Three Wisconsin wrestlers placed as the Badgers finished tied for 12th as a team at the two-day, 46-team Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Friday and Saturday.
No.17 Evan Wick finished second at 165 pounds, while No.11 Ricky Robertson placed fifth at 184 and 18th-ranked Zander Wick was seventh at 149.
Evan Wick’s journey to the finals included four wins, two over top-10 opponents.
He began Friday with an 11-3 major decision over North Carolina’s Clay Lautt. He followed that performance with an 8-4 triumph over Jonathan Viruet (Brown) to advance to the quarterfinals.
That set the table for, arguably, the redshirt freshman’s most impressive win to date: an 8-4 decision over No.3 Logan Massa of Michigan.
In the semis, Wick bested No.9 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) by a count of 10-4.
But the finals spelled the end of the road for Wick’s impressive run. He was pinned by No.5 David McFadden of Virginia Tech at the 2:58 mark of the title bout.
Wick’s appearance in the finals marks the third straight year Wisconsin has been represented in a championship macth at this tournament. Connor Medbery won the heavyweight title in Vegas a year ago, while Isaac Jordan took top honors at 165 back in 2015.
Robertson slipped past Bucknell’s Drew Phipps 6-5 in his first match of the tournament. He followed the narrow victory with a 3-1 decision over No.16 Chirstian LaFrogola (Brown)
In the quarterfinals, Robertson was blanked by No.5 Domenic Abounader of Michigan 8-0.
A 5-0 win over Greg Harvey of Pitt kept Robertson in contention for a third-place finish as Saturday’s action began. He kept rolling with a 2-0 victory against Northern Iowa’s Drew Foster.
With an 8-3 loss to Taylor Venz (Nebraska) in the consolation semifinals, Robertson was relegated to the fifth-place match. There, he topped No.14 Steven Schneider (Binghamton) 5-2.
Zander Wick cruised into the quarterfinals with wins by decision and technical fall.
In the quarters, he was edged by No.5 Colton McCrystal of Nebraska 11-10.
With his 8-2 win over Sam Krivus (Virginia) in his first consolation match, Wick assured himself a top-8 finish.
A loss to No.12 Josh Maruca (Arizona State) landed Wick in the seventh-place match where he topped Michael Sprague of American, 7-5.
As a team, the Badgers tied Pitt for 12th with 56 points. That was half a point behind 11th-place American and just 2.5 points behind Stanford for a top-10 spot.
Eli Stickley (141), Ryan Christensen (174) and No.18 Hunter Ritter (197) each advanced to Day 2, but did not place.
Stickley won his first two matches with major decisions over Christian Monserrat (West Virgina) and Michael Longo (Oklahoma) to advance to quarterfinals.
There, he fell to No.7 Chad Red (Nebraska) 7-5.
Stickley was one-and-done and Saturday, losing to No.20 Mason Smith (Central Michigan) by technical fall, 18-3.
Christensen earned a trio of wins in the tournament’s opening day. He began with a 5-1 win over Dylan Urbach (North Dakota State).
In the next round, he was tripped up by No.3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State) 7-2.
But Christensen strung together a pair of 2-0 victories to advance to Day 2. In his first consolation match, he upended Beau Breske (Nebraska). Next, he topped No.10 Drew Hughes of Michigan State.
It was the second time Hughes and Christensen crossed paths on the season. Hughes took the first matchup courtesy of a 4-2 decision in sudden victory. With their season series tied at one apiece, the pair will likely meet again when the Badgers and Spartans face off in a dual on Jan. 21.
Saturday’s opening match proved to be the last of the tournament for Christensen. He dropped a 9-4 decision to No.13 Yoanse Mejias of Oklahoma.
Ritter got off to a hot start on Friday as a pair of 3-2 wins pushed him into the quarterfinals.
But No.1 Kollin Moore of Ohio State put an abrupt end to Ritter’s championship bid with a 20-7 major decision.
On Saturday, Jacob Holschlag (Northern Iowa) pinned Ritter in 4:24 of their consolation match.
Ethan Rotondo (125), Jens Lantz (133) and No.18 Andrew Crone (157) were each eliminated on the first day of the tournament.
Crone was an even .500, posting a 2-2 record on Friday.
He topped Adam Santoro (Cornell) 12-6 in his opening match. Crone then fell to No.19 Taleb Rahmani of Pittsburgh in the second round, 13-0. It was the second time the two of squared off this season, each wrestler has now won one match by decision.
Crone bounced back by pinning Purdue’s Griffin Parriott in 4:44 to advance in consolation action.
However, a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas ended Crone’s tournament on the opening day.
Lantz was 1-2 for the tournament. His lone win was a pin against Austin Iorga (North Idaho College) in 2:26.
Rotondo finished the event 0-2.
The No.20 Badgers (2-0) open Big Ten competition Thursday as they host Maryland (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at the UW Field House. With a win, Wisconsin would start its dual season 3-0 for the second consecutive year.
The match begins at 8 p.m. and will air live on Big Ten Network.