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MSU wrestling win second consecutive conference meet, defeat Illinois 29-10

February 3, 2024
<p>MSU junior wrestler Tristan Lujan goes against Braedan Davis, the 14th ranked freshman from Penn State University, at Jenison Field House on Jan. 21, 2024.</p>

MSU junior wrestler Tristan Lujan goes against Braedan Davis, the 14th ranked freshman from Penn State University, at Jenison Field House on Jan. 21, 2024.

Michigan State wrestling headed to Champaign, Illinois to kick off the first dual of its weekend road trip. The No. 25 Spartans dominated throughout the night as they secured their second conference win of the year to improve to 2-3 in the Big Ten as they defeated the University of Illinois 29-10. 

Following the meet, head coach Roger Chandler highlighted the depth of his squad, praising the underclassmen that were on display.

"We got upperclassmen leadership, and then we have the freshmen, and Josh Terrill, and Kael Wisler," Chandler said. "They are out there competing, they’re wanting to be a part of that crew. That’s just the next line of leadership within our program. That’s how you build a really good team, and we have that going for us right now."

Key bouts of the night took place in the 141-pound weigh-in, 165-pound weigh-in and the heavyweight weigh-in.

The night started with the 141-pound weigh-in, where two InterMat ranked wrestlers faced off: Michigan State's No. 30 redshirt senior Jordan Hamdan (16-5) and No. 27 junior Danny Pucino (7-6) representing the Fighting Illini.

The first period saw minimal action, as Hamdan and Pucino felt each other out and neither committed to a takedown in the first three minutes. During the second period, Hamdan was able to pick up an escape point. However, Pucino responded promptly and secured a takedown to take a 3-1 lead with just under 30 seconds left in the second period.

Pucino got to work in the third period and earned an escape point that he shortly followed up with his second takedown to secure an 8-2 decision win.

After falling behind 0-3 in the meet, freshman Clayton Jones (7-6) and No. 21 senior Chase Saldate (17-4) secured the Spartans' first two wins of the night. Jones earned an 8-6 decision while Saldate secured his ninth pin on the season, as the pair gave the Spartans a 9-3 lead heading into the 165-pound weigh-in.

After the meet, Chandler gave praise to Jones who earned his first Big Ten dual victory, an influential victory in leading the Spartans eventually win.

"We were excited to roll him out tonight," Chandler said. "To get his first Big Ten dual win as a true freshman, that's incredible."

The next key bout of the night took place in the 165-pound weigh-in. Michigan State's No. 9 senior Caleb Fish (18-6) faced off against the Fighting Illini's No. 30 freshman Chris Moore (7-6).

The first period saw minimal action until the final 30 seconds of the period when Moore tossed Fish to his side and threatened a takedown. Fish defended valiantly to just see out the period. In the second period Fish earned a quick escape, but little action followed from either side as he took a 1-0 lead into the third.

In the third period, Moore started on the bottom and earned an early escape point to tie the bout back up. Then, with just over a minute left, Fish secured a takedown, finishing with a 4-2 decision to give the Spartans a 12-3 lead.

Following Fish, Illinois’ No. 9 redshirt junior Edmond Ruth (12-2) secured the win over Michigan State's redshirt senior DJ Shannon (7-12), while performances from No. 15 graduate student Layne Malczewski (7-5) and No. 29 redshirt freshman Kael Wisler (21-10) of Michigan State both put up convincing performances to add to the Spartan's lead.

The next key action of the night took place in the heavyweight weigh-in. Redshirt freshman Josh Terrill (24-9) needed only 17 seconds to secure the pin over Illinois’ freshman Peter Marinopoulos (1-2). The pin gave Terrill his second pin in a row and sixth on the season as the Spartans took a commanding 26-6 lead.

The final key bout of the night took place in the 125-pound weigh-in with Michigan State's senior Tristan Lujan (13-10) facing Justin Cardani (2-6) of Illinois. It was a low-scoring but razor-close bout, with neither of the two securing a point until Lujan’s escape point in the second period. In the third period, Lujan secured over a minute and a half of riding time to see out the 0-2 decision victory for his first Big Ten win of the season.

The final bout of the night took place in the 133-pound weigh-in, where Illinois' No. 33 redshirt senior Tony Madrigal (1-3) secured a comfortable 13-3 majority decision to end the meet as the Spartans won 29-10.

Following the victory, the Spartans will now have one day to rest before heading to Bloomington, Indiana to close out their weekend road trip. Starting time for the meet is set for 1 p.m. with streaming available on Big Ten Plus.

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