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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | Last updated: 12:39am


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Future looks hopeful for Spartan wrestling




mug_smith_zach
 

Smith



Joe Flacco is going to Disney World.

After leading the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory Sunday night, it’s a season of winning for the talented man under center.

But the feeling for the MSU wrestling team could not be more different.

With a pair of losses last weekend, the Spartans have lost eight-straight matches, and are an abysmal 0-7 in the Big Ten.

But it’s not the results that are so disappointing, it’s how they’re getting them.

Countless times this season the Spartans were looking good, but one pin, one takedown or even one escape lost the momentum, and more importantly, the match.

You could blame it on the youth, the opponents or the lack of effort, but in reality it’s a combination of all three.

It’s the little details that must be improved if MSU is to salvage this season, and with a showdown with Michigan looming, the sooner the better.

But the good far outweighs the bad.

The motto for head coach Tom Minkel is to get better every week, and it is apparent his mantra has been working.

With a 26-3 record and seven pins, who knows how far No. 7 junior heavyweight Mike McClure can go in the NCAA Championships.

After each loss he came back stronger. He has two 10-match winning streaks on the year.

Senior 149-pounder Dan Osterman is having a better victory lap than the final season of Seinfeld.

He has two huge wins against No. 7 Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska and Mike Kelly of Iowa, and even his less successful outings give the team someone to rally behind.

His goal of being on the podium at season’s end seems within reach.

The team is growing by leaps and bounds after every match.

In the nation’s premiere wrestling conference, where three of the top five teams are in the Big Ten, there’s no doubt each match is going to be a challenge.

After stepping in for the injured senior David Cheza, sophomore 157-pounder Ryan Watts arguably has had the biggest challenge of any wrestler on the team.

He’s faced No. 1, 2 and 6 in the last few weeks, and although he didn’t win, he proudly came out with a good showing as the respect for him within his team soars.

Sophomore 184-pounder John Rizqallah is setting himself up for a long and very successful career in green and white.

Seven of the 10 wrestlers in MSU’s starting lineup are freshmen or sophomores, and there are talented athletes waiting in the wings.

The experiences from this season will only benefit them.

Flacco lost to the Patriots a year ago, and now is planning a parade in the streets of Baltimore.

In the end, you only can have success after suffering some disappointment.

The trip to Disney World won’t happen this year, but MSU is setting themselves up to have magical success in the future.


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