After two Big Ten losses and a losing conference season, MSU needed a win.
They found that in a close match against No. 21 Central Michigan at Jenison Field House on Friday night.
Redshirt senior Rayvon Foley, a source of hope through State’s recent losses, pulled through once again — securing a major decision with a match score of 15-4 against CMU’s Vince Perez — bringing MSU to an overall 7-0.
But Central refused to be left behind.
CMU’s Dresden Simon walked into his match against graduate student Matt Santos ready to get his team on the board — and that he did. Simon jumped from the whistle, proving that it was his match to lose as Santos tried to hold him at bay.
Wrestling to the edge of the ring, Simon was on his way to what looked like a pin, yet the points never came. Central’s Head Coach Tom Borrelli “threw the brick” challenging the decision, but it was sustained and Simon led into the final period, 4-1.
He won the match by decision with a final score 6-3 over Santos.
Central further asserted their presence with an aggressive start from Corbyn Munson against Peyton Omania. Omania led the match, much to Central’s dissent.
Munson quickly turned things around, attacking — often sending Omania backwards to the edges of the mat.
Challenges were called and calls were questioned. After a tiring three periods, Munson ended the match with a near pin, but the buzzer beat him out. He still won the decision, 9-5, pulling Central close with an overall 7-6.
In another closely contested match, sophomore Chase Saldate, No. 17, took the decision over Johnny Lovett, No. 16. Between the decision and Central’s ultimate loss in points for unsportsmanlike conduct in the form of thrown head gear, MSU led 10-5.
Sophomore Caleb Fish returned to the mat following highs and lows from the team’s matches against Northwestern and Michigan. With a pin against NU but a loss by points at Michigan, it was time to set the record straight.
Fish fought hard against Central’s Tracy Hubbard. The pair ended the second period in a tie, 4-4. Overtime seemed evident until the final seconds of the third period, when Hubbard scored one final takedown, bringing the score 6-4.
Michigan State Wrestling Head Coach Roger Chandler didn’t hesitate to contest, but the points remained. Central trailed closely behind MSU with an overall 10-8.
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Redshirt junior Nathan Jimenez narrowly avoided the pin but lost to CMU’s Ben Fedewa by a 7-1 decision, putting the Chippewa’s in the lead 11-10.
Following the high of Central’s win, Ben Cushman was ready to continue the lead — and it looked like he was going to.
An aggressive start and a near fall over junior Layne Malczewski pushed the Chippewas into a frenzy. Cushman continued these tactics going into round two, but Malczewski used this momentum against him — gaining the reversal, turning the tide and scoring the pin — giving MSU a decisive lead, 16-11.
With their mojo back, redshirt senior Cameron Caffey simply had to maintain for the Spartans. He did just that with a 10-5 decision over Central’s Aaron Bolo.
MSU waltzed into the heavyweight class, 19-11, with Brad Wilton representing the Spartans. After two rounds of sparring Central’s Matt Stencel pulled a quick pin at the beginning of the final period.
Despite the individual win for CMU, State ended their last regular season match with an overall advantage, 19-17.
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