Sunday, April 21, 2024

Spartan wrestlers try to regroup for matches

January 19, 2001

For the ninth-ranked MSU wrestling squad, Sunday will be a time to regroup from the past and refocus on the future.

The Spartans will face Findlay (Ohio) and Grand Valley State in a doubleheader meet at Jenison Field House. The match against Findlay will begin at 1 p.m. while the contest against Grand Valley State will start at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The meet should be the perfect tonic for a team still reeling from a 31-3 loss to No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State last week and faced with a brutal schedule after Sunday’s contest.

After Findlay and Grand Valley State, the Spartans will face seven teams ranked in the top 25 during the next month, five of which are ahead of MSU in the polls.

“We got our work cut out for us,” Spartan head coach Tom Minkel said.

The team hopes to turn the negatives they experienced last week at Oklahoma State into positives for Sunday’s meet and beyond.

“It is a little setback but I think it’s a good learning example to see where we’re at as a team and see where we can go from it,” said junior Chris Williams, who wrestles in the 125-pound weight class. “Our team is fairly young, it’s just a learning example you’re going to get in wrestling and I don’t think it will be negative at all.”

Minkel, who said he expects to insert some second-team wrestlers into the lineup this weekend, said last Sunday’s loss is one the team can grow from.

“Sometimes you lose and you’re feeling really bad about it. Other times you lose and you’ve competed hard and you’ve competed well and there are some things to build on and that was the case for us,” he said. “Anytime you get beat soundly it’s hard to take, but we’ll come out of this a stronger and more focused team from that experience.”

Minkel said there were mistakes made in the Oklahoma State meet that the team will try to correct.

“There were some technical areas that kind of jumped at us,” he said. “Sometimes when you wrestle a team that’s not as good, you can get away with technical mistakes and still win and so, consequently, you can develop some habits or think you’re wrestling better than you are.

“When you wrestle a real high-level team, there’s not much margin for error and your mistakes become much more apparent and that’s what happened this weekend,” he said.

Senior Matt Lamb, who wrestles in the 285-pound weight class, said the Spartans shouldn’t lack incentive to perform the rest of the season.

“I just remember how bad it sucked to get beat 31-3,” he said. “That’s motivation enough. You don’t ever want to feel that.”

As for Sunday against Findlay and Grand Valley State, Lamb said he’s looking forward to seeing some of the younger wrestlers get a chance to shine.

“It will be fun to let one of my training partners get in there and get some experience,” he said.

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