Madison — Zander Wick and Ryan Christensen each picked up a pair of wins as the Wisconsin wrestling team unofficially opened its season with the Red/White intrasquad scrimmage at the UW Field House Thursday night.
The event featured 14 matches between 26 of the Badgers’ wrestlers, with the Red Team emerging victorious by a count of 42-19.
Gabriel Grahek put the Red Team on top out of the gates with a 1-0 decision over Luke Rowh in a 149-pound bout.
The White Team immediately answered as Wick recorded the first pin of the evening, winning by fall over Patrick Spray in 5:29.
Wick was appreciative of the opportunity to make his formal UW debut, even in an scrimmage setting.
“It was nice to be able to wear the Wisconsin singlet for the first time. Last year I redshirted, so we had to wear our own gear,” said Wick, who wrestled unattached last season. “So it was nice to finally get out there and wear the Wisconsin red. It was really nice to proudly show the “W” to the fans for the first time.”
From there, Red gained control of the dual rattling off a trio of consecutive wins.
Ryan Christensen (174) scored a 16-0 technical fall over Jackson Hemauer in 5:24 to put the Red Team on top for good.
Next, Jacob Covaciu (174) and Tyler Shilson (149/157) each won by injury default as their opponents, Izaec Quintanilla and Davin Bahr each suffered leg injuries.
Quintanilla left the mat with assistance from the training staff, while Bahr, one of the top recruits of the 2017 class, appeared to gingerly walk off on his own.
After the dual, Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis seemed cautiously optimistic about the status of his two injured grapplers.
“They’ll be alright, I think,” Davis said. “It’s too bad it happened, but it happened.”
Eric Peissig got White rolling again with a 10-2 major decision over Jake Stilling at 197 pounds.
However, the Red Team got two big responses from Ricky Robertson (184) and Ben Stone (285) who each recorded technical falls.
Michael Cullen (133) scored a win for the White Team as he slipped past Jens Lantz 3-2 in three overtimes.
At 141 pounds, Cole Martin pinned Eli Stickley to post six more points for Red.
Andrew Crone (157) added to the lead with a 12-7 comeback win over Jared Scharenbrock. Crone tallied eight points in the third period, including a takedown and four nearfall in the final minute, to secure the victory.
The White Team notched back-to-back wins courtesy of a decisions from Hunter Ritter (197) and Wick who blanked Grahek 7-0 in a matchup of the night’s previous winners at 149 pounds.
For Wick, Thursday night served a shakedown run of sorts – a much-needed taste of live action with the regular season lurking.
“Yeah, it was wrestling teammates but, it was a match. It was 100 percent,” Wick said. “It wasn’t a live match, like in the practice room. It was set up to be like a dual. It felt real. It kind of gets the nerves out of you. It felt good and I wrestled well, so I’m happy with it.”
Christensen capped the night with his second win, a 1-0 triumph over Covaciu in a clash of the night’s winners at 174. A second-period escape proved to be the difference in that bout.
Overall, Davis is pleased with the effort his wrestlers put forth.
“You know, they wrestled. There was a lot of offense out there,” Davis said. “Position-wise, offense-wise, we saw a lot of good things. We’re making a lot of headway. We’re moving forward and I’ll be excited for next week.”
The regular season begins Nov.5 as the Badgers travel to East Lansing, Mich. to take part in the Michigan State Open.
Red 42, White 19
149: Gabriel Grahek (R) dec. Luke Rowh, 1-0
149: Zander Wick (W) p. Patrick Spray, 5:29
174: Ryan Christensen (R) tf. Jackson Hemauer, 16-0 (5:24)
174: Jacob Covaciu (R) def. Izaec Quintanilla (injury default)
149/157: Tyler Shilson (R) def. Devin Bahr (injury default)
197: Eric Peissig (W) maj. dec. Jake Stilling, 10-2
285: Ben Stone (R) tf. Ian Dretzka 17-2 (3:20)
184: Ricky Robertson (R) tf. Brady Wetter, 16-0 (6:38)
133: Michael Cullen (W) dec. Jens Lantz, 3-2 (OT)
141: Cole Martin (R) p. Eli Stickley, 6:08
157: Andrew Crone (R) dec. Jared Scharenbrock, 12-7
197: Hunter Ritter (W) dec. Mason Reinhardt, 5-3
149: Zander Wick (W) dec. Gabriel Grahek, 7-0
174: Ryan Christensen (R) dec. Jacon Covaciu, 1-0
Badgers tab Bono new head wrestling coach
The University of Wisconsin wrestling team has a new head coach.
