Nittany Lions Roar in Spartan Country

It was a difficult Friday night in East Lansing. The Michigan State Spartan wrestling team went up against the top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions and hoped for a different result than last week with No. 15 Illinois at home.

They got a different result, just not the one they were looking for.

The dual started off at 157 pounds with MSU’s Roger Wildmo going up against Penn State’s No. 4 Dylan Alton. Wildmo wrestled hard throughout the match, getting three escapes and seemingly disturbing Alton with his tenacity. Alton got three takedowns, two escapes and over a minute in riding time which led to his 8-3 victory over a tenacious Wildmo.

Next up was MSU’s Bobby Nash at 165 pounds against No. 1 David Taylor for PSU. Unfortunately for Bobby, Taylor was a returning national champion and was blessed with lanky arms and a motor that would not fit in the largest of vehicles. Taylor won by pin with 1:07 left in the first period.

The next three matches at 174, 184 and 197 were Penn State wins by tech fall and two pins.

Top-ranked wrestlers on a top-ranked program are not a laughing matter. The lone victory for the Spartans on the night came at heavyweight with Michigan State’s No. 7 Mike McClure going up against Nick Ruggear of Penn State. The match was fairly stagnant with both wrestlers gaining escape points in the second and third periods. McClure got a single leg takedown in the third with less than a minute left and proceeded to ride Ruggear out for a 5-1 victory.

It was a great match for McClure as he continued his winning ways for the Spartans. At this point in the dual, the score was 26-3 Nittany Lions over the Spartans.

The 125 pound match was next with Spartan Brenan Lyon going up against Jordan Conaway of Penn State. Lyon fought valiantly throughout the match and managed to get four escapes over Conaway who seemed to be hell-bent on taking Lyon down in whatever manner possible. Lyon was seemingly pinned out of a takedown at the ending of the second period leading into the third.

Conaway started the third period on top and cradled Lyon into what seemed to be a pin, but was not called by the referee. The match ended up with a 16-4 Conaway victory.

The 133 pound match was MSU’s Garth Yenter going up PSU’s Jimmy Guilbon. Guilbon got a takedown at the start of the match and Yenter got an escape shortly after.

The second period began with Yenter on top riding hard with the legs over Guilbon. Guilbon managed to get a reversal with a minute left in the second period and then netted a high crotch single leg to raise his lead 6-1.

Yenter started the third period on bottom and was called for a suspicious stalling. Yenter got an escape point with a sit out which led to him standing up and unlocking the hands, then Guilbon got another takedown. The final score of the match was 9-3 Guilbon.

At 141 pounds for the Spartans was Brian Gibbs who faced Penn State’s No. 2 Zain Retherford. Gibbs wrestled very hard throughout the first period, fighting off a Retherford takedown with a whizzer and leaving the No. 2 ranked Nittany Lion frazzled at his dazzling defense.

Retherford netted a takedown with less than 20 seconds left in the first period and chose to start the second on bottom. Retherford got the escape and then got a double leg takedown to raise his lead 4-1. Retherford ended up getting a pin on Gibbs with 18 seconds left in the second period due to a chicken wing that Gibbs was unable to escape from.

The final match of the evening was at 149 pounds with MSU’s Nick Trimble wrestling against Andrew Alton of Penn State.

Alton started the match with a bang gaining a four point lead via a double and single leg takedown. He let trimble get an escape point and stared at him contemptuously after. Trimble proceeded to fight back in the beginning of the third period while staring down a 9-1 deficit. Trimble took a fatigued Alton down with an ankle pick and then began to work on Alton’s arm in an attempt at a chicken wing. Alton held out however and ended up with a 9-5 victory.

The final score of the match was 42-3 Penn State.

It was a tough match for the Spartans, but the final result was what one would expect when going up against the top-ranked team in the nation gunning for a fourth straight national championship.

Coach Minkel and crew have time to lick their wounds before the next match on the road against No. 12 Ohio State on Friday and then Indiana on Sunday.

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

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports