Feb. 27, 2012
MADISON, Wis.-- After finishing the 2011-12 regular season with a 5-12 dual record and 0-8 record in Big Ten Conference competition, the Wisconsin wrestling team travels to West Lafayette, Ind. on March 3-4 to compete in the Big Ten Conference Championships.
Big Ten Championships
The Big Ten features nine teams ranked in the Top 25, including four of the Top five teams in the country. Minnesota leads the pack as the No. 1-ranked school after winning the NWCA National Duals, followed by No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Illinois.
Freshman Austin Hietpas (0-11, 0-8 Big Ten) will represent the Badgers at 125 lbs. and faces a field of six ranked wrestlers, including Iowa’s No.1 Matt McDonough, Minnesota’s No. 2 Zach Sanders and Illinois’ No. 6 Jesse Delgado. Six wrestlers at 125 lbs. qualify for the NCAA championships.
Junior Shane McQuade (0-10, 0-7 Big Ten) will start for Wisconsin at 133 lbs. and takes on a field of seven ranked wrestlers, including Ohio State’s No. 2 Logan Stieber, Iowa’s No. 3 Tony Ramos and Illinois’ No. 4 B.J. Futrell. Seven wrestlers will automatically qualify for the NCAAs at 133 lbs.
Redshirt freshman Thomas Glenn (0-18, 0-8 Big Ten) represents UW at 141 lbs. and faces a field of five ranked wrestlers, including Michigan’s No. 1 Kellen Russell, Ohio State’s No. 4 Hunter Stieber and Iowa’s No. 5 Montell Marion. Five wrestlers at 141 lbs. will qualify for the NCAA championships.
Freshman Frank Baer (0-3, 0-1 Big Ten) will compete for the Badgers at 149 lbs. His weight class features sevens ranked wrestlers, including Penn State’s No. 1 Frank Molinaro, Michigan’s No. 7 Eric Grajales and Minnesota’s No. 9 Dylan Ness. Nine wrestlers will automatically qualify for the NCAAs at 149 lbs.
Redshirt sophomore Shawn Perry (9-14, 2-6 Big Ten) will make his second trip to the Big Ten championships at 157 lbs. Perry’s weight class features six ranked wrestlers, including Northwestern’s No. 2 Jason Welch, Penn State’s No. 5 Dylan Alton and Nebraska’s No. 8 James Green. Six wrestlers at 157 lbs. will qualify for the NCAA championships.
No. 11 senior Ben Jordan (22-8, 3-3 Big Ten) will represent the Badgers at 165 lbs. and faces a field with six other ranked wrestlers, including Penn State’s No. 1 David Taylor, Iowa’s No. 6 Mike Evans and Nebraka’s No. 7 Robert Kokesh. Eight wrestlers will automatically qualify for the NCAAs at 165 lbs. Jordan is the No. 4 seed.
Redshirt freshman Frank Cousins (10-13, 0-6 Big Ten) will start for Wisconsin at 174 lbs. and takes on nine ranked wrestlers in his weight class, including Penn State’s No. 2 Ed Ruth, Iowa’s No. 5 Ethen Lofthouse and Minnesota’s No. 6 Logan Storley. Nine wrestlers at 174 lbs. will qualify for the NCAA championships.
Redshirt Freshman Timmy McCall (8-15, 1-7 Big Ten) represents UW at 184 lbs. and faces six ranked wrestlers, including Penn State’s No. 2 Quentin Wright, Minnesota’s No. 6 Kevin Steinhaus and Nebraska’s No. 7 Josh Ihnen. Seven wrestlers will automatically qualify for the NCAAs from the 184 lbs. weight class.
Redshirt sophomore Jackson Hein (10-10, 1-7 Big Ten) will wrestle for the Badgers at 197 lbs. Hein’s weight class features five ranked wrestlers, including Indiana’s No. 3 Matt Powless and Minnesota’s No. 7 Sonny Yohn. Seven wrestlers from the 197 lbs. weight class will automatically qualify for the NCAA championships.
Redshirt sophomore Cole Tobin (7-13, 0-8) represents Wisconsin at heavyweight and takes on a field of six ranked wrestlers, including Minnesota’s No. 3 Tony Nelson, Penn State’s No. 5 Cameron Wade and Nebraska’s No. 8 Tucker Lane. 10 wrestlers will automatically qualify for the NCAAs at heavyweight.
Last time out
Wisconsin completed the 2011-12 dual season with two dual losses against Iowa State and Northern Iowa at the NWCA National Duals Midwest Regional in Ames, Iowa on Feb. 12. ISU defeated UW, 36-3, in its first dual of the afternoon, followed by a 30-15 loss to Northern Iowa.
The Badgers won a total of five matches at the National Duals, while redshirt sophomore Jackson Hein was the only badger to win both of his bouts.
Jordan leading the way
Senior Ben Jordan holds the team's best record with a 22-8 record overall and 10-5 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, Iowa’s No. 8 Mike Evans, and Iowa State’s No. 4 Andrew Sorenson.
Jordan against ranked opponents
After losing three of his first four matches against ranked opponents, Jordan has since posted an 8-4 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.
Hein finishes strong
Redshirt sophomore Jackson Hein ended the 2011-12 regular season on a positive note, winning his final three dual matches of the year. Hein won all three bouts by decisions over Iowa’s Tomas Lira, Iowa State’s Trevor Voelker and Northern Iowa’s Taylor Kettman.
Of the 14 different wrestlers that have started for UW this season, seven wrestled for the first time as a Badger this season, 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.).