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Wrestling Heads To Midlands Championships
Rex Kendle and the Spartans will travel to Evanston, Ill., to compete in the 46th-annual Midlands Championships.
Rex Kendle and the Spartans will travel to Evanston, Ill., to compete in the 46th-annual Midlands Championships.

Dec. 28, 2008

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team will travel to Evanston, Ill., to participate in the 46th annual Midlands Championships on Dec. 29 and 30. Midlands will be the Spartans' final regular-season tournament, with the dual-match season getting into full swing come January. Semifinals and Finals action will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m. on Dec. 30.

At last year's Midlands, then-sophomore Franklin Gomez took second place at 133 pounds to pace the Spartans, who finished the tournament tied for 11th out of 52 teams. Gomez, who earned the top seed in his weight class heading into the tournament, fell to Iowa's Joe Slaton in the title match by 6-2 decision.

The Midlands will feature 31 different universities at this year's tournament, including seven from the Big Ten. Twelve teams from the top-25, including top-ranked Iowa, are slated to participate.

Seven of the Spartans' 12 dual opponents will make the trip to Evanston. Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan will all send participants to the two-day tournament.

The Michigan State wrestling team pulled out a close victory against Eastern Michigan on Friday, Dec. 5, taking a 18-15 victory on the final contest of the night in Ypsilanti. The Spartans defeated the Eagles for the 10th-straight time, extending their record against EMU to 12-1 all-time.

No. 15-ranked senior Rex Kendle defeated Justin Brandel by 6-1 decision to clinch the victory for the Spartans in the final match of the night. Kendle extended his season record to 16-2, which leads the team in victories.

After MSU took a 12-6 lead six matches in, the tides turned in favor of EMU. A fall and a decision in favor of the Eagles gave them a 15-12 lead going into the final two matches.



Sophomore Anthony Jones Jr. defeated Drew Lesko by 11-5 decision to bring the contest back to a tie, and Kendle defeated Brandel in the final match to clinch the MSU victory.

Gomez is ranked first in the nation by five major wrestling media outlets. The InterMat/NWCA/NWMA, Amateur Wrestling News, Wrestling International Newsmagazine, RevWrestling and The Wrestling Report polls all have Gomez as the top wrestler at 133 in their latest weekly rankings.

Gomez last held the top spot after winning the Big Ten Championship last season.

Kendle's Mat Town Open title was his second tournament title of the season and the third tournament he has placed in. Kendle won his first title at the MSU Open on Nov. 1, taking the Open division title at 165 pounds.

Kendle also took second place in the Open division at the EMU Open. His tournament record stands at 13-1, with his only loss coming in the title match at the EMU Open.

Kendle joins Gomez and Jones as the only Spartans to win tournament titles this season. Gomez took the Open title at 133 pounds at the MSU Open and Jones took the MSU Open Freshman/Sophomore title at 157.

MSU head coach Tom Minkel announced on Nov. 19 the signing of high school wrestlers Josh Harper (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) and Dan Osterman (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns) to National Letters of Intent.

Harper enters his senior season with a 141-1 career record, while Osterman carries a 160-7 record after recording a 52-0 junior campaign.

MSU will open the home dual season when Central Michigan travels to East Lansing on Jan. 3.


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