Wrestling drops 14th straight Big Ten meet
The Big Ten woes continue for the MSU wrestling team.
On Sunday, the Spartans (5-4 overall) dropped the program’s 14th straight Big Ten meet, 30-7.
Junior 184-pounder John Rizqallah and senior heavyweight Mike McClure were the only two Spartan wrestlers to walk away with a victory.
“The team looked a little flat,” head coach Tom Minkel said. “Wisconsin’s got a heck of a team, there’s no doubt about that, and our young guys got out-hustled.”
MSU dropped the first seven matches on the day with three of them coming by major decision and another from a technical fall.
In the 149-pound weight class match, redshirt freshman Matt Pasqualini faced off against Wisconsin redshirt freshman TJ Ruschell. Pasqualini got a takedown and had Ruschell in a cradle on the edge, but had to restart at the middle. In the third period, Pasqualini trailed only 6-3, but lost the decision 9-3 after Ruschell was credited for a nearfall late.
Pasqualini is filling in for sophomore Joe Johnson who tore his labrum and is out for the season.
Senior 165-pounder Bobby Nash who won three matches last weekend at the Northeast Duals against 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championship qualifiers had another hard-fought match against Wisconsin’s Frank Cousins.
Nash tied the match at 2-2 with a two-point reversal as time expired in the first period. Both Nash and Cousins got an escape later in the match to tie it at 3-3 and it remained so until overtime.
Cousins went on to win on a takedown.
MSU’s first win came when Rizqallah beat No. 15 Jackson Hein. But, it wasn’t without controversy.
Hein had Rizqallah by the leg near the edge of the mat and took him to the mat, but Rizqallah was able to get out of it and got the take down instead.
Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis was visibly upset and challenged the call to no success. Rizqallah led only 5-4, but with more than a minute of riding time, got an extra point which helped Rizqallah to the 6-4 victory. It was Rizqallah’s second win against a ranked opponent this season.
“Youth has a lot to do with it,” Rizqallah said. “They’re inexperienced at this stage, they’re inexperienced in the Big Ten. Big Ten wrestling is a lot different than other conferences. You need experience, you need to know what to expect and this is the opening Big Ten dual … We have to focus on doing the little things right.”
In the final match of the day, No. 11 McClure squared off against No. 6 Connor Medbery. Last season, Medbery walked away with a 6-2 decision.
Just a minute into the match, McClure got a two-legged takedown to take the early lead. In the second, he got another takedown, this time a deep single leg and entered the final period 4-3.
To start, McClure got a reversal for two points and then in the final seconds of the match, he got another takedown and had a nearfall for three points to win by major decision, 12-4.
“I’ve wanted to get this back since last year, and my opportunity was (Sunday) and I took it,” McClure said. “I felt like the biggest contributor out there was I was going after my offense and I shut his offense down. I felt with that just kept the tempo of the match up.”