerfield Beach, Florida, from Dec. 29-30.



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