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Badgers wrestling

Badgers stomp Maryland to open Big Ten slate



MADISON – For the second consecutive year, the Wisconsin wrestling team begins its dual season with three straight wins.

The Badgers topped Maryland 32-6 at the UW Field House Thursday night in Wisconsin’s Big Ten opener.

UW won nine of 10 bouts en route to a decisive victory.

“I told the guys, you have a chance to be on Big Ten Network, National TV,” UW head coach Barry Davis said. “Let’s showcase ourselves, showcase our program. Let’s show people the direction this program is going. And they stepped up and did a great job.”

True freshman Ethan Rotondo set the tone for the Badgers in the first match of the night.

Trailing 4-1 entering the final period, Rotondo tallied a reversal, followed by four near fall points to secure a 7-5 win over Maryland’s Brandon Cray.

Jens Lantz followed suit with a 7-2 win over Jhared Simmons at 133 pounds.

Next came one of the highlights of the evening: Eli Stickley’s 14-1 thrashing of No.12 Ryan Diehl.

Stickley scored early and often, picking up his second win of the season over a ranked opponent. In the moments leading up to the bout, Stickley was unaware his opponent would be Diehl.

“I actually didn’t know I was going to wrestle him before the match,” Stickley said. “I was very calm and ready to go for the other guy. But, mentally, just seeing [Diehl] not attempt anything at the start of the match gave me that push and that drive to go out there and get the job done. “

At 149 pounds, Patrick Spray earned the first Big Ten victory of his career courtesy of an 8-6 decision over Peter Tedesco.

A key moment in the match came in the waning moments of the first period.

Just prior to scoring an escape, Spray narrowly avoided a dicey situation that could have resulted in him being tossed. Instead, Spray scored his one-point escape and proceeded to go on the offensive. He ultimately scored a takedown at the buzzer, gaining additional momentum.

“That was a good exchange,”Davis said. “But other times, he got nervous and didn’t let himself wrestle. He made it a little bit tougher for himself. But once he cut loose, he did a good job.”

Spray found out Wednesday that he would be starting in place of nationally-ranked Zander Wick. Though Davis declined to go into specifics, he stated that something came up in Wednesday’s practice that prevented Wick from making the start. However, Davis said Wick would be “good to go” in the near future.

Andrew Crone kept things rolling for the Badgers with a 10-2 win over Justin Alexander at 157 pounds. The major decision gave UW a 17-0 advantage at intermission.

The meat of the Wisconsin lineup sealed the deal after the break.

No.7 Evan Wick (165) scored a major decision. Ryan Christensen did the same at 174.

Eighth-ranked Ricky Robertson blanked Spencer Woods 6-0.

No.18 Hunter Ritter (197) capped it all off by topping Niko Capello 10-0.

Wisconsin’s lone loss came in the final bout of the night. Maryland’s Youssif Hemida, the No.10 heavyweight in the country, pinned Ben Stone in 1:11.

Thursday marked the second time the two wrestlers crossed paths this season and Hemida has won by first-period pin on each occasion.

UW (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) returns to action Saturday when it travels to UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks are currently ranked No.12 in Division III and are fresh off an upset of DIII No.1 Wartburg College last weekend.

That match is set to begin at 1 p.m.

“It’s great to see that what we have been doing is paying off,” Stickley said. “We can look at this in a positive light and build off of it. We’re a family and things like this help us grow closer. We’ve had good times and bad times, but this is a good time and we’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to keep on building and loving on each other.”

Wisconsin 32, Maryland 6

125: Ethan Rotondo (UW) dec. Brandon Cray, 7-5.

133: Jens Lantz (UW) dec. Jhared Simmons, 7-2

141: Eli Stickley (UW) maj. dec. No.12 Ryan Diehl, 14-1

149: Patrick Spray (UW) dec. Peter Tedesco, 8-6

157: Andrew Crone (UW) maj. dec. Justin Alexander, 10-2

165: No.7 Evan Wick maj. dec. Brendan Burnham, 13-3

174: Ryan Christensen (UW) maj. dec. Josh Ugalde, 13-2

184: No.8 Ricky Robertson (UW) dec. Spencer Woods, 6-0

197: No.18 Hunter Ritter (UW) maj. dec. Niko Capello, 10-0

HWT: No.10 Youssif Hemida (M) p. Ben Stone, 1:11

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Badgers wrestling

Badgers tab Bono new head wrestling coach



The University of Wisconsin wrestling team has a new head coach.

