The MSU wrestling team had a case of cat scratch fever this weekend as they lost to No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats, 18-15, on Friday, and the Ohio Bobcats, 22-16, on Sunday.
Despite winning the last three matches, MSU couldn’t comeback against Northwestern Friday night.
“We knew it was going to be a challenging dual (meet), they’re a good team,” head coach Tom Minkel said. “We knew we’d have to get some upsets in order to win the dual, and we were close. We’re a really young team, and our mission right now is to get better, rather than get discouraged.”
The first win for the Spartans came when redshirt freshman 149-pounder Roger Wildmo, who was filling in for injured senior Dan Osterman, won a 4-3 match against Northwestern’s Dylan Marriot.
Sophomore 157-pounder Ryan Watts, who is taking over for injured senior David Cheza, had the score tied in the third period, but lost to the Wildcats’ highest-ranked wrestler, No. 2 Jason Welch.
“You’ve got to have the mindset that you’ve been doing this for so long that it’s just another match, so you just go in and do your job and get points for the team,” Wildmo said. “I liked that we kept fighting. With Watt’s match he just kept coming. We aren’t giving up, and even if we’re down, we’re still coming after the guy.”
Sophomore 184-pounder John Rizqallah got a 4-0 win, and sophomore Nick McDiarmid upset No. 16 Alex Polizzi 3-2 to bring the score to 18-9 with one match to go.
With no chance of losing, Northwestern decided to forfeit the heavyweight match to junior No. 7 heavyweight Mike McClure.
After batting an injury for the first part of the season, McDiarmid said it felt good to be back on the mat.
“I’ve definitely come back since break and wrestled in as many tournaments I can be in.” McDiarmid said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment, It feels like it should, a good win.”
He said despite the loss, there was much to be proud of, especially the younger wrestlers.
“We got a little more tougher on top, and the kids that maybe weren’t supposed to win, or were really outmatched, the underdogs really fought,” McDiarmid said. “Kids like (freshman 174-pounder) Jordan Wohlfert, versus (sophomore No. 9 Lee) Munster, who’s a stud. You’ve got to look at those younger kids and be proud of them for being
tough in those situations.”
When MSU traveled to Athens, Ohio to take on the Bobcats on Sunday afternoon, MSU started out strong, but couldn’t finish.
Senior day for Ohio started out with a ranked match as No. 7 McClure defeated No. 16
Jeremy Johnson, 3-2, from Ohio.
MSU led 16-6 after six matches, but lost their final four matches, including No. 18 Rizqallah getting pinned, to lose the meet 22-16.
Minkel reiterated his point that even though this team is going through some tough times, they must keep their heads up because it can only get better from here on out.
“It’s important that they understand that this, as hard as it is, will make them better as their careers goes on,” Minkel said. “It’s a lot easier for me because I’m not the one getting beat up. Our message to our kids is you’ve got to stay positive, you’ve got to stay focused, you’ve got to stay working hard because it’s these lessons that we learn here that will help us down the road.”