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Spartans Close Out 2017 At South Beach Duals

Dec. 27, 2017

Dual #3:
Michigan State (1-1, 0-0 B1G) vs. Southern Illinois (1-4, 0-0 SOCON)

Dual #4:
Michigan State vs. Franklin & Marshall (1-1, 0-1 EIWA)

Dual #5:
Michigan State vs. Binghamton (3-1, 0-0 EIWA)

Dual #6:
Michigan State vs. No. 24 North Carolina (2-3, 0-0 ACC)
 Date | Time Friday-Saturday, Dec. 29-30 | 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
 Location Deerfield Beach, Fla. | Deerfield Beach Sportsplex
 Notes Michigan State | Southern Illinois | Franklin & Marshall | Binghamton | North Carolina
 Statistics Michigan State | Southern Illinois | Franklin & Marshall | Binghamton | North Carolina
 Internet Coverage Stream live on Trackwrestling
 Social Media @wrestlingmsu

Michigan State wrestling makes the trip south to Deerfield Beach, Florida, for the South Beach Wrestling Experience from Dec. 29-30. The Spartans compete in two dual matches each day, going up against Southern Illinois and Franklin & Marshall on the first day followed by Binghamton and No. 24 North Carolina on the second. The event will be streamed live on

MSU is one of 12 teams taking part in the first-ever South Beach Duals, along with five ranked squads: No. 4 Missouri, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 12 Cornell, No. 22 Rider and No. 24 North Carolina. With Minnesota in attendance in addition to MSU, two teams represent the Big Ten Conference.

• Senior Javier Gasca - 141 pounds
No. 15 by FloWrestling
No. 18 by InterMat
No. 20 by Win Wrestling Magazine

The Spartans took the first dual win of the season in a tiebreaker edge with Buffalo, 18-17 on Friday, Dec. 8. The teams split with five matches each, but Michigan State finished with the win on match points, 63-58. Major decisions from 141-pounder Javier Gasca and 157-pounder Jake Tucker helped the Spartans to victory, as well as decisions from 125-pounder Rayvon Foley, 165-pounder Logan Ritchie and 174-pounder Drew Hughes.

Sixteen grapplers from MSU competed at the Cleveland State Open on Saturday, Dec. 16, six of which wrestled attached to Michigan State. Five Spartans placed at the event, led by redshirt freshman Jwan Britton in third at 149 pounds. Redshirt freshmen Austin Hiles (165) and Danny Kruse (184) both placed eighth. Unattached, freshman Cameron Caffey finished sixth at 184 pounds, and freshman Brad Wilton placed sixth at 197 pounds.

Southern Illinois is 1-4 in dual action, and 0-1 in conference duals. In their last time out, the Cougars were downed by No. 23 Central Michigan, 42-3, and by No. 19 Purdue, 31-9, both familiar opponents to MSU. 197-pounder Christian Dulaney won SIUE's lone match against Central Michigan. Tyshawn Williams won the bout at 149 pounds with a pin and Karsten Van Velsor added a decision at 157 pounds to put nine points on the board for the Cougars.

Michigan State is 13-0-0 in career meetings with Southern Illinois. The last time the two teams met was on Jan. 16, 1979, when the Spartans shut out the Cougars, 41-0.

Southern Illinois Projected Lineup (Year, Overall, Duals)
125: Zac Gentzler (R-Sr., 4-8, 1-4)
133: Lucas Bernal (Jr., 0-1, 0-1) -OR- Joe Antonelli (Jr., 1-3, 1-3)
141: John Muldoon (R-Jr., 5-3, 2-3) -OR- Angelo Silvestro (R-Sr., 4-5, 0-0) -OR- Dakota Leach (R-Sr., 3-4, 0-0)
149: Tyshawn Williams (R-So. 5-5, 3-2)
157: Karsten Van Velsor (R-Sr., 5-8, 1-3)
165: Nate Higgins (R-Jr., 9-3, 1-2)
174: Logan Gruszka (R-Fr., 0-1, 0-1) -OR- Mason McDaniel (R-Fr., 0-2, 0-2)
184: Bryce Shewan (Fr., 5-6, 0-3)
197: Christian Dulaney (Jr., 9-4, 3-2)
285: Jake McKiernan (R-Jr., 1-2, 1-0) -OR- Tommy Helton (R-Fr., 2-8, 0-2)

Franklin & Marshall is 1-1 so far this season, and 0-1 in conference action. The Diplomats won the first match of the season against VMI, 25-12, taking seven bouts, including two major decisions and a tech fall. Michigan State meets Franklin & Marshall for just the second time in program history, and for the first time since 1937, when the Diplomats defeated the Spartans, 26.5-1.5.

Franklin & Marshall Projected Lineup (Year, Overall, Duals)
125: Edgar Garcia (Sr., 2-2, 2-0) -OR- Michael Simonetti (Fr., 2-8, 0-0)
133: Dan Martoccio (R-Jr., 3-6, 0-2) -OR- Wil Gil (Fr., 10-8, 0-0)
141: Brett Kulp (R-Fr., 8-4, 2-0)
149: Sam Butler (Sr., 4-6, 1-0) -OR- Chris Martorello (Jr., 1-6, 0-0)
157: Emmett LiCastri (So., 3-6, 0-2)
165: Jacob Conners (Jr., 4-6, 0-0) -OR- Dylan Gumaer (Fr., 3-5, 1-1)
174: Josh Young (R-Sr., 3-7, 1-1) -OR- Jimmy Stillerman (So., 0-4, 0-0)
184: Steven Mercadante (R-Fr., 2-5, 1-1)
197: Reid Robilotto (So., 0-4, 0-0)
285: Antonio Pelusi (R-Jr., 7-4, 1-1) -OR- Corey Kerkesner (Jr., 1-2, 0-0)

Binghamton is 3-1 overall, and last wrestled at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The Bearcats' three wins were over Indianapolis (35-7), Indiana (29-6) and Eastern Michigan (28-13). The Spartans hold a 2-0-0 series advantage over the Bearcats, with the last win coming on Nov. 21, 2010, 19-15.

Binghamton Projected Lineup (Year, Overall, Duals)
125: Joe Nelson (R-Jr., 9-3, 2-0) -OR- Steven Bulzomi (Jr., 7-6, 2-0)
133: Jacob Nicholson (R-Sr., 8-7, 3-1)
141: Joe Russ (R-Jr., 8-5, 0-4)
149: Frankie Garcia (R-So., 9-6, 3-1)
157: Tristan Rifanburg (R-So., 8-6, 2-2)
165: Vincent DePrez (R-Jr., 16-7, 3-1) -OR- Jake Einbinder (R-So., 1-4, 0-0)
174: Anthony Lombardo (R-Jr., 11-6, 3-1) - OR- Anthony DePrez (R-Jr., 0-0, 0-0)
184: No. 13 Steven Schneider (Sr., 7-3, 3-1)
197: Alex Melikian (R-Fr., 1-2, 0-0)
285: Sean Dee (R-Fr., 2-4, 0-0)

North Carolina is the lone ranked opponent for MSU this weekend, ranked at No. 24 in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Tar Heels are 2-2 overall in dual matches, knocking off No. 12 Nebraska to re-enter the national rankings for the first time since October.

Michigan State is 4-2-1 overall against North Carolina, last meeting the Tar Heels on Nov. 30, 2013. The Spartans came out on top in Troy, N.Y., 22-19.

No. 24 North Carolina Projected Lineup (Year, Overall, Duals)
125: Dalton Macri (R-So., 2-2, 1-0) -OR- James Szymanski (Jr., 4-1, 0-0)
133: Zach Sherman (Fr., 3-1, 0-0)
141: A.C. Headlee (R-So., 8-4, 1-2)
149: No. 4 Troy Heilmann (R-Sr., 12-1, 3-0)
157: Kennedy Monday (R-Fr., 5-7, 0-3)
165: Anderson Pope (R-Sr., 3-3, 0-1) -OR- Clay Lautt (Fr., 2-6, 0-2)
174: No. 9 Ethan Ramos (R-Sr., 7-3, 2-1) -OR- Adis Radoncic (Jr., 1-4, 0-2)
184: Chip Ness (R-Jr., 4-2, 1-0)
197: Danny Chaid (Sr., 6-5, 2-1)
285: Cory Daniel (R-Jr., 9-5, 1-2)

Nationally-ranked 174-pounder and NCAA Qualifier Drew Hughes will miss the remaining 2018 season due to injury and will receive a medical hardship. Hughes, a sophomore from Lowell, Indiana, placed second at the MSU Open and helped the Spartans to a dual win at Buffalo with a 4-3 decision over Ryan Kromer.

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.

"We're going to prepare for each and every team as we would a normal dual meet. With the turnover time of back-to-back dual meets, it's going to be hard to game plan for each individual. It's going to be very general, how we approach these teams. We're going to focus on the things that we need to do and continue to focus on getting better every time that we step on the mat."

"I think it's great. I think this is going to be a big time event. You have 12 Division I teams competing in the event. From the standpoint of how it's structured, I think it's great that you're guaranteed four matches for every individual over the course of two days. At this time of year, you want to see your kids getting matches. In some tournaments, you can go 1-2 or 0-2, and your kids aren't getting all of the matches that they could possibly be getting. I do like the dual meet format and I think it will create a more electric atmosphere having the dual meet setting."

"We're dealing with the dog days of winter where you have very little light up north. It's going to be great to go down to Florida, get some sun and have a little down time in between days."

"I think it's setting the tone for the second half of the season. How does each individual and how does this team want to compete for the rest of the year? I keep saying we need to get better every time we step on the mat, but there's something to be said about bringing up your intensity level and being gritty in every single match because once you get to the Big Ten season, it's a whole different level of competition."

Michigan State kicks off the new year in Iowa City, Iowa against No. 7 Iowa on Friday, Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. to start the Big Ten season.



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