March 20, 2013
Match Notes & Season Stats
THE WEEK AHEAD
Three Badger wrestlers will compete at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships this Thursday through Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Ill.
Tyler Graff (133 lbs.), Jackson Hein (197 lbs.) and Connor Medbery (Hwt.) will represent the Badgers in Des Moines after automatically qualifying during the Big Ten championships.
Competition begins Thursday morning and concludes with the championship matches on Saturday night.
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast every session of the 2013 NCAA Championships, beginning Thursday at 11 a.m. on ESPN3. The championship matches will air live on ESPN Saturday night at 7 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wisconsin last competed Mar. 9-10 at the 2013 Big Ten Championships at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. The Badgers had four wrestlers place at the conference tournament and finished in tenth place as a team with 37.0 points.
Tyler Graff (133 lbs.) led the way for the Badgers, going 3-1 at the tournament to earn a thirdplace title. Tom Kelliher had a 1-3 record and finished eighth at 141 lbs., Jackson Hein was 3-2 in earning a seventh-place title at 197 lbs., and heavvyweight Connor Medbery went 2-2 in finishing fourth.
No. 3 Tyler Graff (RS Jr., 133 lbs.): Graff (Loveland, Colo.) is making his third trip to the NCAA championships, where he has a 9-4 all-time record, after earning All-America honors in 2010 and 2011 with a pair of fifth-place finishes.
Graff has been ranked in the top-five all season, and as high as third. He put together a 28-5 overall record, including a 11-2 Big Ten mark and was 9-3 wrestling nationally ranked opponents.
This season, Graff posted a pair of top-three finishes at national tournaments, placing third at 141 lbs., at the Cliff Keen Invite and at 133 lbs., at the Midlands Championships in December. Graff won a third-place title at the Big Ten championships with a 3-1 record, defeating Minnesota's Chris Dardanes twice, including in the third-place match, as well as Illinois' Daryl Thomas.
The redshirt junior is the No. 3 seed in the 133 lbs., bracket for the NCAA championships and will face the winner of the pigtail match between Maryland's Geoffrey Alexander and Cal Poly's Devon Lotito in the first round.
No. 16 Jackson Hein (RS Jr., 197 lbs.): Hein (Wausau, Wis.) is making his first trip to the NCAA championships after finishing seventh at the Big Ten championships.
Hein has a 20-10 overall record this year, including 8-5 against Big Ten competition. He was 3-8 against wrestlers ranked in the top-25.
This season, Hein was 6-4 in national tournaments and finished seventh at the Big Ten championships, defeating Purdue's Braden Atwood in the seventh-place match.
The redshirt junior earned the first national ranking of his career this season, breaking into the polls at No. 20 following his defeat of then-No. 18 ranked Max Huntley of Michigan on Jan. 13. Hein is currently the No. 18-ranked wrestler at 197 lbs., and has been ranked as high as No. 17.
Hein is unseeded for the NCAA championships and will face Missouri's No. 12-seeded Brent Hayes in the first round.
No. 11 Connor Medbery (RS Fr., Hwt.): Medbery (Loveland, Colo.) is making his first appearance at the NCAA championships after placing fourth at the Big Ten championships.
This season, Medbery went 24-6 in his first season of NCAA competition, including 9-3 against Big Ten competition and an impressive 11-4 against heavyweights ranked in the top-25.
Medbery has a pair of top-five finishes at national tournaments, placing fifth at the Cliff Keen Invite and third at the Midlands Championships in December.
He has been ranked in the top-20 all season at heavyweight, and is currently ranked No. 10, which is his highest individual ranking of the season.
The Loveland, Colo., native is the No. 7-seeded heavyweight for the NCAA championships and will face Virginia Tech's David Malone in the first round. Medbery and Malone have matched up once previously, with Medbery defeating the Hokie by decision, 3-2, at the Hokie Duals on Nov. 18.
WISCONSIN WRESTLING HISTORY AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Badgers have had 65 All-Americans and 102 All-America honors in program history. Wisconsin has also produced 18 individual national champions, the most recent of which came in 2010 when former Badger Andrew Howe won a national title at 165 lbs.
Tyler Graff is looking to become the ninth three-time All-American in Wisconsin history, joining Bob Kovnosky, Ron Paar, Andy Rein, John Giura, