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Hall of Fame week: Andy Rein & Russ Hellickson

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It is Hall of Fame week at the University of Wisconsin. Join UWBadgers.com as they look back at all of the deserving wrestlers in the UW Hall of Fame.

After his Badger wrestling career Russ Hellickson, Hall of Fame class of 1995, made his mark on the international level as well as behind the bench for Wisconsin wrestling as a coach for 16 years. 

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Hellickson won 10 national freestyle wrestling titles after leaving Wisconsin as well as three Pan American Games gold medals (1971, 1975, 1979), silver (1979) and bronze (1971) medal finishes at the World Championships, and a gold medal at the prestigious Tbilisi Tournament in Russia in 1974.

He competed for Team USA at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, bringing home a silver medal at 220 lbs. He qualified, and was the U.S. Olympic freestyle team captain for the boycotted 1980 games in Moscow. 

Hellickson was a charter member of the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame, and is also enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Midlands Open Hall of Fame. 

While competing internationally, Hellickson also found time to serve as a coach for his alma mater, both as an assistant (1971-82) and as its head coach for four seasons from 1983-86. He led the Badgers to a 70-22-1 dual record in his time as head coach, including three 20-win seasons, as well as back-to-back Big Ten runner-up finishes in 1985 and 1986. 

Hellickson ranks third among UW wrestling coaches in career winning percentage with a .758 mark.


It's a good problem to have if you're Andy Rein, Hall of Fame Class of 2002, and you can't decide whether your accomplishments as a wrestler or as a coach for the Wisconsin Wrestling team are more impressive. Both sets can certainly stake a claim. 

As a player, Rein was a three-time All-American for the Badgers, taking second in 1978, sixth in 1979, and winning a national title in 1980. He was also a two-time Big Ten champion (1978, 1980), three-time Midlands Open champion (1978-80), and his career 119-13-1 record included an undefeated 40-0 season in 1980. 

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Following his Badger career, Rein went international and continued to find success on the mat. He won four United States national freestyle titles and was a two-time Olympian (1980 and 1984) in freestyle, taking home a silver medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles at 149.5 lbs. 

Rein also won gold medals at the 1983 Tbilisi Tournament in the Soviet Union and the 1979 Pan American Games, as well as silver medals at the 1982 World Cup of Wrestling and the 1985 Super Champions Tournament. 

After being hired as the Badgers' head coach in 1987, Rein led Wisconsin to a 81-41-3 record in his seven seasons at the helm of the program, which included Big Ten runner-up finishes in 1987, when Rein was named NCAA Rookie Coach of the Year, and 1992, when he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. 

Rein coached 14 student-athletes to All-America distinction and two - David Lee and Matt Demaray - to national championships. His .659 winning percentage as head coach.ranks sixth in program history

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Ryan Evans
UW Athletic Communications

The Voice: Six set to join elite group in Hall of Fame

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgThis Friday evening, the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame will add six new members -- Jim Haluska, Jim Haines, Lawrence Johnson, Karen Lunda, Cory Raymer and Dick Bennett.

In Varsity magazine a couple of weeks ago, Mike Lucas took us down memory lane with Raymer, the All-America center who helped the Badgers to their first-ever Rose Bowl victory, as well as with Coach Bennett, who no doubt is best known for leading the Badgers on the magical run to the 2000 Final Four.

In addition to being a great player, Raymer was a reporter's dream. Maybe the best way to describe Cory Raymer is by saying he was John Moffitt before we ever heard of John Moffitt. During a media day, some photographers were gathering players for various photos. Raymer emerged from the tunnel and heard his name. The center responded "I answer to anything with 'dumb' in front of it."  

Raymer was dumb like a fox.

The media loved Bennett, as well. He liked to tell fans that he could show Barry Alvarez's football team how to pass, while Coach Alvarez's boys could teach the basketball squad how to run.

But never confuse their sense of humor with their competitive nature. No doubt the desire to maximize his or her potential is what drove each member in the Class of 2012.

Wrestler Jim Haines overcame a knee injury and competed in the 1976 Olympic Summer Games. The following season at Wisconsin, Haines became an NCAA champion by beating Big Ten rival Mike McArthur of Minnesota.

Former coach Duane Kleven says Haines had a combination of toughness and smarts that made him extra special, referring to him as a "mental giant."  When his wrestling days were done, Haines became a coach -- of girls' softball at Pepin High School. He led his team to two state titles.

With this year marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX, one could make a strong argument that Karen Lunda is one of the more important athletes in UW history. Lunda lettered both in field hockey and soccer. While attending Madison West High School, she also played tennis, softball and competed in speed skating.

