The Spartans, who came into the dual with a 1-7 record in the B1G, showed fight and resilience throughout the entire dual. MSU claimed two bonus point wins and used a huge win from redshirt junior Nick May at 197 pounds to all but seal the victory. Michigan State got bonus point wins at 141 pounds from redshirt junior Matt Santos, and a fall by redshirt freshman Layne Malczewsk at 174 pounds. Redshirt sophomore Cameron Caffey continued his hot streak with his eighth-straight victory for the Green and White.
Coach Chandler on what this win means to the program...
It's just validation for all the things that the guys have been working on. They've stayed completely focused on the process. We talk about the process all the time, the process is effort and execution. In dual meet competition like today, every single guy matters. It doesn't matter who won or who lost, it's how you competed. I can say all 10 guys that stepped out on the mat today, they fought for the entire seven minutes. I'm just really happy for these guys, it's validation to all their hard work. It's a process, things don't happen overnight, you have to stay committed to the process and good things will happen.
The dual started at 125 pounds with redshirt senior Logan Griffin taking on Eric Barnett. Barnett got things going early in the first period with a takedown and two-point near-fall to take a 4-0 lead after one period. Griffin shot in and claimed a takedown in the second period, but Barnett answered with a reversal to take a 6-2 lead after two. The Badger held strong in the third period, holding off Griffin's shots to win the opening bout of the dual, 6-2, over Griffin. Wisconsin extended its lead to 7-0 after a win by No. 1 Seth Gross at 133 pounds. Gross went right to work over redshirt senior Garrett People, landing a takedown in the opening seconds to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Pepple fought off Gross's offense in the first period to keep the lead at 2-0. Gross was awarded stalling points on two occasions in the second period to take a 4-0 lead heading to the final frame. Gross tallied two takedowns and another two points for stalling on his way to a 13-2 major decision over Pepple.
The Spartans got on the board in the 141 pound bout, with redshirt junior Matt Santos scoring his second major decision victory of the season, this time over Dominic Dentino. Santos went right to work on Dentino, coming away with three takedowns in the first frame on his way to a 6-2 lead after one. Santos didn't let up in the second period over Dentino, recording two more takedowns and added two more in the third frame on his way to a 16-5 major decision victory.
Redshirt junior Alex Hrisopoulos battled his fifth ranked opponent in his last six matches in No. 12 Cole Martin at 149 pounds. The two wrestlers went to the final frame with Martin holding a slight 2-0 advantage over Hrisopoulos. Martin scored a reversal to open the period and secured the 7-2 decision with a takedown in the final minute to extend the Badger lead to 10-4.
The Spartans added three more points after a hard-fought win by redshirt junior Jake Tucker at 157 pounds. Tucker took on Garrett Model and came out with three quick takedowns midway through the first period and Model added three escapes in the first frame to give Tucker a 6-3 lead after one. Tucker started the second period with a four-point near-fall, but model answered with a reversal, making the score 12-5. Model secured his first takedown of the match in the second frame and tallied an escape in the third, but couldn't overcome Tucker's lead, falling by decision, 12-8.
At 165 pounds, Redshirt junior Austin Hiles got the start for the second time in three duals and faced No. 4 Evan Wick. Wick led 2-0 after one period, and 6-1 after two. Hiles battled with Wick for most of the dual, but Wick came away with a 10-2 major decision to extend the Badger lead to 14-7.
The Spartans scored 12 points in the final four duals on their way to the upset victory. Malczewski gave MSU some much needed momentum at 174 pounds against Jared Krattiger. Malczewski showed off his stellar defense in the early going and pushed Krattiger with a takedown and two mat points to take a quick 4-0 lead. Krattiger answered with a reversal to cut the lead to two, but Malczewski reeled off an other takedown and came away with a much-needed fall at 2:43 to cut the Badger lead to one at 14-13.
At 184 pounds, Caffey extended his win streak to eight, with a 6-2 decision over No. 22 Johnny Sebastian. Caffey, who has knocked off four ranked opponents in his last five duals, held a narrow 2-1 lead over Sebastian after one, but added another takedown and escape in the second period to go up 5-2. Caffey rode out the third period to take the 6-3 with after receiving the riding time point.
Leading 16-14, May went to battle with Peter Christensen in a must-win dual, with the No. 5 ranked heavyweight looming for the Badgers. May provided instant offense with a quick takedown in the opening minute. Christensen tallied an escape to give May a 2-1 lead after one. May landed two escapes in the second period and Christensen garnered a takedown to knot the match at four with one period remaining. The two wrestlers scrambled in the third period, but May came away on the scoring side as he secured a takedown in the winding seconds on his way to a 6-5 win.
With the Spartans up 19-14, Wisconsin would need a pin to win or a technical fall to go to criteria. MSU's Christian Rebottaro would have his hands full with No. 5 Trent Hillger, and it showed early as Hillger took a commanding 6-2 lead with three takedowns in the first period. Rebottaro would try his best to fight from the bottom, but got called for stalling twice. Hillger fought hard to get Rebottaro in a position to go for the pin and win, but Rebottaro fought off Hillger's offense, falling by decision 9-2 and securing the upset bid for the Spartans, 19-17.
The Spartans hit the road for their final two duals of the season with a pair of non-conference match-ups. MSU takes on Cleveland State on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio before ending the season on Friday, Feb. 21 at Central Michigan at 7 p.m.
The last time the Spartans knocked off a top-4 opponent was on Feb. 7, 2003, when they defeated No. 2 Iowa on criteria.
125 - Eric Barnett (WIS) dec. over Logan Griffin (MSU), 6-2 - WIS leads 3-0
133 - No. 1 Seth Gross (WIS) maj. dec. over Garrett Pepple (MSU), 13-2 - WIS leads 7-0
141 - Matt Santos (MSU) maj. dec. over Dominic Dentino (WIS), 16-5 - WIS leads 7-4
149 - No. 14 Cole Martin (WIS) dec. over Alex Hrisopoulos (MSU), 7-2 - WIS leads 10-4
157 - No. 24 Jake Tucker (MSU) dec. over Garrett Model (WIS), 12-8 - WIS leads 10-7
165 - No. 4 Evan Wick (WIS) maj. dec. over Austin Hiles (MSU), 10-2 - WIS leads 14-7
174 - No. 23 Layne Malczewski (MSU) fall over Jared Krattiger (WIS), 2:43 - WIS leads 14-13
184 - No. 9 Cameron Caffey (MSU) dec. over No. 24 Johnny Sebastian (WIS), 6-2 - MSU leads 16-14
197 - Nick May (MSU) dec. over Peter Christensen (WIS), 6-5 - MSU leads 19-14
285 - No. 5 Trent Hillger (WIS) dec. over Christian Rebottaro (MSU), 9-2 - MSU wins 19-17