Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Advertisements
Advertisements

Wrestling tries to gain momentum before Big Ten season

As the halfway point of the NCAA wrestling season draws to an end, the conference teams are preparing for the start of Big Ten action.

Teams are waiting to see if the non-conference action they’ve faced will help in their quest for the Big Ten crown.

The Badgers, who are riding a five-match winning streak, feel that there is no time better than the present to start the dueling on the mats against the all-too familiar foes.

“The thing right now is that we have a week before school starts and a lot of teams are competing this weekend,” said head coach Barry Davis. “It is a big benefit for us because now we can work on a lot of skills and techniques. It is going to be a week of intense training.”

At 8-5 and ranked 18th in the country, Wisconsin will open up the Big Ten season next Friday at Indiana. UW feels it is prepared, thanks to the rigorous schedule it posted up against these past two months.

Before opening up team action, the Badgers started dueling at the individual level when they competed at the Missouri, Michigan State, and Northern Opens. While no one took home any individual wins, Wisconsin was able to take home a couple second place finishes, along with a few top-ten finishes.

Dual action started for the Badgers at Minnesota-Mankato, where they claimed their first victory with a 31-9 decision. Unfortunately they went on a four-match slide with defeats at the hands of No. 5 Iowa State, Hofstra, No. 11 Northern Iowa, and No. 2 Oklahoma State. After a month of coming out on the losing end, the Badgers turned things around with a 35-3 win over Navy before defeating No. 16 Nebraska 23-16 later that day at the Dallas Duals.

With a 2-1 record in Texas, Wisconsin headed east to the Virginia duals where the highlight of the season was yet to come. UW opened up on the wrong foot when it was defeated by Army 27-9. Despite the loss the Badgers went on to win their next five matches, including a 26-12 victory over Penn State. The third-place finish at Virginia has UW feeling ready for the coming month and excited at what the team has to offer.

Probably the biggest excitement for Wisconsin has been the continuing improvement of sophomore Ralph DeNisco. At 184 lbs., DeNisco has defeated his share of top 10 opponents to give the Badgers a spark. While competing at the Dallas Duals, DeNisco knocked off No. 2 Pat Poplizio of Oklahoma State and then defeated No. 7 Travis Pascoe of Nebraska.

DeNisco followed up his rout at Dallas with a 4-2 mark at Virginia. The sophomore feels that he comes to the mat a little harder knowing that he is wrestling a ranked opponent.

“I think I wrestle better in matches when I know the guy is ranked higher,” said DeNisco. “I’ve been watching a lot of film on my opponents, and I’ve also made some changes in my style. I try to be more aggressive and more offensive [on the mat]. I’m beginning to see a lot of changes as the season goes on.”

While DeNisco’s wrestling has stuck out, he is not the only Badger making waves. Junior Tony Black is 13-1 this season at the 125-lb. weight class. Tony’s brother Kevin has posted a 14-3 mark so far.

The lone senior on the squad, Grant Hoerr, has followed up his fourth-place finish in the NCAA championships last year with a 17-7 record at 141 lbs. Despite Hoerr’s winning record, he still feels he should be giving more to the team.

“People have been expecting a lot out of me, and I haven’t been very consistent,” said Hoerr. “I was feeling a lot of pressure, but as the season has gone on, I’ve realized that I need to take more of a roll to show the younger guys what they need to do. I think now I am starting to take on the attitude that I need to get everyone charged up and show a lot of heart, and hopefully it will carry over to the other guys.”

Hoping to improve on last year’s 2-6 Big Ten mark, Wisconsin will be working on improving its small technical skills, certain match situations and also the mindset of the training needed to win.
“We met some big wrestlers [so far this season],” said Davis. “We didn’t weed out our mistakes, but we learned we can compete with those guys. Right now we’re happy where we’re at, but we are not where we want to be … yet.”

Advertisements
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *