The MSU wrestling team finished off a disappointing season with a 27-10 loss to in-state rival No. 10 Central Michigan on Friday night.
The loss marked the Spartans’ 11th straight of the season and the 11th straight loss in the series against the Chippewas.
“I thought our kids wrestled really hard,” head coach Tom Minkel said. “(Sophomore 165-pounder) Nick Proctor wrestled the best match he’s wrestled all year. (Sophomore 157-pounder) Ryan Watts did a hell of a job as we’re getting accustomed to.”
Watts won his match, 7-3, for MSU’s first win of the meet, and Proctor was tied with his opponent going into the third period, but couldn’t hold on in the end.
Three seniors were honored before the dual as senior 149-pounder Dan Osterman, senior 157-pounder David Cheza and junior 133-pounder Chris Lyon wore the green and white as members of the team for the last time.
Osterman lost a close match to Donnie Corby in his final match at Jenison Field House.
He said he was proud of the way the team competed, and the close losses like his and Proctor’s were big swing matches.
“I don’t think the score really shows how close it was,” Osterman said. “There were matches that just kind of got away from us. If we get those wins, it can be a completely different dual.”
The most exciting match of the dual was junior heavyweight No. 7 Mike McClure against CMU’s heavyweight, No. 5 Jarod Trice.
Two overtimes weren’t enough to determine a winner, but McClure won with 9 seconds of riding time.
In the final overtime, MSU argued Trice had broke his locked hands, giving McClure the escape and the win, but after video review, the officials ruled he didn’t.
McClure said it was a new experience for him, and he’s glad the match ended the way it did.
“I’ve never wrestled a match that long,” McClure said. “Toward the end of it, I was just trying to figure out how everything went. It looked pretty close on the film, but I’d much rather win the match the way I did it than off of (review).”
After the decision, Trice stormed off the platform and took out his rage on a trash can and stool.
Minkel said it was important for McClure to win this match not only for his confidence, but for the experience this gives him heading to the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
“I don’t think you can have a harder fought match than that,” he said. “It was important for Mike not only for the win, but those are the kind of matches that you’ll face at the NCAA’s where you’ll go from the round of twelve to being an All-American.”
MSU has two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill., and nearly a month before the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Minkel said the team will take the weekend off before getting back in the gym Monday for what will be an easier week of practice.
“We’ll come back next week and lighten the load not only physically, but mentally, so we can catch our breath,” Minkel said. “It’s been quite a string of tough opponents, but we’re going to try to lighten up a little bit. With so many young guys and so much inexperience, if we can keep making progress, we’re going to be alright.”