Feb. 8, 2012
MADISON, Wis.-- With the Big Ten Conference dual season complete, the Wisconsin wrestling team (5-10, 0-8 Big Ten) travels to Ames, Iowa, on Sunday, Feb. 12 to compete in the NWCA National Duals Midwest Regional.
The Badgers compete in one of four national duals competitions occurring this weekend. The winner of each regional will compete the following weekend against a winning team from another regional.
UW’s regional features several ranked teams including No. 5 Iowa, No. 16 Oregon State and No. 24 Virginia Tech. Iowa State and Northern Iowa will also be competing. Wisconsin is the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 seed Iowa State in the first round.
Matches will take place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Last time out
UW lost its final two matches of the Big Ten dual season to No. 8 Illinois and No. 5 Iowa.
The Illini defeated the Badgers, 38-3, winning every match except at 165 lbs. where No. 13 senior Ben Jordan upset No. 9 Conrad Polz. Illinois scored three tech falls, two major decisions, three decisions, and one victory by forfeit.
Redshirt sophomore Jackson Hein won Wisconsin’s only bout against the Hawkeyes in a 39-3 loss. The Hawkeyes won six matches by extra points.
Jordan leading the way
Senior Ben Jordan holds the team's best record with a 21-7 record overall and 9-4 dual record. Jordan's only dual losses of the season came against Hofstra's No. 5 Paul Gillespie, Northwestern's Pierce Harger, Nebraska's No. 6 Robert Kokesh and Iowa’s No. 8 Mike Evans.
Jordan against ranked opponents
After losing three of his first four matches against ranked opponents, Jordan has since posted a 9-3 record against ranked wrestlers. Six of those wins came against wrestlers with a higher rank at the time, four of which occurred at the 2011 Midlands Championships.
Of the 14 different wrestlers that have started for UW this season, seven of them wrestled for their first time as a Badger, including freshmen Austin Hietpas (125/133 lbs.) and Frank Baer (149 lbs.), redshirt freshmen Thomas Glenn (141 lbs.), Alex Yde (165 lbs.), Frank Cousins (174 lbs.) and Timmy McCall (184 lbs.), and redshirt sophomore Scott Liegel (174 lbs.).
Jordan takes third at Midlands
The Wisconsin wrestling team took 18th place with 40 points at the 49th annual Midlands Championships. Three Badgers placed in the tournament, including senior Ben Jordan (third place) at 165 lbs., redshirt junior Cole Schmitt (seventh place) at 149 lbs., and unattached freshman Connor Medbery (seventh place) at heavyweight. Jordan claimed the third place title at 165 lbs. after defeating four-straight opponents on the final day of competition.
Top recruiting class
The Wisconsin wrestling team signed nine new wrestlers for the class of 2012, marking one of the program's top recruiting classes in UW wrestling history.
The class is composed of seven total ranked wrestlers, including three No. 1-ranked wrestlers, a No. 7, a No. 8, a No. 11 and a No. 20. Davis also recruited multiple wrestlers from three different high schools for this year's class.
2011-12 season outlook
The Badgers returns 10 letterwinners and welcome nine newcomers to its squad in 2011. Head coach Barry Davis returns for his 18th season at the helm of the Wisconsin wrestling program. Davis' staff features three new assistant coaches, Ryan Morningstar, Kyle Ruschell and Trevor Brandvold.
The Badgers return five starters from last year's squad, including NCAA qualifiers No. 16 Cole Schmitt (149 lbs.) and No. 17 Ben Jordan (165 lbs.).
Wisconsin will be without three of its 2011 All-America recipients, Tyler Graff (133 lbs.), Andrew Howe (165 lbs.) and Travis Rutt (184 lbs.), due to Olympic redshirt seasons, but returns two other 2011 NCAA qualifiers in redshirt juniors Cole Schmitt (149 lbs.) and Ben Jordan (165 lbs.).
UW faces a schedule that includes six ranked teams in the NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll, including top-ranked Penn State, No. 2-ranked Iowa and No. 4-ranked Minnesota. In total, the Badgers host five events at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis., including new Big Ten rival Nebraska on Jan. 29.
After competing in the Badger Duals in early November, the team will travel to Princeton, N.J. on Nov. 18 for its first dual meet against Princeton and Rider. Wisconsin then concludes the weekend on Nov. 20 in Long Island, N.Y., against Hofstra.
The Badgers open the month of December in Las Vegas at the Cliff Keen Invite, an event where in 2010 Howe claimed an individual title. The Badgers then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. for their first Big Ten Conference dual against No. 7 Michigan on Dec. 11.
Wisconsin hosts its first home dual against No. 19 Northwestern on Jan. 8, and then returns to the UW Field House on Jan. 15 to take on 2011 NCAA Division I champion Penn State after facing Northern Iowa on Jan. 13.
UW concludes regular Big Ten competition in Iowa City, Iowa, with a dual against Iowa on Feb. 5.
The Big Ten Championships are slated for March 3-4 in West Lafayette, Ind., and the 2012 NCAA Championships will take place March 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo.