Before Thursday night’s dual meet with the University of Northern Iowa, the Badger faithful took to their feet to honor seven senior wrestlers — Michael Cullen, Seth Gross, Tristan Moran, Cole Martin, Johnny Sebastian and the late Eli Stickley.
Eric Barnett opened the dual against a ranked opponent in UNI’s No. 10 Jay Schwarm. The match started competitive, as it was 2–2 until Barnett got pinned at the 2:19 mark.
No. 1 Gross looked to close out his UW Fieldhouse career in undefeated fashion, and he did just that. Gross lit up the scoreboard against No. 17 Jack Skudlarczyk, as he recorded a 16–0 tech-fall in his final dual meet.
No. 4 Moran lost an 8–4 decision to No. 11 Michael Blockhus. Moran will need to be more competitive for the Badgers heading into the postseason.
No. 15 Martin wrestled an entertaining back-and-forth 10–8 win in his final match in Madison. Martin will be looking to threaten for All-American status (top eight wrestlers at NCAA Championships) this postseason.
Drew Scharenbrock got the nod at 157 and faced Derek Holschlag from UNI. Scharenbrock took full advantage of his opportunity and recorded a 7–2 decision victory for the Badgers.
It will be interesting to watch who Coach Chris Bono ends up deciding to go with at 157 for the postseason, as both Scharenbrock and Garrett Model have shown mixed results. The Badgers were up 11–9 heading into the final five bouts of the evening.
No. 4 Evan Wick looked to bolster the Badger’s lead at 165. Wick stomped his UNI opponent with a convincing 16–4 major decision to put the Badgers ahead 15–9.
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Jared Krattiger was matched with UNI’s No. 5 Bryce Steiert for perhaps the toughest matchup for any Badger on the night. Krattiger dropped a 9–1 major decision.
Tyler Dow got the nod with Sebastian seeing limited action due to a shoulder injury. Dow faced No. 4 Taylor Lujan and gave up a 12–2 major decision. It was 17–15 in favor of UNI heading into the final two matches.
Taylor Watkins was still looking for his first UW Field House victory, and he came about as close as possible before falling just short. He lost in the final set of tiebreakers, 3–2.
No. 5 Trent Hillger was once again tasked with the difficult task of having to produce a pin to manufacture a Badger victory, which is extremely hard to do. Hillger won a 3–0 decision against No. 13 Carter Isley, but it still wasn’t enough.
The Badgers dropped their final dual of the year 20–18. Wisconsin’s next competition is March 7 and 8 in New Jersey for the Big Ten Championships at Rutgers.