Oct. 27, 2016
EAST LANSING, Michigan -- Michigan State wrestling unofficially opened the 2016-17 season with the MSU Green-White Wrestle Offs Thursday night at IM West Sports Arena.
It was the first chance for fans to see the 2016-17 Spartan Wrestling squad in action, under the leadership of first-year head coach Roger Chandler, and was an early indicator of the wrestlers who can make an impact on the 2016-17 season for the Spartans.
Chandler and his staff were pleased with what they saw from his squad Thursday night in their first competitive action of the season.
“You go into these events, especially tonight where it’s an intrasquad meet and you see these guys everyday in the room, but when you put them in a competitive atmosphere, you’re hoping that some of the stuff you’ve been drilling and training in the room carries over. Some it has, you see the guys who have been very offensive attacking but one of the things is you have to shore up some of the mistakes that the returning guys were making last year. I definitely saw some improvement from our returning guys but then at the same time I saw our freshmen really pushing the pace, so it is a great situation that we have in the program because the freshmen class is very talented and they’re pushing the upper classmen, and the upper classmen are stepping up to the challenge,” Chandler said.
The headlining veteran was redshirt junior and 141-pounder Javier Gasca, the Spartans’ lone returning NCAA Tournament qualifier from a year ago. Gasca of Team White, defeated freshman Jwan Britton, 10-1 on the lone major decision of the night. One of the freshmen highlights was in the first match of the night, when freshman Lucas Hall defeated redshirt junior Mitch Rogaliner, 8-2.
Team White won eight of the 10 bouts over Team Green. After no falls through the first eight match-ups, the last two bouts ended on falls, including the first by freshman Matthew Okaiye over redshirt sophomore Jimmy Russell at 4:59 and in the heavyweight bout, sophomore Jacob Cooper making quick work of freshman Matt Lloyd at 1:03.
The Spartans have 11 returning letterwinners, including Gasca. MSU has 18 newcomers, with 17 freshmen and one transfer, sophomore Austin Eicher, who won the Mid-American Conference Championship at 133 pounds last season at Northern Illinois.
Eicher captured one of Team Green’s victories, defeating freshman Matt Santos, 7-2.
Chandler, who is in his 20th year on the Spartan wrestling staff, is in his first season as head coach. He took over the reins of the program after 25-year head coach Tom Minkel retired.
“I think as a coach, you have expectations and it doesn’t matter if you’re a head coach or an assistant coach, you want to see these guys step up to the challenge, and I would say for the most part, all of our guys stepped up to the challenge,” Chandler said. “It’s really hard in an intrasquad meet because everyone knows each other’s tendencies and so they countered really fast, because these guys are working out with each other all the time. I like what I saw tonight, and now that we’ve put them in a competitive atmosphere, had officials out here and had fans here, I’m really looking forward to next week because now they’ll see different guys that they haven’t been wrestling against every day.”
125: Lucas Hall - White vs. Mitch Rogaliner - Green
The opening bout of the night was scoreless through the first period before Hall darted out to a 6-0 lead midway through the second period. Hall scored the first two on a reversal, then four for a near fall and two more on a takedown. Rogaliner got on the board with two escapes, but Hall kept Rogaliner at bay and went on to win, 8-2.
133: Matt Santos - White vs. Austin Eicher - Green
Eicher took a 2-0 lead late in the first period and opened a 4-0 gap with a reversal in the second period. Santos got on the board with an escape for a 4-1 score after two stanzas, and closed to 4-2 with less than a minute remaining in the match on another escape. Eicher got two points on a takedown in the final seconds and got another point for riding time for the final 7-2 score.
141: Javier Gasca - White vs. Jwan Britton - Green
Gasca opened with a 2-0 lead following a takedown in the early going and stretched it to 3-0 early in the second after an escape. He added two more on a takedown and another two for a near-fall and a 7-0 advantage. Gasca tacked on two points early in the third frame before Britton got a point with an escape that Gasca countered with the riding time win and the final 10-1 major decision victory.
149: Jake Tucker - White vs. Nick Trimble - Green
Tucker took a 4-0 lead with a near fall right at the end of the second period and he opened it to 5-0 with an escape. Trimble got two points on a takedown late in the third frame but couldn’t get any closer and Tucker took the win at 5-2.
157: Austin Hiles - White vs. Austin Thompson - Green
After a scoreless opening stanza, Thompson got on the board with an escape early in the second period. Hiles leveled the score at a point apiece with an escape in the early going of the third period and the score remained tied, sending the match to overtime. In the second extra stanza, Thompson took a 2-1 lead and hung on through the third overtime for the one-point victory.
165: Drew Hughes - White vs. Logan Ritchie - Green
The first frame opened 0-0 before Hughes took a 2-0 lead on a reversal 20 seconds into the second period. Hughes added on two points on a takedown with two seconds left in period number two, when Ritchie suffered an injury at which point the match ended by injury default.
174: Dean Vettese - White vs. Shane Shadaia - Green
For the second bout in a row, the first period was scoreless before Shadaia got on the board with an escape and a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds into the second frame. Vettese evened the score with an escape in the opening moments of the third period and neither wrestler could score, sending the match to overtime. The extra session was a short one as Vettese scored two points on a takedown and four on a near fall in the opening seconds for a 7-1 technical fall victory.
184: Shwan Shadaia - White vs. Wesley Maskill - Green
Shadaia opened a 2-0 lead on a takedown, then Maskill evened it on a reversal. The level score was short-lived as Shadaia tacked on two points on a reversal before Maskill closed to 4-3 on an escape at the end of the first frame. After all the scoring in the opening period, the second stanza was scoreless. Shadaia added a point on an escape midway through the third for the final 5-3 decision.
197: Matthew Okaiye - White vs. Jimmy Russell - Green
The bout opened with a scoreless first frame before Okaiye got a point on an escape early in the second stanza and added two more points on a takedown for a 3-0 lead before Russell got a point on an escape. Okaiye added two points on another takedown then pinned Russell at 4:59 for the win.
Heavyweight: Jacob Cooper - White vs. Matt Lloyd - Green
Cooper opened with a quick takedown and pinned Lloyd just 1:03 into the match to end the night for the Spartans.
MSU’s 2016-17 season will commence on Nov. 5 at the Eastern Michigan Open in Ypsilanti, Michigan, before the Spartans’ home-opening action of hosting the annual Michigan State Open on Nov. 20 at Jenison Field House, the first of seven home events for MSU.
Michigan State Green-White Wrestle Offs
125: Lucas Hall - White def. Mitch Rogaliner - Green, 8-2
133: Austin Eicher - Green def. Matt Santos - White, 7-2
141: Javier Gasca - White def. Jwan Britton - Green, 10-1 major decision
149: Jake Tucker - White def. Nick Trimble - Green, 5-2
157: Austin Thompson - Green def. Austin Hiles - White, 2-1 (OT)
165: Drew Hughes - White def. Logan Ritchie - Green, injury default 4:58
174: Dean Vettese - White def. Shane Shadaia - Green, 7-1 (OT) SV
184: Shwan Shadaia - White def. Wesley Maskill - Green, 5-3
197: Matthew Okaiye - White def. Jimmy Russell - Green, fall at 4:59
Heavyweight: Jacob Cooper - White def. Matt Lloyd - Green, fall at 1:03