The wrestling team has dominated all season, standing at 6-0 before visiting Iowa City this week. They wrapped up November with their last non-conference dual for the month against their first ranked opponent, Utah Valley. The Badgers began their Big Ten schedule Sunday as they traveled to Iowa City to take on the first-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.
The seventh-ranked Badgers knew they might be in for a tough night against the first-ranked Hawkeyes. The dual looked to be a very interesting one, with five ranked matchups scheduled.
The dual started with a dominant second period tech-fall by Iowa’s returning two-time national champion and top ranked Spencer Lee of Wisconsin’s Michael Cullen. The Badgers looked to turn things around with the main event of the evening, featuring the No. 1 ranked Badger Seth Gross against the No. 2 ranked Hawkeye Austin Desanto.
Gross seemed off as he gave up three takedowns to Desanto and lost a 6–2 decision. Next, No. 10 Tristan Moran dropped a close decision to No. 8 Max Murin, 3–2.
No. 15 Cole Martin faced No. 3 Hawkeye Pat Lugo, and lost a close decision 5–3. Garrett Model looked competitive at 157 against the third-ranked Kaleb Young, but lost a 12-6 decision.
In the second-highest ranked matchup of the night, No. 3 Evan Wick from the Badgers faced No. 2 Alex Marinelli. Both wrestlers have bested each other on separate occasions, but Marinelli prevailed this time, winning via a 4–2 decision.
Jared Krattiger gave up a fall to No. 3 Michael Kemerer at 174. In the only matchup of the night without ranked wrestlers, Wisconsin’s Johnny Sebastian went to double overtime against Cash Wilcke, where he picked up the 7–5 victory in the Badgers’ first victory of the night.
No. 4 Jacob Warner for the Hawkeyes took down Taylor Watkins 5–2. In the final match of the night, No. 3 Trent Hillger was upset by No. 12 Anthony Cassioppi 3–2. The Badgers ultimately lost their first conference dual 32–3.
In the Badgers’ bad second-most recent competition against Utah Valley, the Badgers traveled to Orem, Utah to take on the No. 18 Wolverines. There were two marquee matchups and the Badgers were victorious in both.
The first was top-ranked Seth Gross against the Wolverine’s Taylor LaMont. Not currently ranked by Flowrestling, LaMont is an accomplished international wrestler in the Greco-Roman discipline of wrestling where he has a Junior World Championship medal. Gross recorded a convincing 11–3 major decision.
The other matchup pitted top ranked Tate Orndorff(UVU) against third ranked Trent Hillger(UW). Last year, Hillger picked up a 9–7 overtime victory against Orndorff, and this year’s matchup also needed the extra periods to be decided.
Tied 1–1 through regulation as each wrestler was only able to score one escape, the bout headed to overtime. The first minute-long sudden-death period wasn’t sufficient to decide things as it was still tied heading into the first tiebreakers. Hillger managed an escape, and then a takedown that put Orndorff straight to his back where he picked up the fall at the 8:18 point of the match.
This sealed a resounding 31–13 victory for the Badgers, where four other Badgers picked up bonus-point wins. 11th ranked Tristan Moran picked up a 12–2 major decision. 14th ranked Cole Martin picked up a fall in 0:50. 3rd ranked Evan Wick picked up a 15–3 major decision and Johnny Sebastian managed an 11–2 major decision as the Badgers dominated across the board in a 31–13 team victory.
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The week before, the Badgers were out of action, but that didn’t slow down Gross. Gross traveled to New York to compete in the Bill Farrell International, the first opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials. Gross competes in the 57-kilogram (125.2-pound) weight category.
Gross met his first of three former NCAA Champions in the form of Nick Suriano — who won the 133-pound crown in 2019 for Rutgers University — who he beat astonishingly with a last-second back exposure to give himself the 3–2 lead. Gross would go on to win 4–2 after a Suriono challenge failed.
Gross then recorded a tech-fall (12–1) to Darian Cruz who won the 2017 125-pound title for Lehigh University. With the win, Gross advanced to the finals where Nathan Tomasello — the 2015 125-pound NCAA Champion — awaited him, and who he bested via tech-fall 11–1.
Gross’ achievements didn’t stop there that week. He was awarded USA Wrestling’s Wrestler of the Week honors.
The Badgers’ second most recent competition was in Saegertown, Pennsylvania against the Edinboro Fighting Scots. The Badgers had quite a pin party, as Gross, Moran and Wick all recorded falls. Martin also added a major decision, as the Badgers took down the Fighting Scots 28–15.
The day before that, the Badgers battled the University of Buffalo at “Mayhem on the Mainstage”, an event that featured a competition in an auditorium. Wisconsin native and 157 pounder Garrett Model recorded a 19–1 tech-fall of his Bull opponent. Gross downed 16th ranked Derek Spann 6–3. Moran, Martin and Hillger all added major decisions as the Badgers dismantled the Bulls 34–3.
The Badgers’ first day of competition was Nov. 1 in San Diego, California at the Battle on the Midway. The Badgers’ first two duals were on Broadway Pier against Fresno State and Army, respectively. The final dual of the day was against Navy on the flight deck of the USS Midway.
The Badgers first took down Fresno State 31–8. The victory featured a match between two Wisconsin natives at 174, Jackson Hemauer (who transferred from UW to Fresno State last year) and Jared Krattiger. Hemauer picked up the 6–5 victory with a late score in the third period. Gross and Hillger picked up falls in their first matches of the season. Wick managed a technical fall in a return to his home state. Michael Cullen and Johnny Sebastian both won by major decision.
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The Badgers’ next match was a closely contested one, as they barely managed to squeak out a 16–15 victory against Army. Gross picked up the only bonus-point win in the match. Hillger came up clutch with a resounding 7–0 victory as the Badgers were trailing 13–15 going into his match.
The Badgers finished the day on the flight deck of the USS Midway against Navy. The trio of Gross, Martin and Wick all picked up major decision victories as the Badgers downed Navy 24–12.
The Badgers are in action for the first time at the UW Field House Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. All rankings referenced are from flowrestling.