The University of Wisconsin wrestling team traveled to Rutgers over the weekend to compete in the Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Of the 10 contested weights, the Badgers had five wrestlers place high enough to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. They had one receive an at-large bid Tuesday to bring their total qualifiers to six.
Seth Gross was the first to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis. Gross was seeded first and received a first-round bye.
Gross opened action in his first Big Ten Tournament against No. 8 Joey Silva from Michigan, who he defeated by decision 10–7. He then had No. 5 and reigning Big Ten champion Sebastian Rivera from Northwestern in the semifinals.
Gross defeated Rivera earlier this year at the Midlands Championships. In an exciting and competitive match, Rivera scored a late takedown to give himself a 7–5 lead. Gross responded with an escape to make it 7–6 with little time left. Gross got in deep on a shot and was moments away from scoring a takedown when time expired.
Disappointed by his absence from the finals, Gross responded by winning his two remaining matches to take third place. Gross met Iowa’s Austin DeSanto in the third-place match, for their rubber match. They each had one win over the other this season before this meeting. Gross widened the gap, with a dominant 6–3 showing.
Tristan Moran was No. 5 but was one of a few Wisconsin wrestlers who placed higher than his seed. Moran opened the tournament with a major decision 12–0 against No. 12 Matt Santos of Michigan State. He then faced No. 4 Chad Red Jr. of Nebraska who he beat earlier in the year 9–4.
Things didn’t fall the same way this time, as he lost to him 10–4 the first time, and then eventually 12–3 in the third-place match. After his first loss to Red, Moran won two matches to make it to the third-place match.
No. 4 Trent Hillger wrestled exactly to his seed and got fourth place. He opened the tournament with a 15–0 technical superiority win. He then faced No. 5 David Jensen of Nebraska in the quarterfinals.
Hillger showed a dominant effort in a 7–2 win to advance to the semifinals and punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships. Hillger then lost to top-seeded Mason Parris of Michigan 4–0 in the semifinal bout.
In the third-place match, Hillger looked to avenge an earlier loss to No. 3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa but dropped a 4–0 decision. Hillger looks poised to repeat as an All-American next week.
Johnny Sebastian placed seventh in a return to his home state. Sebastian dropped his opening match against Minnesota’s No. 8 Owen Webster 9–3 but responded with an 8–4 victory against No. 7 Zac Braunagel of Illinois. Sebastian lost his next match before picking up a forfeit in the seventh-place match.
Cole Martin qualified for his fourth NCAA Championships with an eighth-place finish. Martin was seeded at No. 6 but lost his opening match 15–11. He responded by picking up pins over his next two opponents, one of which had special significance.
His second pin was against No. 5 Graham Rooks from Indiana. Martin then lost a close 7–5 sudden victory match to Purdue’s Griffin Parriott. Martin was pinned in the seventh-place match.
Evan Wick medically forfeited out of the tournament but was a shoo-in for an at-large tournament bid thanks to his strong regular season performance. These are the six qualifiers for the NCAA Championships next week.
Wrestling: No. 4 Badgers fall to No. 2 Penn State, cede upset loss to unranked Michigan StateThe Wisconsin wrestling team (10-5, 3-5 Big Ten) hosted two inter-conference opponents over the weekend. Heading into the weekend there Read…
Garrett Model was seeded No. 12 but ended up finishing in eighth place at 157. Jared Krattiger was seeded No. 10 and finished in ninth place, falling just short of qualification for the NCAA Championships. Eric Barnett was seeded No. 9 and ended up taking 10th place. Barnett went 2-3 during the tournament.
The Badgers scored 62.5 points at the tournament, good enough for ninth place. They seriously suffered from Evan Wick not being in the lineup. The six Badgers that qualified will wrestle Thursday, March 19 in the opening round of the NCAA Championships.