Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Triumph-filled fall: UW’s athletic glory transitions to winter

Pinpointing excellence, highlights from UW’s athletic sphere this fall
Julien Payen

As the vibrant hues of fall make way for the crisp chill of winter, the University of Wisconsin reflects on a season of triumphs, challenges and unforgettable moments in its diverse sports universe. From wrestling mats to soccer fields, cross-country trails to basketball courts and the dramatic gridiron clashes, the Badgers showcased resilience, skill and the indomitable spirit that defines their athletic prowess.

Wrestling warriors: Michigan State open dominance

The grappling warriors of Wisconsin wrestling left an indelible mark at the 2023 Michigan State Open, where the No. 19 Badgers sent 22 wrestlers to the battlefield. Four of them emerged as champions in their respective weight classes, illustrating the depth and talent that defines the team.


Notably, Eric Barnett and Dean Hamiti, two seasoned double All-Americans, secured crowns with spectacular performances. Barnett’s hard-fought 5–3 decision in a title match showcased his tenacity, while Hamiti’s dominance on the mat included two pins, a major decision and a 15–0 tech fall.

In the freshman/sophomore division, rising stars like Nicolar Rivera and Luke Condon signaled a promising future for the program. Condon’s undefeated run, marked by three tech falls and a pin, culminated in a resounding 20–3 tech fall over Rollie Denker of Michigan State.

The wrestling squad’s impressive showing, with 10 podium finishes overall, sets the tone for an exciting season ahead and the Badgers’ future on the mat looks brighter than ever.

Women’s soccer: NCAA Tournament triumph

On the pristine pitch of the McClimon Soccer Complex, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team etched their name into the annals of the NCAA Tournament. Facing in-state rivals UW–Milwaukee in the first round, the Badgers dominated possession and emerged victorious with a 2–0 win.

Emma Jaskaniec and Maddie Ishaug played pivotal roles in securing the victory. The second half belonged entirely to Wisconsin, with Jaskaniec redirecting a ball into the net and Ishaug sealing the win with a deftly executed volley. The triumph propels the Badgers to Tallahassee, Florida, where they will face the formidable No. 5 Texas, aiming to extend their stellar run in the NCAA Tournament.

The McClimon Soccer Complex, adorned in cardinal and white, witnessed not just a win but a testament to the team’s resilience, skill and the pursuit of excellence ingrained in Wisconsin’s athletic ethos.

Cross country excellence: Run to remember

Amidst the rustling leaves and challenging terrain of the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, the women’s cross country team showcased their mettle at the 2023 NCAA Great Lakes Regional. A runner-up finish secured their spot at the upcoming NCAA Cross Country Championships, marking the 33rd championship qualification for the program.

Led by junior Leané Willemse’s fifth-place finish, the Badgers displayed both individual brilliance and team synergy. Six athletes earned all-region honors, underlining the depth and talent within the roster. Wisconsin’s ability to finish in the top two at the NCAA Regionals, a feat matched by only a select few programs, underscores the program’s stature on the national stage.

Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, Mick Byrne, praised the team’s performance, emphasizing their resilience and determination. With eyes set on the national stage, the Badgers are poised to leave an indelible mark at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

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Basketball brilliance: Women’s team dominates Western Illinois

Transitioning from the open fields to the hardwood, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team showcased their prowess against Western Illinois. In a stellar 74–52 victory, Natalie Leuzinger and Ronnie Porter emerged as the driving forces behind the Badgers’ dominance.

Leuzinger’s career-high 13 points, coupled with Porter’s first-ever double-double, demonstrated the team’s depth and ability to shine even in the absence of key players. The game also witnessed the emergence of freshman Tessa Grady, whose confident 3-pointers in the final minutes added an exclamation point to the team’s commanding performance.

The win not only adds to the team’s early-season success but also serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability ingrained in the Badgers’ basketball ethos. As the season progresses, the women’s basketball team looks poised for a memorable campaign.

Football fireworks: Late surge stuns Illinois

On the gridiron, the Badgers scripted a sensational comeback against Illinois, securing a 25–21 Big Ten win that left fans in awe. Braedyn Locke, stepping into the starting role, orchestrated an 18-point fourth-quarter explosion, culminating in a game-winning 3-yard touchdown pass to offensive lineman Nolan Rucci.

The victory showcased not only Locke’s poise in high-pressure situations but also the team’s collective grit. Braelon Allen’s powerful rushing performance, coupled with a resilient defensive effort, propelled Wisconsin to the top of the Big Ten West standings.

Coach Luke Fickell praised the team’s newfound resilience, fight and grit in the fourth quarter, emphasizing the significance of the win in a challenging environment. The victory not only solidified Wisconsin’s position in the conference but also set the stage for a competitive and thrilling close to the football season.

A season to remember

As the fall season fades into the winter chill, UW’s athletic sphere resonates with the echoes of triumph and the promise of more to come. From the wrestling mats to the soccer fields, cross country trails to basketball courts and the gridiron clashes that resonate across the campus, the Badgers have left an indelible mark on the fall of 2023.

The transition to winter heralds new challenges and fresh opportunities, but the memories forged in the fall will undoubtedly serve as a source of inspiration for the athletes donning the cardinal and white. With resilience as their guiding principle and excellence as their pursuit, the UW’s athletic universe stands poised for another chapter of triumphs in the winter season ahead.

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