EAST LANSING, Mich. - The setting couldn't have been more perfect. Wrestling in his final home dual on Senior Night, in the last match of the evening at 133 pounds, senior Nick Simmons became MSU's new all-time falls leader by pinning Oklahoma's Henry Roman in just 58 seconds Friday at Jenison Field House. It gave Simmons 46 falls for his illustrious career, passing Jim Mason, who collected 45 from 1980-84.
"I just wanted to go out there and get it done with, get it out of the way so I wouldn't have to worry about it at Big Tens or nationals," Simmons said. "It felt good though, to go out there and get that pin. It was good to get it on the last home dual match. Really, it's good to just get it over with before it gets real hectic. Now I can focus on the task at hand, and like I've said, this record is only second tier for me right now."
Simmons hopped on the wrestling platform at Jenison for the final time in his career to a standing ovation. The patient crowd had waited all evening for Simmons to break the record - and the Williamston native did not disappoint. He recorded a takedown less than 10 seconds into the match, and from there, it was only a matter of time. Simmons recorded near-fall points to go up 5-0 at the 2:19 mark, and with Roman on his back, Simmons positioned himself for the record-setting pin. It came just seconds later, at the 2:02 mark. Simmons then waved to the crowd on his way over to shake hands with Oklahoma Coach Jack Spates.
"With Nick and Andy, I've said this over and over, there's symmetry to their careers," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel. "And that was the case here tonight, as Nick breaks the all-time pin record in his last dual. We just drew the matches randomly at the beginning, and it worked out that he's the last bout of the night. It's like it was meant to be. At that point, you just knew.
"I'm really, really happy for him. He exemplifies what aggressive wrestling is all about. He's always trying to pin you, no matter what, so he certainly deserves that record."
Although Simmons came away with the record, the No. 22 Spartans still fell short against the 14th-ranked Sooners, 24-15.
Unfortunately, the beginning of Senior Night didn't go to plan. Andy Simmons, ranked fourth at 141 pounds, entered his last home dual meet with a 20-1 career home record. However, in a shocking upset, he fell to redshirt freshman Kyle Terry in the first match of the dual, 4-2. Andy, who hadn't wrestled since the Minnesota dual on Feb. 9 due to an injury, fell behind 2-0 after giving up a reversal at the 1:28 mark in the second period. He escaped five seconds later to make it 2-1, but gave up a takedown with 20 seconds left in the period. Entering the third period down 4-1, Simmons escaped with 1:16 left, but he couldn't collect a takedown and lost by the final of 4-2.
The Sooners (11-7) then went on to win the next four matches to take a 18-0 lead heading into intermission.
MSU (3-11) got on the board with a forfeit win at 184 pounds, and cut the lead to 18-9 after Nick Palmieri came through with a 10-8 victory over Josh Hinton at 197 pounds. Oklahoma stopped the momentum in the heavyweight bout as Brad Farmer beat Alan O'Donnell, 6-3.
In the marquee matchup of the dual, top-ranked Sam Hazewinkel held off MSU's eighth-ranked Franklin Gomez at 125 pounds, 6-2. Gomez took a 2-1 lead with a takedown midway through the second period, but it was the only points he would get. Gomez quickly gave up a reversal and near-fall points just 20 seconds after the takedown to fall behind 6-2.
Michigan State returns to action to host the Big Ten Championships March 3-4 at the Breslin Center.