Over 29 school teams across the country, including the Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team, traveled to East Lansing, Mich. to compete Nov. 11 in the MSU Open hosted by Michigan State University.
Seven out of the 15 competing EMU wrestlers took fifth place or higher with four earning top-three positions. EMU head coach Derek DelPorto said it was noteworthy to mention none of EMU’s starting line-up was at the tournament.
EMU freshman Alexander Calandrino and redshirt freshman Anthony Abro took the podium, with both taking second place in the freshman and sophomore division of their respective weight classes.
Calandrino won his first four matches of the day with an injury default, a 9-6 decision and a pair of pins. While in the final round of the 125 pound weight class, he fell to Ohio State University wrestler Nick Roberts.
Abro claimed second place behind Phil Wellington from Ohio University at 197 pounds. Abro put up a fight, winning 3-1 at the tournament with two decisions and a major decision.
The Eagles claimed two more top-three places when freshman Nicholas Barber (141 pounds) and redshirt freshman Justin Melick (149 pounds) took third in their respective weight classes of the freshman and sophomore division.
Barber went 4-1 for the day when he lost his semi-final match to Northern Michigan University wrestler Gabe Morse. He made up for it by winning with two final decisions. Just before his closing match, Barber defeated EMU teammate redshirt freshman Michael Shaw, who eventually took fifth place.
Melick’s journey to third place was made longer when he lost his first match of the day to Ohio University’s Andrew Romanchik. He showed his worth by winning six consecutive matches, with the last four by pin. DelPorto said that Melick’s performance was one of the most impressive of the weekend.
“In the wrestling world, when you lose the first match and come back through the consolation bracket to take third it’s called ‘running the gauntlet,’” DelPorto said.
Freshmen James Klosz (157 pounds) and Jacob Davis (174 pounds) claimed fourth place for the Eagles in the freshman and sophomore division and open division respectively.
Klosz went 6-2 at the tournament, losing to Louden Gordon of Notre Dame College and Vincent Favia of Bucknell University. Davis took first place in his weight class at the EMU Open Nov. 3, but fell a bit short leaving the tournament 3-2.
The Eagles welcome the MSU Spartans to Bowen Field House Nov. 16 to kick off their dual-meet season. EMU invited high school teams for High School Team Night for the meet which begins at 7 p.m.
EMU defeated the Spartans for the first time in 25 years during the 2011-12 season. DelPorto said that the upcoming match is going to be a “dog fight”. If the Eagles beat MSU back to back it will be a program first.
“We need EMU students and fans to come support us and help beat the Spartans again,” DelPorto said.
The wrestlers go back on the road to take on the Clarion University Golden Eagles Nov. 18 in Clarion, Pa.