Riding high off of a 27-6 victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies in Dekalb, Illinois, the Spartan wrestling team came into Iowa City on a high note Saturday night. This high note was extinguished by the symphony that was the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling team.
Squaring off against the top ranked team in the country is always a tough task and the Spartans ended up finding themselves on the wrong side of a 37-0 score.
There are a lot of positives to take from a meet like this though, as some of the match scores were extremely close and came down to the wire.
The first of these matches was at 141 pounds with Garth Yenter (MSU) going up against Topher Carton (UI). Yenter started the match off with a takedown in the first period; Carton responded with a reversal at 1:42 in the match. Yenter was then hit with a stalling warning before the first period ended. Carton started the second period on bottom and got a reversal to gain the 4-2 advantage. Yenter got an escape before the period ended, taking the match down to the third period. Yenter started the third on bottom and was unable to escape from Carton’s clutches. Carton ended up winning the match by a score of 6-3.
The second close match was in the 157-pound weight class with Roger Wildmo (MSU) against Edwin Cooper (UI). Cooper started the first period off with a takedown; Wildmo quickly responded with an escape. Cooper got another takedown halfway into the first, and Wildmo got another escape to end the period. The score was 4-2 at this point. Cooper chose to start the second period on bottom and quickly got an escape after Wildmo was hit with a stalling warning. Wildmo got the takedown halfway through the period, Cooper got the escape, and the score was 6-4 at the beginning of the third. Wildmo chose to start the third on bottom, and got an escape nearly immediately. However, he was unable to get the takedown that would have given him the victory, as the match ended with a score of 6-5 that favored Cooper.
The third close match was a contest between No. 5 Nick Moore of Iowa against Ryan Watts of MSU. The first period was entirely devoid of action, making it fairly easy to report about. The second was when things started to heat up. Watts chose bottom to start the period and notched a quick escape to gain the one-point lead. Moore managed to get a takedown quickly afterwards though, causing the period to end with a score of 2-1. Moore chose to start the third on bottom, which led to a three-second escape to start the period. Watts was not to be denied however, as he got a takedown to tie the match at three. Moore got the escape shortly after, giving him a one-point lead, which ended up winning him the match. Adding on his riding time advantage of 1:24 gave him another point, which led to the final match score of 5-3. It was a very close match for Watts, a positive sign for wrestling fans to take note of as Watts is coming off of an injury from last year.
The final tight match was at 197 pounds, with Nick McDiarmid (MSU) going up against Alex Meyer (UI). McDiarmid got a takedown to start the match, and managed to ride Meyer for over a minute before he managed to escape. At the end of the first, the match score was 2-1. Meyer chose to start the second period on bottom, and managed to get himself an escape point to tie the match up. McDiarmid responded with a takedown a minute later, putting himself up by a score of 4-2. Meyer ended the second with a reversal, once again tying the match up. McDiarmid chose to start the third period on bottom, and got himself an escape halfway through the third period. Meyer managed to get a takedown with less than a minute left in the third, and held on for the 6-5 victory.
Overall, there were some positives to take from the match. That is a good thing. When a wrestling team on the rise, as MSU appears to be this year, goes up against a perennial powerhouse like Iowa, you expect a certain type of score.
One of the more surprising details from the weekend was the lack of appearance from Javier Gasca at 133 pounds. Gasca is now ranked 12th in the country, and seemed to be riding a wave of momentum into these matches against two quality opponents. The decision to insert Hermilo Esquivel into the starting lineup is a bit of a head scratcher for the Spartan wrestling fan. An oddity from the weekend, that much is for certain.
Michigan State Wrestling will hit the mats again Dec. 13 at the Northern Iowa Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Nick Carver is the host of Pinned Down for Impact Sports
Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports