Spartan Grapplers Prepare for Nittany Lions

Michigan State’s wrestling team (5-8 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) play host to the No. 1 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (11-0, 5-0) on Friday.

The Spartans are coming off a home loss to No. 15 Illinois on Sunday and are looking to gain their first victory in the Big Ten.

The month of January has not been smooth sailing for MSU. Every team they have wrestled against has been ranked in the top 25. The final team they will wrestle this month, Penn State, has garnered the last three national championships and is ranked at the top of the rankings again this year.

They face a difficult task as all of Penn State’s starting wrestlers are ranked in their respective weight classes except for heavyweight Jon Gingrich who is filling in for No. 12 Jimmy Lawson who is coming off of a knee injury.

165-pound Bobby Nash and 184-pound John Rizqallah face two of the nation’s most elite wrestlers in Penn State’s No. 1 David Taylor and No. 2 Ed Ruth.

Taylor was the national champion last year and is undefeated this year. Ruth was also a national champion at 184 pounds last year and is currently 20-1 this season.

The Spartan wrestling faithful are hopeful for a number of upsets this weekend. Two of Michigan State’s finest are coming off of victories last weekend. Nick McDiarmid at 197 pounds and No. 7 ranked heavyweight Mike McClure.

McDiarmid is looking to extend his win streak to three against Penn State’s No. 7 ranked Morgan McIntosh. McClure will wrestle against PSU’s Jon Gingrich, who managed to defeat McClure last year in State College, Pa. by a score of 5-3.

It will be an interesting night for the Spartans. Dual starts at 7 p.m. this Friday in Jenison Field House.

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

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports