“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys”: Michigan State wrestling earns first ranked win of the season against No. 22 Indiana


Sarah Smith

The Michigan State Wrestling team cheers on their teammates during Michigan State’s loss to Michigan on January 13, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Colby Schikora, Wrestling Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State wrestling head coach Roger Chandler earned his 50th career win on Friday, Feb. 10, as No. 24 Michigan State notched a victory in the last home event of the season. The Spartans secured their first ranked win of the season against No. 22 Indiana, 20-16. 

“My name is on it [the wins] as head coach, but these are their wins that they earned, and I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys,” Chandler said.

As the night got started, the Jenison crowd had some honoring to do. Eight seniors were honored for their dedication to the program. 

Graduates Cameron Caffey, Rayvon Foley, Benny Gomez, and Ryan Vasbinder said goodbye to Jenison as they walked the mat with their families. The Spartans also bid farewell to Peyton Omania, Skyler Crespo, Cameron Monzadeh, and Miles Hoey.

“To be honest, I didn’t know it was going to be my 50th [win],” Chandler said. “Obviously, it’s bittersweet. Guys like Cam Caffey and Rayvon Foley, they’ve been here six of my seven years here as head coach, and those guys earned most of those wins.” 

Leading the match was junior Tristan Lujan, who made his return to the lineup after not competing in the last dual.

After a scoreless first period, Lujan elected to start down to begin the second period, where he mustered an escape. That would prove to be the match-winner, as the rest of the match was scoreless and the Spartans would head into the second bout with a three-point lead. 

Up next, No. 29 Henry Porter for the Hoosiers took on No. 17 Rayvon Foley for the Spartans. Porter managed some early takedowns to go up 6-2 at the end of the first period. Foley cut the deficit to 6-5 with just over a minute left in the second, but a pair of escapes and a late takedown would earn Porter the upset decision, 10-5. 

Jordan Hamden for Michigan State came into the 141-bout trying to regain the lead for the Spartans, but Cayden Rooks for Indiana had other plans. Rooks collected four takedowns in the match, with Hamden only able to come up with five escapes. The Hoosiers were ahead for the first time, leading 6-3. 

In the 149-pound weight class, Omania for the Spartans looked to take down Indiana’s active career leader in wins for the program, Graham Rooks. The match was physical out of the gate, but Omania struggled to get many offensive attacks going against Rooks. Heading into the second period, Omania only had a two-point deficit, but Rooks handled the California native throughout the rest of the match, winning 13-4. 

Coming off a huge tech fall in his last match, Caleb Fish looked to keep the momentum going in the 165-bout against Hoosier Nick South. Fish got a takedown within the first minute of the match, with no real action occurring until the final stanza when South would get an escape with under a minute to go. Fish managed to fend off South for the rest of the match, also tallying a point for riding time to earn the decision 4-2. 

The 13th-ranked Spartan Layne Malczewski would take on Clayton Fielden, in hopes of keeping Michigan States’ dual chances alive. Malczewski would take 1:37 of riding time into the second period, and he controlled Fielden throughout. Fielden eventually got some riding time himself, but a flashy turnaround and thrilling pin by Malczewski put Michigan State back on top, 15-13.

Cam Caffey strolled onto the mat to take on Indiana’s Drayton Harris to attempt to extend the Spartans lead. A 22-4 tech fall win would seal the deal for Michigan State before the final match even takes place. 

Already leading 20-13, Ryan Vasbinder was only wrestling for individual achievement here, as he stepped out to take on Indiana’s No. 26 Jacob Bullock. Vasbinder scored first on an escape, but two third-period escapes for Bullock would notch the win for him. 

“Last year they had great regular seasons and didn’t have great postseasons,” Chandler said. “We’ve changed some things in the approach and you can see they are starting to bubble to the top.” 

Michigan State will end its regular season in Mount Pleasant against Central Michigan University on Feb. 17, starting at 7 p.m.