On Saturday, UW tabbed former South Dakota State front man Chris Bono as the 16th head coach in program history.
The nation-wide coaching search came to a head just hours after Friday night’s application deadline.
Hey #Badgers fans, we've got big news!
— Wisconsin Wrestling (@BadgerWrestling) March 24, 2018
Bono was named Big 12 Coach of the Year this past season and coached the first national champion in program history.
In the last six years, Bono has coached five All-Americans. The Jackrabbits have had at least one NCAA qualifier in each season under Bono’s guidance.
Prior to his stint in Brookings, Bono spent three seasons at the helm of Chattanooga. There he coached a pair of All-Americans and 19 NCAA qualifiers. The Mocs won three Southern Conference championships during his tenure.
Bono competed at Iowa State during his college days, qualifying for four NCAA tournaments. He won a national championship at 150 pounds and attained All-American status on three occasions.
In freestyle competition, Bono made the US world team on three occasions. He was a two-time freestyle champion and placed first at the World Cup in both 2002 and 2003.
Barry Davis resigns as head wrestling coach
Wisconsin wrestling head coach Barry Davis is stepping down at the end of the season.
That announcement came from the UW Athletic Department early Monday afternoon, just hours after the Badgers advanced seven of their 10 wrestlers to the 2018 NCAA Division I National Championships.
The move reportedly comes after a recent meeting between Davis and athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Davis, who has been the head coach at Wisconsin for the last 25 seasons, will remain onboard through the end of next week’s NCAA Tournament.
During his tenure, Davis has coached 26 All-Americans and three NCAA champions. He is the winningest coach in program history, sporting a career dual meet record of 234-172-11. This season, Davis guided the Badgers to a 7-5 dual record and a 4-5 mark in the Big Ten.
The veteran head coach reportedly met with the team this morning to inform them of the circumstances.
A timeline on the search for Davis’ replacement has not been announced. But a UW official confirmed that a national search will take place.
Associate head coach Trevor Brandvold and assistant coach Kyle Ruschell will remain on staff through the end of the spring semester to aid in the transition process.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Wisconsin wrestling upends No. 13 Illinois
A strong team effort lifted the No. 20 Wisconsin wrestling team to a 19-16 win over host No. 13 Illinois in a Big Ten Conference dual Sunday afternoon.
Though each squad one five matches, the Badgers were able to pull the upset due to some timely performances.
Johnny Jimenez got UW (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) off on the right foot as he upended No. 18 Travis Piotrowski 1-0 in the dual’s opening match at 125 pounds.
It was the first conference win of the season for Jimenez who is now 2-6, 1-3 as an attached wrestler.
The Illini (7-4, 6-3) earned decisions in the next two bouts to grab a 6-3 lead heading to 149 pounds.
That’s where Wisconsin’s Cole Martin recorded a key pin, winning by fall over Eric Barone in 5:15. Martin’s victory gave the Badgers a lead they managed to cling to for the remainder of the day.
Next up, No. 19 Andrew Crone scored his second win over a ranked opponent in a 48-hour span. The redshirt senior topped No. 20 Kyle Langenderfer 8-2 in sudden victory.
Crone is now 3-2 against Langenderfer at the collegiate level, including a 1-1 mark against him this season.
Illinois got back on track with a major decision from second-ranked Isaiah Martinez at 165 pounds. He topped No. 6 Evan Wick 14-6.
The match was the second in a string of three consecutive bouts against ranked opponents for Wick. He is set to face No. 11 Richie Lewis of Rutgers when the Badgers and Scarlet Knights tangle Friday.
Ryan Christensen restored order for Wisconsin with a major decision of his own at 174 pounds.
For the second straight dual, No. 9 Ricky Robertson faced a fellow top-10 foe. This time, he crossed paths with No. 6 Emery Parker.
Parker emerged victorious by a count of 9-4. That win brought the Illini back within three with two matches to go.
Sunday marked the second time the two had met this season. Robertson took the first meeting by a count of 3-1 in sudden victory back in mid-November.
Hunter Ritter pushed UW’s advantage to six points courtesy of a 3-2 decision over Andre Lee.
That meant Illinois needed a pin at heavyweight to tie the match and force the dual meet to be decided by criteria.
For a brief moment, in the latter portion of the second period, it looked like the Illini were about to get their fall.
Deuce Rachal was able to put UW’s Ben Stone on his back. But Stone fought to avoid the pin.
Facing a 7-1 deficit, Stone fought back to cut the deficit to two. While he fell 7-5, Stone’s loss by decision preserved the dual meet win for the Badgers.
Wisconsin returns home to finish out the dual portion of its schedule. The Badgers host No. 16 Rutgers Friday before squaring off with No. 22 Purdue Sunday.
No. 20 Wisconsin 19, No. 13 Illinois 16
125: Johnny Jimenez (UW) dec. No. 18 Travis Piotrowski, 1-0
133: Dylan Duncan (UI) dec. Jens Lantz, 5-2
141: Mike Carr (UI) dec. Eli Stickley, 10-4
149: Cole Martin (UW) p. Eric Barone, 5:15
157: No. 19 Andrew Crone (UW) dec. No. 20 Kyle Langenderfer, 8-2 (SV-1)
165: No. 2 Isaiah Martinez (UI) maj. dec. No. 6 Evan Wick, 14-6
174: Ryan Christensen (UW) maj. dec. David Rojas, 17-4
184: No. 6 Emery Parker (UI) dec. No. 9 Ricky Robertson, 9-4
197: Hunter Ritter (UW) dec. Andre Lee, 3-2
HWT: Deuce Rachal (UI0 dec. Ben Stone, 7-5
Badgers fall to No. 14 Nebraska
Visiting Nebraska won seven of 10 matches en route to a 24-10 over Wisconsin at the UW Field House Friday night.
The evening’s proceedings began at 165 pounds where No. 12 Isaiah White of Nebraska upended No. 6 Evan Wick by a count of 7-3 to give the Cornhuskers an early 3-0 lead.
UW’s Ryan Christensen (174 pounds) knotted the team score a match later as he edged Beau Breske 3-2.
The back and forth affair continued at 184 pounds. Seventh-ranked Taylor Venz got the better of No. 9 Ricky Robertson in their top-10 showdown. Venz’s 12-7 decision put No. 14 Nebraska (9-4, 7-2 Big Ten) back on top by three.
Wisconsin responded by way of Hunter Ritter who picked up a 9-6 win at 197 pounds to draw the team score back to even.
The Huskers grabbed the lead once and for all when David Jensen scored a pin at heavyweight, giving Nebraska a 12-6 lead at intermission.
That win sparked a five-match winning streak for the Huskers.
No. 19 Andrew Crone halted that run with an 11-3 major decision over No. 8 Tyler Berger. Crone scored 10 of his 13 points in the second period.
No. 20 Wisconsin (6-3, 3-3) heads to Champaign to take on No. 13 Illinois Sunday afternoon.
No. 14 Nebraska 24, No. 20 Wisconsin 10
165: No. 12 Isaiah White (N) dec. No. 6 Evan Wick, 7-3
174: Ryan Christensen (UW) dec. Beau Breske, 3-2
184: No. 7 Taylor Venz (N) dec. No. 9 Ricky Robertson, 12-7
197: Hunter Ritter (UW) dec. Eric Schultz, 9-6
HWT: David Jensen (N) p. Ben Stone, 1:33
125: Mitchell Maginnis (N) dec. Johnny Jimenez, 5-2
133: No. 19 Jason Renteria (N) dec. Jens Lantz, 11-4
141: No. 13 Chad Red Jr. (N) dec. Eli Stickley, 6-3
149: No. 10 Colton McCrystal (N) dec. Cole Martin, 7-4
157: No. 19 Andrew Crone (UW) maj dec. No. 8 Tyler Berger, 11-3
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