The Wisconsin wrestling team has gotten off to a hot start in the 2021-22 season. The Badgers put the rest of the nation on notice with wins against Northwestern and Rutgers in their first two matches of the Big Ten dual season. The impressive opening weekend elevates the University of Wisconsin to No. 10 in the latest NWCA rankings, with a 6–0 overall record in dual meets.

The team has garnered contributions from veterans and new faces alike, forming a lineup that is strong throughout. Against Northwestern, Austin Gomez proved to be a spark plug in a hard-fought victory over fourth-ranked Yahya Thomas. UW was down 9-0 entering Gomez’s match, and the well-earned 8-6 victory turned the tides of the dual. With a 9-1 record so far this season, Gomez has been an invaluable addition to the Badger lineup.

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Along with Gomez, true freshman Dean Hamiti has been a crucial part of UW’s success so far. At 165 pounds, Hamiti holds an undefeated 13-0 record on the season. He has been a rock in the middle of the lineup and a pleasant surprise to many. With two victories in the opening Big Ten matches, he proved his reliability yet again.

While Gomez and Hamiti have helped boost the Badgers and exceed expectations so far, the veterans on this UW team have continued their success as well. Trent Hillger and Eric Barnett, both NCAA All-Americans in 2021, have continued their dominance into this season. Each of the wrestlers finished with 1-1 records in the duals against NU and Rutgers, but they held undefeated records heading into the weekend. Barnett and Hillger are the bookends of the UW lineup and will be vital to the team’s success the rest of the way.

Going forward, there is no doubt that UW will be a dangerous team in the Big Ten. The Badgers lineup truly has no weak links, giving them an edge in tight matches. Outside of the names already mentioned, there are wrestlers throughout the lineup that can cause problems for opposing teams. Freshman phenom Braxton Amos has flashed his incredible ability throughout the season, and transfer Andrew McNally has proven his consistency. From top to bottom, the Badgers lineup is one to be reckoned with.

UW’s next match is the border battle against rival Minnesota, currently ranked No. 14, Jan. 16. This is another opportunity for the Badgers to prove their worth against a formidable Big Ten opponent.