Michigan State (3-7, 0-4 B1G) at Eastern Michigan (7-6, 0-2 MAC)
Date | Time Friday, Jan. 23 | 7 p.m.
Location Ypsilanti, Mich. | Convocation Center
Live Stats TrackWrestling.com
Statistics Michigan State
Social Media @wrestlingmsu
Michigan State (3-7, 0-4 B1G) vs. No. 17 Wisconsin (7-1, 5-0 B1G)
Date | Time Sunday, Jan. 25 | 1 p.m.
Location East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House
Social Media @wrestlingmsu
Tickets Adults: $5 | Youth/Seniors: $3
Additional Note Lowell-Brighton high school match will start at 10:30 a.m. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.
The Michigan State wrestling team has a busy weekend in store as it will travel to Ypsilanti on Friday night to take on Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. before returning home to host No. 17 Wisconsin on Sunday in Jenison Field House at 1 p.m.
In their last dual, the Spartans (3-7, 0-4 Big Ten) battled against fourth-ranked Ohio State, winning four matches over the Buckeyes, but eventually lost, 25-13. Hermilo Esquivel (133 pounds) and Chris Nash (heavyweight) each recorded their first career Big Ten dual wins for MSU, while Nick Trimble (149) and Nick Proctor (174) also came away with victories.
"The Ohio State dual really showed our wrestlers that if we wrestle hard and we keep good position that we can compete with the best teams in the country," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel. "That being said, we have to understand that we have to compete that way day in day out, no matter who we're wrestling."
EMU owns a 7-6 record and is 0-2 in the Mid-American Conference. The Spartans defeated the Eagles last season in Jenison Field House, 24-9, winning seven of 10 matches in the dual. Overall, MSU leads the series, 16-2.
"We have to understand that Eastern Michigan will be highly motivated against us," said Minkel. "We have to be ready for the challenge that awaits us on Friday night. They have some solid kids and some veterans who have been around for a while. They know what it's all about. It's not so much who we're facing, but I think it's important for us to go in there with the idea that we're going to do what we have to do, we're going to wrestle hard, we're going to get after it, and not worry too much about who we're wrestling."
Wisconsin (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) is returning to East Lansing for the second straight season after recording a 30-7 victory in the Big Ten opener over MSU last year in Jenison Field House. The 17th-ranked Badgers, who will wrestle No. 16 Michigan on Friday in Ann Arbor, enter the weekend undefeated in Big Ten action at 5-0 with wins over Maryland, Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. UW features four top-10 wrestlers in its lineup: No. 10 Ryan Taylor (133 pounds), No. 3 Isaac Jordan (165), No. 9 Timmy McCall (197) and No. 3 Connor Medbery (285).
"Hopefully we can pick up some momentum on Friday that we can carry into the Wisconsin dual," Minkel said. "The Michigan and Ohio State duals showed we can compete with anyone. But we do have to get more guys in the mix. We know what it's like to wrestle against the top teams in the Big Ten."
For the Spartans, senior 174-pounder Nick Proctor will put his three-match dual winning streak on the line Friday against Eastern Michigan's Kayne MacCallum. Proctor is undefeated in the new year, defeating Bucknell's Rory Bonner (4-2), Michigan's Connor Brancheau (5-3) and Ohio State's Dominic Prezzia (5-1).
John Rizqallah, who recorded wins in the EMU and Wisconsin duals last year, leads the team with six dual victories this season and is 12-4 overall at 184 pounds. Although Rizqallah fell in sudden victory to 12th-ranked Kenny Courts of Ohio State, 3-1, the fifth-year senior from Allegan, Michigan, has won six of his last seven matches and is wrestling well down the stretch of his final season wearing the Green and White. Rizqallah matches up against Eastern Michigan's Mike Curby (Sr.-5, 6-16) on Friday and Wisconsin's Ricky Robertson (R-Fr., 19-5) on Sunday.
The Spartans are battling several injuries and will again feature a different starting lineup for this weekend's duals. Javier Gasca(141 pounds) and Ryan Watts (165) still remain sidelined for this week, while heavyweight Luke Jones was lost for the season after suffering an elbow injury in the Bucknell dual on Jan. 4.
At 141 pounds, junior Terry Turner will get the start on Friday night against Eastern Michigan, while junior Brandon Fifield will go on Sunday vs. Wisconsin. Fifield, who will be making his first start of the season, went 3-1 to place sixth at the Purple Raider Open last Sunday.
