Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Davis sees bright future for Badger grapplers

Seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 nationally as the Wisconsin wrestling team prepares for the Big Ten Championships.[/media-credit]

With the Big Ten Championships this weekend, Wisconsin wrestling head coach Barry Davis looks for the 14th ranked Badgers to use their experience from the upcoming event to help their preparation for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.

The Big Ten Championships will contain some of the best teams in the country. The field includes four teams currently ranked in the top ten, including the top-ranked and undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes. Seven teams in the Big Ten are ranked in the top 25.

“I call it (the Big Ten Championships) like a mini NCAA tournament,” Davis said. “Most of the matches you will see in the Big Ten finals you will see in the NCAA Championship finals as well.”


In the 133-pound division, Davis noted the Big Ten includes what he believes to be the top four wrestlers nationally and the likely top four seeds at the NCAA Championships.

Davis said he believes the Badgers have four wrestlers — Tyler Graff, Kyle Ruschell, Andrew Howe and Trevor Brandvold — who are capable of winning in their respective weight classes at the Big Ten Championships.

Both Howe and Brandvold went undefeated (8-0) in Big Ten duals this season, while Graff and Ruschell lost only one match each.

A good performance from the Badgers at the Big Ten Championships will make the NCAA Championships easier for the UW wrestlers, Davis said.

The Big Ten Championships offer the Badgers an opportunity to improve their positions for the NCAA Championships. Davis said he believes if the Badgers can earn a top four seed, it will make their path in the NCAA Championships much easier.

Furthermore, Davis hopes the Badgers’ performance in the Big Ten Championships will help the team achieve their season goal of being ranked in the top five nationally. However, it will not come easily.

“We need to pull some upsets,” Davis said.

Davis is looking to sophomore Travis Rutt and redshirt freshman Cole Schmitt to earn those upsets for the Badgers. The Badgers will likely need every wrestler to be at their best to achieve their goal of a top five ranking.

“It’s within our reach,” Davis said. “It comes down to how you perform.”

Heating Up

Davis and the Badgers are looking for junior Trevor Brandvold to make a deep run at the Big Ten Championships and set the tone for the team as the NCAA Championships approach.

Brandvold, a native of River Falls, Wis., is currently on a 10-match winning streak, which includes four wins over top 15 opponents. Brandvold is ranked seventh nationally in the 197-pound weight class.

“He’s coming on right now; I think he’s wrestling really well,” Davis said. “He’s one of those guys who has a chance to win the Big Ten Championship and set us up for the NCAA Championships.”

Davis also expects great things from his sophomore star Andrew Howe, who is looking to win the Big Ten Championships for the second consecutive year. Howe is ranked first nationally in the 165-pound division.

The sophomore wrestler is undefeated this season, with a team-high 28 wins and ranks second in Wisconsin wrestling history, winning just over 92 percent of his matches.

“People ask me how can you beat Andrew Howe — the best way is to bring a baseball bat,” Davis joked. “I don’t see anyone beating him.”

Howe reached the NCAA finals last year and placed third in the world over the summer as a member of the Junior World Team.

Although Howe is undefeated, he has wrestled in some tight matches. Twelve of Howe’s 28 wins have come against ranked opponents. However, Howe has shown no signs of panic in these close matches.

“He’s the same guy all the way through,” Davis said.

Davis believes Howe’s experience will help the wrestler in the postseason. Despite his high expectations for him, Davis believes Howe must come well-prepared and at his best for the postseason.

“As a coach you see Andrew wrestle in a tight match, and you have a feeling he’s going to pull it out,” Davis said. “Do I see anyone beating him? No, but it could happen.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *