The MSU wrestling team (4-3, 0-2 Big Ten) came away with a pair of wins as they beat Bucknell 28-11 and Lindsey Wilson 28-12 on Sunday afternoon.
After a disappointing loss to Purdue on Friday night , the Spartans lost the first three matches to Bucknell to fall down 11-0 , but won the last seven to come away with a 28-11 win.
“It was a much better day as you can imagine,” head coach Tom Minkel said. “We came back and they were way more focused and certainly more on task today than we were on Friday.”
The run began when senior, 149-pounder Dan Osterman pinned Adam Healey for the Bison , then continued with a major decision by senior 157-pounder David Cheza.
“It kind of energized the whole team,” Minkel said of Osterman’s pin. “It was good timing for that. Then we hit the heart of our lineup, the strength of our lineup, and Cheza got a big win and it just went from there.”
After a major decision went against him against Purdue on Friday , Osterman said the pin definitely gave both him and the team more confidence.
“I was pleased with it,” Osterman said. “Got a quick pin; a lot better than Friday’s showing. Especially with a pin like that, it really gets everybody back into it and gets them excited.”
No. 5 junior heavyweight Mike McClure continued his strong performances thus far this season in the last match of the dual to seal the victory for MSU.
Though pleased with his individual performance, McClure said there is more the team could do better.
“We went out there and wrestled hard and just left everything out on the mat,” McClure said. “It felt like we could have done a little bit better, but we got two (wins) and that’s pretty much all you can really ask for.”
With the Michigan Youth Wrestling Association’s Spartan Country Wrestling Tournament at Jenison happening Sunday as well, hundreds of young wrestlers filled the arena to support MSU.
“This crowd was huge, (we knew) it was going to be fun,” McClure said. “Even to see Sparty running around, the atmosphere was just awesome. I was just growing off the crowd and just soaking it all up.”
Still, for five of the Spartans, their day was not yet over.
With just four matches to go in the second dual of the day, Lindsey Wilson was tied with MSU at 12, but the Spartans went on yet another streak to end the day that included a major decision by sophomore 197-pounder Luke Jones and a pin from McClure in the last match of the day.
Of the ten wrestlers in the starting lineup for MSU in the second half of the day, eight of them were underclassmen who Minkel said gained important experience for the rest of the season.
“It always looks easy from the sideline, but it’s harder than it looks,” Minkel said. “The Lindsey Wilson dual gave us a chance for guys inspiring to get in the lineup, a chance to compete. It’s a very personal struggle.”
The next time the Spartans are in action is at noon on Saturday, when they travel to Clarion, Pa. to take on North Carolina and Clarion.