On Saturday, UW tabbed former South Dakota State front man Chris Bono as the 16th head coach in program history.

The nation-wide coaching search came to a head just hours after Friday night’s application deadline.

Bono was named Big 12 Coach of the Year this past season and coached the first national champion in program history.

In the last six years, Bono has coached five All-Americans. The Jackrabbits have had at least one NCAA qualifier in each season under Bono’s guidance.

Prior to his stint in Brookings, Bono spent three seasons at the helm of Chattanooga. There he coached a pair of All-Americans and 19 NCAA qualifiers. The Mocs won three Southern Conference championships during his tenure.

Bono competed at Iowa State during his college days, qualifying for four NCAA tournaments. He won a national championship at 150 pounds and attained All-American status on three occasions.

In freestyle competition, Bono made the US world team on three occasions. He was a two-time freestyle champion and placed first at the World Cup in both 2002 and 2003.

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Badgers wrestling

Barry Davis resigns as head wrestling coach



Wisconsin wrestling head coach Barry Davis is stepping down at the end of the season.

That announcement came from the UW Athletic Department early Monday afternoon, just hours after the Badgers advanced seven of their 10 wrestlers to the 2018 NCAA Division I National Championships.

The move reportedly comes after a recent meeting between Davis and athletic director Barry Alvarez.

Davis, who has been the head coach at Wisconsin for the last 25 seasons, will remain onboard through the end of next week’s NCAA Tournament.

During his tenure, Davis has coached 26 All-Americans and three NCAA champions. He is the winningest coach in program history, sporting a career dual meet record of 234-172-11. This season, Davis guided the Badgers to a 7-5 dual record and a 4-5 mark in the Big Ten.

The veteran head coach reportedly met with the team this morning to inform them of the circumstances.

A timeline on the search for Davis’ replacement has not been announced. But a UW official confirmed that a national search will take place.

Associate head coach Trevor Brandvold and assistant coach Kyle Ruschell will remain on staff through the end of the spring semester to aid in the transition process.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Badgers wrestling

Wisconsin wrestling upends No. 13 Illinois



A strong team effort lifted the No. 20 Wisconsin wrestling team to a 19-16 win over host No. 13 Illinois in a Big Ten Conference dual Sunday afternoon.

Though each squad one five matches, the Badgers were able to pull the upset due to some timely performances.

Johnny Jimenez got UW (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) off on the right foot as he upended No. 18 Travis Piotrowski 1-0 in the dual’s opening match at 125 pounds.

It was the first conference win of the season for Jimenez who is now 2-6, 1-3 as an attached wrestler.

The Illini (7-4, 6-3) earned decisions in the next two bouts to grab a 6-3 lead heading to 149 pounds.

That’s where Wisconsin’s Cole Martin recorded a key pin, winning by fall over Eric Barone in 5:15. Martin’s victory gave the Badgers a lead they managed to cling to for the remainder of the day.

Next up, No. 19 Andrew Crone scored his second win over a ranked opponent in a 48-hour span. The redshirt senior topped No. 20 Kyle Langenderfer 8-2 in sudden victory.

Crone is now 3-2 against Langenderfer at the collegiate level, including a 1-1 mark against him this season.

Illinois got back on track with a major decision from second-ranked Isaiah Martinez at 165 pounds. He topped No. 6 Evan Wick 14-6.

The match was the second in a string of three consecutive bouts against ranked opponents for Wick. He is set to face No. 11 Richie Lewis of Rutgers when the Badgers and Scarlet Knights tangle Friday.

Ryan Christensen restored order for Wisconsin with a major decision of his own at 174 pounds.

For the second straight dual, No. 9 Ricky Robertson faced a fellow top-10 foe. This time, he crossed paths with No. 6 Emery Parker.