After starring in field hockey in her first three years at UW, the school dropped the program, so she turned her attention to the new varsity sport on campus, soccer.

In 1981, Lunda became the first Badger women's soccer All-American. More than three decades later, she remains the UW single-season leader in goals (22), assists (18) and total points (62). Her coach, Craig Webb, believes if Karen Lunda played soccer today, she would be an Olympic gold medalist.

Lawrence Johnson also was a two-sport athlete. A Big Ten champion in four events in track, Johnson was an All-America defensive back for the Badgers in 1978. His coaches said he played man coverage better than anyone on the team, and opposing coaches must have agreed. Johnson's interception total was modest, in large part because quarterbacks would tend not to test him.

Johnson also likes to tell the story of how, in his freshman year, there was a 100-yard dash after a practice. Before the race, his new football teammates must have had little if any knowledge of Johnson's speed. Halfway through the race, they found out. Simply put, Lawrence Johnson was more than a track star who could play football, or vice-versa. He simply was a star in both sports.

Today, Badger football fans are well aware of transfer quarterbacks, but the story might not be as new as you think.

In 1950, Jim Haluska enrolled at Michigan. In time, he decided that Ann Arbor was not for him, so the Racine native returned to his home state. In 1952, he went from being the fifth-string quarterback to the starter. A few months later, Haluska led the league in completion percentage, and the Badgers were Rose Bowl-bound for the first time in school history.

Each inductee should be very proud to be a UW Athletic Hall of Famer. That elite group grows to 190 members. What already is a good "team" is about to get even better.

Hall of Fame week: John Roberts & Ed Templin

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It is Hall of Fame week at the University of Wisconsin. Join UWBadgers.com as they look back at all of the deserving wrestlers in the UW Hall of Fame. 

John Roberts (left), a 1994 inductee to the UW Athletic Department Hall of Fame, was a stand out on two fields of play during his time at Wisconsin, excelling both on the mat, as well as the football field.

Roberts served as team captain for the wrestling team in both the 1941 and 1942 seasons, and led by example. He captured back-to-back Big Ten titles at 165 lbs. in those seasons, as well as a NCAA second place finish in 1941. Immediately following his career Roberts led Wisconsin wrestling as its head coach in 1943.

On the gridiron Roberts was a member of the No. 3-ranked 1942 Badgers' football team that finished 8-1-1 and second in the Big Ten. His football career continued as a coach for Stevens Point High School and UW-Stevens Point before Roberts served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) for 28 years from 1957 until 1985.




Ed Templin (right), a 1995 inductee of the UW Athletic Department Hall of Fame and captain of the Badgers' 1923 squad, was the first three- time Big Ten champion in Wisconsin Wrestling history, earning a three-peat at 145 lbs. from 1922 through 1924.

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Ryan Evans
UW Athletic Communications

Hall of Fame week: Lee Kemp

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It is Hall of Fame week at the University of Wisconsin. Join UWBadgers.com as they look back at all of the deserving wrestlers in the UW Hall of Fame.  

If you were to come up with a list of the greatest UW wrestlers of all-time, Lee Kemp's name would almost certainly be near, if not at, the top of the list. 

Kemp, a member of the Hall of Fame's inaugural 1991 class, was a walking trophy case during his time at UW from 1975-78. Kemp was a three-time national champion at 158 lbs., winning the nation's top spot in 1976, 1977 and 1978, seasons in which Kemp went an astonishing 110-1-1. In those same years he was also a Big Ten champion and a Midlands Tournament champion. 

Kemp sits atop the Badger wrestling record book in three categories: single-season falls (18), career falls (47), and career winning percentage (.957). 

But Kemp's long list of accomplishments isn't limited to just his time on campus. No, the all-time US wrestling great moved on to leave his mark on the international stage as well. 

After graduating Kemp went on after to become a seven-time National Freestyle Wrestling champion -- a USWF champion from 1979-1983 and an AAU champion in 1979 and 1982. He also was a three-time World Freestyle Wrestling gold medalist and a one-time bronze medalist. Kemp, at the age of 21, was the youngest American to win world championships, the first American to win three world championships and the first American to win four World Cup titles. He also was a gold medalist at the Pan American Games in both 1979 and 1984 .

With all of his career accomplishments, it is no surprised that Kemp was inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Ryan Evans
UW Athletic Communications


Lucas at Large: Davis no stranger to Olympic trials

Two seconds.

One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two ...

"Two seconds,'' Barry Davis said, "cost me the gold medal.''

Davis was guilty of one mistake - a two-second lapse - that put him in a hole and it turned out to be the difference in his 1984 Olympic freestyle wrestling match against Japan's Hideaki Tomiyama.

At the end of the first period, Tomiyama took advantage of Davis on the mat and scored two points to take a 3-1 lead. "Now I had to chase him,'' Davis said. "You have to take more risks.''

Tomiyama, by contrast, could pick his spots, which he did in holding off Davis and winning, 8-3. Tomiyama left Los Angeles with the gold in the 125.5 pounds weight class. Davis took home the silver.

"I actually lost more my Olympic year than I probably did my whole college career,'' said Davis who had a record of 162-9-1 (.945) during his illustrious career at the University of Iowa.
That includes three NCAA championships, the last of which Davis collected upon his return to the Hawkeyes following his "redshirt year'' with the U.S. Olympic team.

"I was a much better wrestler my senior year,'' Davis said.

There was a different qualifying standard for the Olympic redshirt when Davis was a collegian.

"You had to be at the national tournament or you couldn't compete; that was a good criteria,'' said Davis, who just completed his 18th season as Wisconsin's head coach.

"I wouldn't say it was tougher back then, but it should be tough to qualify. You just don't want to let anybody in the tournament. You can't water down the (Olympic) games.''

Davis is okay with the current redshirt criteria that include student-athletes who earn a top three finish at the NCAAs and a top two finish at the university national championships; or a top eight finish at the Senior World trials.

Past NCAA champions and Senior World and Olympic team members also qualify for the redshirt.

Davis said the Olympic redshirt can be an invaluable stepping stone in preparing for the competition at the trials from the standpoint of gaining experience in a particular discipline.

"Whenever you travel overseas and wrestle in another country,'' he said, "you become better and more worldly because you've got to make changes because you're not in the U.S. environment.

"It makes you more mature all the way around.''

The Badgers will be well-represented at this weekend's Olympic Trials in Iowa City.
Joining the Olympic redshirts - Andrew Howe, Tyler Graff and Travis Rutt - will be Jesse Thielke, a future UW wrestler, who spent the year at the national training center.

Two of Davis' assistants - Ryan Morningstar and Trevor Brandvold - will also be competing. Davis will be rooting them all on knowing how difficult it gets when you reach this point in the process.

"At this level, it's the guy who can make the fewest mistakes,'' Davis said. "It happens so much quicker - the speed and the explosion. The technical skills are so tight; I'm talking so tight.

"One mistake could cost you a spot on the team.''

Or a gold medal.

Badger Newcomers: Baer, Horwath, Liegel and Weber

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The Wisconsin wrestling team is full of young talent, featuring eight true freshmen wrestlers.

UWBadgers.com sat down with four newcomers, Frank Baer, Brock Horwath, Scott Liegel and Brandon Weber, to discuss what they have been working on in the wrestling room and how their first year in Wisconsin wrestling is going at UW.


Frank Baer

How is your freshman year going?

"It's going good. It's different from high school, but I'm transitioning well. It's a lot of fun, but wrestling is a lot of work too."

Is there any particular skill that you have picked up in college?

"Overall, my toughness is much better. I went to a pretty tough high school, but this is that much of a higher level."

How does Wisconsin wrestling compare to what you have done in the past?

"There is a demand to go 110 percent every time you are out there."

 

Brock Horwath

What do you like about Wisconsin wrestling?

"I love that its competitive, a lot more than high school. It's a lot better."

What's the biggest difference between high school and college wrestling?

"The commitment for sure is the biggest difference. In high school, I didn't have morning practices. I like it though."

 

Scott Liegel

How are practices going so far this year?

"I like the competition in the wrestling room. I'm getting better every day. It's tough, but so far it's going really well."

Is there any wrestler in particular that you love to compete against?

"Everyone around my weight class pushes me. We push each other every day. We have a lot of guys around my weight class that are good. I'll learn from their experience."

 

Brandon Weber

How is your freshman year going so far?

"It's going great. The biggest thing for me is I really like the guys on the team and the coaches. Day in and day out they're pushing us to be the best we can be."

Has any coach in particular been working with you?

"I've been working a lot with coach (Eric) Bugenhagen, especially with the lifts and our group drills in the morning. He's been pushing me and helping me transition from high school wrestling to college wrestling."

What is the biggest transition from high school to college wrestling?

"I'd say hand fighting and having heavy hands. When you wrestle in high school, you can kind of rest at certain points in the match, but when you get to college, guys are always beating on the head. I think that's one of the things that coach Morningstar stresses the most is being physical on the head so you can wear your opponent down."

How do you like Madison?

"I love the city. It's a ton of fun."

Badger Newcomers: Hietpas, Hochstaetter and Medbery

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The Wisconsin wrestling team is full of young talent, featuring eight true freshmen wrestlers.

UWBadgers.com sat down with three newcomers, Austin Hietpas, Brett Hochstaetter and Connor Medbery, to discuss what they have been working on in the wrestling room and how their freshmen years are going at UW.


Austin Hietpas

How have you liked Wisconsin so far and how is school going?

"The atmosphere is awesome and the coaches are awesome.

Is there any wrestler in particular that you have been practicing a lot with leading up to the Intra-Squad Scrimmage?

"I've been wrestling a lot with Matt Kelliher. He's been pushing me. He has a little different style than me so it's always challenging."

What have you taken away from practicing the last couple of weeks that you have added to your wrestling?

"I think college wrestling brings intensity. It's a step up from high school because the time commitment."


Brett Hochstaetter

How are your first couple weeks of practice going so far?

"It's been tough with really long days. You have to really devote yourself to being there every day."

What pushes you to keep going?

"The one-on-one competition keeps me going. You want to show that you're better than the other person. It shows how good of a wrestler you are."

What have you learned from the coaches this year that you will apply to your wrestling going forward?

"Mental toughness is a big thing. Getting that one extra rep in or making sure your technique is good even when you're tired - always pushing forward."

Is there any particular wrestler that is helping you perform at a higher level?

"When I wrestle with Ben Jordan he usually beats me up pretty good but I learn a lot from him."

How are you enjoying your first year at UW?

"It's a great atmosphere and a really good college town. Everything is focused on Badger pride and classes are good too."

 

Connor Medbery

How are you liking your freshman year at Wisconsin?

"I love it. It's a great town and great place to be. I'm really enjoying wrestling and everything about it. I like it a lot."

How has wrestling added to your college experience?

"There are definitely a lot of resources available to you. Being able to study at the Fetzer Center and everything else at your disposal has really added to my college experience."

Is there anyone in particular in the wrestling room that is pushing you to the next level?

"Coaches (Eric) Bugenhagen and (Trevor) Brandvold are really helping me move forward in my wrestling."

What have you taken away from Wisconsin wrestling that you are going to add to your game that you didn't have before?

"I think some of the hand fighting stuff that I've picked up. Also being aggressive and pushing the pace every time is going to help my wrestling a lot.

How has the transition been from Colorado to Wisconsin?

"All the guys are really great so it's been an easy transition."

Jordan and Schmitt look ahead

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The Wisconsin wrestling team looks extremely young on paper this season, but is led by two very experienced redshirt juniors, Ben Jordan and Cole Schmitt. Both wrestlers qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships and posted their best records to date last season.

UWBadgers.com sat down with the two wrestlers to discuss what they have been working on in the offseason and what fans should expect to see out of Wisconsin's wrestling squad this year.

 

Ben Jordan

How are you going to step up this season and make an impact?

"I'm just going to do my best to lead the team. I know we had some coaching changes last year and we have a lot of young guys, so I'm going to do my part and lead by example. I'm really confident in everyone on our team."

How do you feel about wrestling at 165 lbs. this season?

"I think it's the right weight for me and I think it's probably where I should have been for my whole career. There were some things that prevented me from that. I'm looking forward to it. I have one more chance at it. It's now or never so I have to get it done."

Do you expect anyone in particular to step up this year?

"We have some sophomores who are looking to break into the line-up for the first time. It can be very intimidating coming in and starting in the Big Ten, but those guys need to focus on wrestling. They just need to go out there and give everything they have for seven minutes."

What have you been working on in the offseason to prepare for this season?

"I worked on getting back to my style of wrestling. I drifted away from a couple of years so I need to get back on the attack, always push the pace and the same things that worked in high school are going to work here."

What would a successful year look like to you?

"I want nothing less than All-American. I'm going for first in the country obviously."

 

Cole Schmitt

What did you learn from the NCAA Championship last season that you are going to apply this season?

"I need to keep wrestling every match. My head really wasn't in that second match. I think after my appendix surgery, my head just wasn't in it. For whatever reason, I was afraid to go out there and wrestle. I think I was afraid to get hurt."

What did you learn from your injury last year?

"I look at Andrew (Howe) and how he can back from his injury. He came back and it seemed like his wrestling never suffered. I came back and just didn't have the right mindset and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to."

What will be the most notable difference in your wrestling this season?

"Strength is a big one. With (Eric) Bugenhagen's lifts this summer, our whole team is a lot stronger. I think people will notice my strength is a lot better."

Meet the mom of Wisconsin wrestling

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BY JUSTIN MOZER
UW Athletic Communications

Coaches often receive all of the credit for a successful athletic program, but no one on the Wisconsin wrestling staff would deny that the mom of Wisconsin wrestling, Sandy Berndt, is a huge part of its success.

Now in her 14th year, UWBadgers.com sat down with Berndt to discuss the 2011-12 season and what she loves most about Wisconsin wrestling.

What are you looking forward to this season?
"I am absolutely looking forward to working with Ryan (Morningstar) and Kyle (Ruschell) because the energy level is so great this year. They're just a lot of fun to work with. They are both young and have a lot to learn, but they're willing to learn and haven taken on any job I have thrown their way so far. We have a really great rapport between all of us. It's going to be a fun year."

How has your relationship developed with Ruschell and Trevor Brandvold from being former wrestlers to now co-workers of yours?
"I still have to whip them into shape every now and then, but I think the transition has been pretty good. They respect me enough as the older woman in the office that we get along just fin."

What are your everyday duties as the mom of Wisconsin wrestling?

"Everyday duties change every day. That's the fun part of this job. I don't think I've had two days alike since I've been here. Anything from taking care of something a student might need academically, or the NCAA clearinghouse, or the coaches getting trapped at a car rental because they don't have their corporate card with them. We have a full gambit of things that go on. Then you throw Bucky on top of that and I have enough to keep me busy."

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling?
"The energy and Barry. To know Barry, you can't help but love him because he is so excited about this sport and has such a passion for it. He moves a mile a minute with ideas, but he's just fun to be around. He keeps you young. If you can't keep up with him, you better get out of the way."

Meet the new Badger wrestling staff

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The 2011 Wisconsin wrestling team features several fresh faces with seven newcomers on its squad. Along with the incoming freshman, head coach Barry Davis' staff features three new assistant coaches, Ryan Morningstar, Kyle Ruschell and Trevor Brandvold.

UWBadgers.com sat down with these new coaches to get a better idea about what they expect from the team and what exactly they bring to the table.

Ryan Morningstar

How do you like the switch to Wisconsin?

"I like it a lot. It's a good fit for me. We have a good group of guys and a good staff. I'm working hard to win some national championships."

What do you bring to the program?
"I bring a hard work ethic and my experience on three national championship teams means I know what it takes to win. I just want to pass that on to these guys. I'm on my own now and I couldn't be in a better place."

What are your everyday duties as assistant coach?
"Right now, I am doing a lot of recruiting. I've been visiting and talking with guys. It's just getting going now as far as our season goes. We start our first practice next week and I'm excited for that."

What would you like to accomplish this year as a coach and what would you like to see the team accomplish?
"I think they are one in the same. If the team does well, I do well. My goals are that they reach their goals. I just want to help the team be the best they can be."
 

Kyle Ruschell

What do you hope to get out of this season?
"I think we really have to work with our younger guys and have them step up. I know their goal is to be All-Americans and national champions, but my own goal is to do everything I can to make that happen."

What is your primary role as the assistant coach?
"We separated the guys individually with different coaches. I'll take what I know about each guy and help them develop at each position. The big thing for our guys right now is bottom. I'm working primarily with 141, 149 and 157 lbs."

How is recruiting going?
"We've been doing just a little bit so far. I think we're going to go see a couple more guys soon. It's fun. I remember when I got recruited here and I just try to take what I learned from that. It was a great experience and I want to make the experience just as good for those kids."

How is being a coach going to help you with your wrestling?
"I've already started to view things differently. From practices to even position-wise in wrestling. Instead of looking at a move and trying to duplicate it, I see why it works."

Trevor Brandvold

How has the year been going so far?
"The guys have been doing a really good job working out on their own and lifting with Eric Bugenhagen, which I think has been great. They are going to be really strong this year and that's exciting. We'll start up with some regional training site practices. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the mat with those guys."

How do you feel about being a coach and not on the mat competing for UW?
"It's going to be new and exciting. Last year was kind of a cool year as a transition because I was one of two seniors. I think the guys already looked up to me as a team captain, so I feel like I am almost in the same role now as a younger coach, and a guy they can approach with their problems on and off that mat. I'm really looking forward to being there for them in that way. I'm excited to take an extra step in the coaching realm."

What is your goal as a coach this year?
"My goal this year is to really focus on the bigger guys and to help them get better. I know what it takes to succeed at a high level at the upper weights so I'm looking forward to working with the bigger guys. Also, being there for the guys on and off the mat is important to me. I also thing I bring an intensity and some unique techniques."
ON WISCONSIN