In the 157-pound weight class, junior Joe Johnson will get the nod against the Eagles after placing sixth at the Purple Raider Open, and sophomore Travis Curley will start on Sunday. Both Johnson and Curley started duals for the Spartans last season.
"This has been a particularly tough stretch," Minkel remarked regarding the injuries. "Javier will be out for about another week, and he's been our most successful wrestler. Ryan Watts will be out for a while, and we lost Luke Jones at heavyweight. So it's been a little bit of a struggle, but that said, if you haven't been one of the starters, this is your chance to step up and show the coaching staff that you belong. It's an opportunity, and we want our kids to take advantage of it."
FIVE SPARTANS PLACE AT PURPLE RAIDER OPEN
Five Spartans placed at last Sunday's Purple Raider Open, hosted by Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. Junior Roger Wildmo claimed third place at 165 pounds with a 4-1 record to improve his season ledger to 14-10. Wildmo reached the semifinals and defeated Purdue's Andrew Hoselton, 3-1, in the third-place match. Brandon Fifield (sixth at 141), Joe Johnson (sixth at 157), Drew Barnes(fifth at 174) and Dimitrus Renfroe (fourth at 285) also placed for the Spartans.
When Michigan State takes on No. 17 Wisconsin on Sunday, it will mark MSU's seventh ranked opponent of the season. The Spartans have already faced No. 2 Minnesota, No. 16 Iowa State, No. 1 Iowa, No. 25 Bucknell, No. 15 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State.
Michigan State (3-7, 0-4 B1G) at Eastern Michigan (7-6, 0-2 MAC): Probable Starting Lineups
125MSU: Mitch Rogaliner (R-Fr., 11-8) vs. EMU: Blake Caudill (R-Fr., 6-12)
133MSU: Hermilo Esquivel (So., 11-8) vs. EMU: Vincent Pizzuto (Jr., 10-9)
141MSU: Terry Turner (Jr., 4-6) vs. EMU: Michael Shaw (Jr., 10-10)
149MSU: Nick Trimble (Jr., 8-8) vs. EMU: Nicholas Barber (So., 10-8)
157MSU: Joe Johnson (Jr., 4-5) vs. EMU: Brandon Zeerip (Sr.-5, 16-9)
165MSU: Roger Wildmo (Jr., 14-10) vs. EMU: Devan Marry (So., 8-13)
174MSU: Nick Proctor (Sr., 10-8) vs. EMU: Kayne MacCallum (Fr., 10-4)
184MSU: John Rizqallah (Sr., 12-4) vs. EMU: Mike Curby (Sr.-5, 6-16)
197MSU: Nick McDiarmid (Sr., 6-7) vs. EMU: Anthony Abro (Jr., 17-8)
Hwt.MSU: Chris Nash (Jr., 9-4) vs. EMU: Gage Hutchison (R-Fr., 11-11)
Michigan State (3-7, 0-4 B1G) vs. No. 17 Wisconsin (7-1, 5-0 B1G): Probable Starting Lineups
125MSU: Mitch Rogaliner (R-Fr., 11-8) vs. UW: Johnny Jimenez (So., 5-2) or Matt Cavallaris (Sr., 0-1)
133MSU: Hermilo Esquivel (So., 11-8) vs. UW: No. 10 Ryan Taylor (So., 16-3)
141MSU: Brandon Fifield (Jr., 6-4) vs. UW: Jesse Thielke (So., 2-4)
149MSU: Nick Trimble (Jr., 8-8) vs. UW: Rylan Lubeck (So., 6-4) or TJ Ruschell (So., 9-5) or Andrew Crone (R-Fr., 8-2)
157MSU: Travis Curley (So., 7-6) vs. UW: Jarod Donar (R-Fr., 9-8)
165MSU: Roger Wildmo (Jr., 14-10) vs. UW: No. 3 Isaac Jordan (So., 15-1)
174MSU: Nick Proctor (Sr., 10-8) vs. UW: Frank Cousins (Sr., 14-8)
184MSU: John Rizqallah (Sr., 12-4) vs. UW: Ricky Robertson (R-Fr., 19-5)
197MSU: Nick McDiarmid (Sr., 6-7) vs. UW: No. 9 Timmy McCall (Sr., 17-4)
Hwt.MSU: Chris Nash (Jr., 9-4) vs. UW: No. 3 Connor Medbery (So., 21-1)