EVANSTON, Ill. â€“ Tyler Dickenson (197 pounds) and Joe Rizqallah (heavyweight) each placed fourth as the Big Ten Wrestling Championships concluded Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena on the campus of Northwestern University. Five Spartans (Dickenson, Rizqallah, Dan Osterman, Sean McMurray, Curran Jacobs) automatically qualified for the NCAA Wrestling Championships March 17-19 in Philadelphia.
â€œWhat a great weekend for college wrestling,â€ said Spartan head coach Tom Minkel of the 2011 Big Ten Championships. â€œIt was a great venue and absolutely packed all weekend. Itâ€™s one of the most competitive Big Ten Championships Iâ€™ve seen in my 20 years at Michigan State. The strength of the Big Ten in wrestling is like no other sport in any other conference.â€
Dickenson, who earned his first berth to the NCAA Championships, upset No. 3 seed Logan Brown of Purdue in the consolation semifinals but lost to fourth-seeded Matt Powless of Indiana, 6-2, in the third-place match. Dickenson went 4-2 overall in the tournament and beat Powless, 7-4, in the first round on Saturday.
â€œTyler wrestled the best weekend of his career,â€ said Minkel of the Pewamo, Mich., native. â€œHe beat three seeded wrestlers and really showed his potential. Iâ€™m excited he has a chance to wrestle at the NCAA Championships.â€
Rizqallah advanced to the semifinals after winning his first two matches in the heavyweight bracket. After falling to eventual champion Blake Rasing of Iowa, 2-0, Rizqallah defeated Ben Apland of Michigan, 8-5, in the consolation semifinals, before falling to Wisconsinâ€™s Eric Bugenhagen, 6-1, in the third-place match. Rizqallah, a sophomore from Allegan, Mich., will represent MSU in his first-career NCAA Championships appearance.
â€œJoeâ€™s really come a long way,â€ Minkel said. â€œIt was nice to see him bounce back from a dual loss against Apland to pick up the win over him today.â€
At 149 pounds, Dan Osterman pinned fifth-seeded Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin in just one minute to place seventh. Osterman went 2-2 overall at the Big Ten Championships and will participate in his first NCAA Wrestling Championships March 17.
â€œDanny was right there all weekend,â€ said Minkel. â€œHe lost a couple of matches by narrow defeats. Heâ€™s right on the verge of something special, and I feel heâ€™ll rise to the occasion at the NCAA Championships.â€
Junior Curran Jacobs defeated Justin Zeerip of Michigan, 6-5 in the first tiebreaker, in the seventh-place match at 174 pounds. Jacobs already punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with his victory in the consolation bracket yesterday at the Big Ten Championships. Jacobs went 2-2 overall at the Big Ten Championships.
True freshman Sean McMurray, who already punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with his two wins on day one of the Big Ten Championships, took sixth place at 157 pounds. He fell to Indianaâ€™s Paul Young, 10-3, in the consolation semifinals, and fourth-seeded Colton Salazar of Purdue, 4-2, in the fifth-place match on Sunday.
Ian Hinton, MSUâ€™s highest seed at No. 4 at 184 pounds, lost to Purdueâ€™s A.J. Kissel, 5-3 in sudden victory, in the seventh-place match.
â€œIt was really a tough draw for Ian all weekend,â€ Minkel said.Â â€œHe wrestled well, he just ran into some quality competition in one of the toughest weight classes in the Big Ten.â€
In the seventh-place match at 125 pounds, Eric Olanowski lost by technical fall, 16-1, to fourth-seeded Brad Pataky of Penn State.
As a team, Michigan State finished 11th with 49.5 points. Penn State claimed the 2011 Big Ten Championship with 139 points, while Iowa took second with 138 points.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia March 17-19.
NOTES ON NCAA QUALIFIERS:
The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 23. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.
This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten are: 125 (5), 133 (8), 141 (6), 149 (8), 157 (6), 165 (8), 174 (8), 184 (6), 197 (6), and heavyweight (6).
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 48 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 9. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers (total of 330).