Parker emerged victorious by a count of 9-4. That win brought the Illini back within three with two matches to go.

Sunday marked the second time the two had met this season. Robertson took the first meeting by a count of 3-1 in sudden victory back in mid-November.

Hunter Ritter pushed UW’s advantage to six points courtesy of a 3-2 decision over Andre Lee.

That meant Illinois needed a pin at heavyweight to tie the match and force the dual meet to be decided by criteria.

For a brief moment, in the latter portion of the second period, it looked like the Illini were about to get their fall.

Deuce Rachal was able to put UW’s Ben Stone on his back. But Stone fought to avoid the pin.

Facing a 7-1 deficit, Stone fought back to cut the deficit to two. While he fell 7-5, Stone’s loss by decision preserved the dual meet win for the Badgers.

Wisconsin returns home to finish out the dual portion of its schedule. The Badgers host No. 16 Rutgers Friday before squaring off with No. 22 Purdue Sunday.


No. 20 Wisconsin 19, No. 13 Illinois 16

125: Johnny Jimenez (UW) dec. No. 18 Travis Piotrowski, 1-0

133: Dylan Duncan (UI) dec. Jens Lantz, 5-2

141: Mike Carr (UI) dec. Eli Stickley, 10-4

149: Cole Martin (UW) p. Eric Barone, 5:15

157: No. 19 Andrew Crone (UW) dec. No. 20 Kyle Langenderfer, 8-2 (SV-1)

165: No. 2 Isaiah Martinez (UI) maj. dec. No. 6 Evan Wick, 14-6

174: Ryan Christensen (UW) maj. dec. David Rojas, 17-4

184: No. 6 Emery Parker (UI) dec. No. 9 Ricky Robertson, 9-4

197: Hunter Ritter (UW) dec. Andre Lee, 3-2

HWT: Deuce Rachal (UI0 dec. Ben Stone, 7-5

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Badgers wrestling

Badgers fall to No. 14 Nebraska



Visiting Nebraska won seven of 10 matches en route to a 24-10 over Wisconsin at the UW Field House Friday night.

The evening’s proceedings began at 165 pounds where No. 12 Isaiah White of Nebraska upended No. 6 Evan Wick by a count of 7-3 to give the Cornhuskers an early 3-0 lead.

UW’s Ryan Christensen (174 pounds) knotted the team score a match later as he edged Beau Breske 3-2.

The back and forth affair continued at 184 pounds. Seventh-ranked Taylor Venz got the better of No. 9 Ricky Robertson in their top-10 showdown. Venz’s 12-7 decision put No. 14 Nebraska (9-4, 7-2 Big Ten) back on top by three.

Wisconsin responded by way of Hunter Ritter who picked up a 9-6 win at 197 pounds to draw the team score back to even.

The Huskers grabbed the lead once and for all when David Jensen scored a pin at heavyweight, giving Nebraska a 12-6 lead at intermission.

That win sparked a five-match winning streak for the Huskers.

No. 19 Andrew Crone halted that run with an 11-3 major decision over No. 8 Tyler Berger. Crone scored 10 of his 13 points in the second period.

No. 20 Wisconsin (6-3, 3-3) heads to Champaign to take on No. 13 Illinois Sunday afternoon.


No. 14 Nebraska 24, No. 20 Wisconsin 10

165: No. 12 Isaiah White (N) dec. No. 6 Evan Wick, 7-3

174: Ryan Christensen (UW) dec. Beau Breske, 3-2

184: No. 7 Taylor Venz (N) dec. No. 9 Ricky Robertson, 12-7

197: Hunter Ritter (UW) dec. Eric Schultz, 9-6

HWT: David Jensen (N) p. Ben Stone, 1:33

125: Mitchell Maginnis (N) dec. Johnny Jimenez, 5-2

133: No. 19 Jason Renteria (N) dec. Jens Lantz, 11-4

141: No. 13 Chad Red Jr. (N) dec. Eli Stickley, 6-3

149: No. 10 Colton McCrystal (N) dec. Cole Martin, 7-4

157: No. 19 Andrew Crone (UW) maj dec. No. 8 Tyler Berger, 11-3


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