Spartans Fall to Illinois and Wolverines in Busy Weekend

Michigan State’s wrestling team came into this weekend with two matches versus two top squads.

On Friday, the Spartans ventured into the hostile territory of Ann Arbor, Mich. and faced off against the No. 12 Wolverines of the University of Michigan. The Spartans ended up losing the match by a score of 26-6, however they got two notable victories at 197 and 285 pounds.

Nick McDiarmid put MSU on the board with a 3-1 decision over Wolverine junior Chris Heald. Then, Spartan heavyweight, Mike McClure, went up against undefeated freshman sensation Adam Coon.

The match was tied up 1-1 in the third period when McClure netted a takedown and then put Coon on his back to net the 5-1 decision victory.

The Spartans then fell in back-to-back matches at 125 and 133 pounds, Brenan Lyon lost to Conor Youtsey 5-0 and Garth Yenter lost a hard fought match 2-0 to Rosario Bruno. MSU then lost two more matches at 141 and 149 and Michigan pushed their lead to 20-6.

In the final matches of the evening at 157, MSU’s Roger Wildmo lost a close match to No. 13 Brian Murphy of Michigan 4-2, and Bobby Nash lost by a margin of 8-2 to No. 7 Dan Yates in the last match at 165.

On Sunday afternoon, the Spartans returned home to the Jenison Field House to wrestle No. 15 Illinois.

The match kicked off at 149 with MSU’s Nick Trimble going against No. 19 Caleb Ervin of Illinois. It was a close match throughout, ending with Trimble trailing 8-6 seeking a tying takedown with less than 20 seconds in the match. Unfortunately, Trimble ended up losing by a score of 8-6.

Next at 157 was Roger Wildmo of MSU vs. No 12. Zac Brunson of lllinois. It was an exciting match throughout, but Wildmo looked bewildered as Brunson continually took him down with single and double legs. The final score was 11-7 Brunson.

At 165, senior Bobby Nash went against No. 12 Jackson Morse of Illinois. Morse started off the match by shoving Nash off of the mat. Nash looked none too pleased and got a first period takedown to fire the crowd up. After that, the match was uneventful until Morse got a second period takedown to gain a 4-2 lead. Nash had a single leg attempt towards the end of the third period, but Morse ended up with a third period takedown to push his decision victory to a score of 6-2.

At 184 pounds, No. 18 John Rizqallah of MSU came out against Nikko Reyes of Illinois. The match featured Rizqallah defending single legs with some jumps and a unique riding style that seemed to involve Rizqallah contorting himself to contain Reyes. Rizqallah got an escape point in the match, but could not get a takedown to tie the match up after Reyes got a single leg takedown in the final fifteen seconds of the second period.

The score was 18-0 Illinois at the intermission.

After the intermission, Nick McDiarmid wrestled against Jeff Koepke at 197. McDiarmid got a first period takedown and looked cool as he continued to add up riding time over Koepke. Koepke was fairly aggressive throughout the match, at one point poking McDiarmid in the eye and forcing the referee to halt the match. McDiarmid responded appropriately netting multiple takedowns and ended up putting the Spartans on the board by way of an 8-6 victory.

In the heavyweight match, Michigan State’s No. 9 Mike McClure, fresh off a victory over No. 1 Adam Coon, squared off against Illinois’ Chris Lopez. The first period was a lot of hand fighting and grappling, leading to the second period with McClure on bottom. McClure got an escape point in the beginning of the second and then got a takedown to the tune of his fans yelling, “Keep his face in the mat. He likes it!”

McClure ended the match with a takedown to secure a 5-1 decision victory and put three more points on the board for MSU. The score was 18-6 Illinois at that point. The Spartans then lost three straight matches by a tech fall and two major decisions and the Illini netted their victory.

The Spartans are now 5-8 on the year with an 0-5 record in the Big Ten. It does not get any easier for the Spartans as they welcome No. 1 Penn State into East Lansing on Friday, Jan. 31.

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Nick Carver is the host of Pinned Down for Impact Sports.

Photos: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports