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Wrestling lose winnable dual against Michigan State



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Then-redshirt freshman Jake Kleimola, now a redshirt sophomore, prepares to wrestle against then-freshman Mike Maguire in the 197 lb weight class on Oct. 26, 2017 in University Gym. The 2018-19 IU wrestling schedule was released Monday.  Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

IU dropped its fourth straight loss, this time by an 18-15 defeat at the hands of Michigan State when the two met Friday night at University Gym. 

The Hoosiers felt this match-up was theirs to take if they wanted. IU Coach Duane Goldman said before the match that MSU is susceptible, and if the Hoosiers could give full effort, then the decision would end up going their way. 

Michigan State Coach Roger Chandler, an IU sports alumnus, had the opposite message to his team before the match-up. He said that IU was a win his team had the opportunity to get. 

“We’re also in a position where we can take advantage of this opportunity if we wrestle with the right mindset," Chandler said.

Chandler and the Spartans ended up winning the match, but they were one replay-review away from losing.

With the match on the line and the final wrestlers facing off, the score was tied at 15 a piece. Both wrestlers knew they had to make a move in order to get the points and win the match. 

285-pound IU junior Fletcher Miller launched toward the knees of his opponent. The Michigan State wrestler seemed ready for this move, as he shifted his body and nimbly evaded the dive. 

Instead of landing the big blow that might have won the match, Miller went down for a quick second. He popped back up, but the damage had already been done. 

He received one point from the referee for the escape and the crowd began to cheer. But then, Chandler threw his green cube into the circle, indicating he wanted the last play to be reviewed. 

After a few tenuous minutes, the referee appeared and awarded Michigan State two points for the takedown. This turned the tide and made a 3-2 match into a 5-2 match and handed the decision to the Spartans. 

Goldman did not like this call at all. He said he believed it was unfairly awarded, and that the referee should have let the outcome be decided on the mat instead of in an instant replay. 

This left a sour taste in the mouth of the crowd that was ready for an IU victory. 

However, one of the most memorable moments of the night belonged to sophomore Norman Conley. Conley is a part of the IU ROTC, and the rest of the ROTC showed up in full force and filled the student section to support one of their own.

In the third period, Conley was tied 1-1 with time running off the clock. With the crowd giving him every ounce of energy they could, Conley reared back and flipped over the MSU wrestler for the takedown. The crowd went wild and helped propel Conley to a 3-2 decision. 

Other Hoosiers that won their matchups included junior Elijah Oliver (125) in an 11-8 decision, sophomore Garrett Pepple (133) in a 6-2 decision, junior #16 Cole Weaver (141) in a 2-1 decision and sophomore #19 Devin Skatzka (174) in a 4-1 decision. 

These individual wins were big for the Hoosiers, as all of these wrestlers are vying to qualify for the NCAA tournament. 

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