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Spartan Wrestling Prevalent In Preseason Prognostications

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Posted at 9:05 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 21:05:16-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State wrestling will open the 2021 season in the top 20 of four different polls and have several wrestlers ranked in their respective weight classes.

In the team rankings, MSU is ranked as high as No. 13 in Wrestle Stat’s team tournament rankings to No. 19 in Intermat’s team dual rankings. Along with being No. 13 Wrestle Stat’s team tournament rankings, the Spartans are No. 14 in Wrestle Stat’s team tournament rankings. The Green & White is also No. 15 in Trackwrestling’s team rankings and tied for No. 17 in FloWrestling’s rankings, along with No. 16 in Intermat’s team tournament rankings and No. 19 in their team dual rankings.

Individually, a total of eight different Spartans are ranked in at least one of the four rankings from Flowrestling (Top 25 individuals in each weight class), Intermat (Top 20 individuals), Trackwrestling (Top 33 individuals) and Wrestle Stat (Top 33 individuals).

MSU’s highest-ranked wrestler is 125-pounder Rayvon Foley, as the redshirt-junior is No. 2 in all four rankings. Foley redshirted last season after a recovering from an injury, but was an NCAA All-American at 125 pounds in 2019 following a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships, ending with a 36-6 overall record.

At 133 pounds, redshirt-freshman Jordan Hamdan is ranked No. 23 by Wrestle Stat and No. 25 in the Trackwrestling rankings. While redshirting last season, Hamden competed only in open tournaments, leading all freshmen with 18 wins on way to 18-5 mark.

Redshirt-freshman Peyton Omania returns to action at 149 pounds and is No. 31 in the Trackwrestling rankings. Omania took an Olympic redshirt last season to train for the originally scheduled 2020 Olympics. He secured a bronze medal at the US Junior World Greco-Roman Championships at 67kg in Tallinn, Estonia in August, 2019, and captured the gold medal at 67 kg in the U23 Greco-Roman championship at the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska this past November.

In the 157-pound rankings, redshirt-junior Nathan Atienza checks in at No. 21 by Wrestle Stat and No. 31 by Trackwrestling. Atienza went 10-8 last season, competing at 149 and 157 pounds for the Spartans in open tournaments, including three wins by fall on the way to claiming a first-place finish at the Edinboro Open.

At 165, redshirt-senior Jake Tucker is ranked No. 14 by both Wrestle Stat and Intermat, as well as No. 16 by Trackwrestling and No. 19 by Flowrestling. Tucker was a 2020 NCAA Qualifier at 157 pounds, posting a 27-9 record sharing the team-lead in victories, including two wins over top 25 opponents, while finishing sixth at the Big Ten Championships.

Fellow redshirt-senior Drew Hughes is in all four rankings at 174, including No. 13 by Trackwrestling, No. 15 by Intermat, No. 17 by Flowrestling and No. 18 by Wrestle Stat. Hughes also was a 2020 NCAA Qualifier at 165 pounds, becoming the first Spartan wrestler to become a three-time NCAA Qualifier since John Rizqallah in 2015. Hughes finished with an 18-11 record, ending sixth at the Big Ten Championships.

At 184, redshirt-sophomore Layne Malczewski is ranked No. 14 by Trackwrestling, No. 17 by Wrestle Stat and No. 22 by Flowrestling. Also a 2020 NCAA Qualifier, Malczewski finished third on the team with 25 wins, ending with a 25-13 ledger, finishing seventh at the Big Ten Championships at 174 pounds.

Rounding out the eight Spartans in the preseason rankings is redshirt-junior Cameron Caffey, who is MSU’s second-highest ranked individual, collecting four top 10 rankings. Caffey will enter the 2021 season ranked No. 3 by Wrestle Stat, along with No. 6 by Trackwrestling, No. 7 by Intermat and No. 8 by Flowrestling. Caffey was a 2020 NCAA Qualifier, as well as 2020 Big Ten finalist at 184 pounds, on the way to finishing with a 27-7 record, sharing the team-lead for wins, finishing as an NWCA All-American. Caffey, who also topped the Spartans in dual wins with 16, finishing with a 16-2 dual mark, also led MSU with nine falls as well as topping the team with 67 dual points.

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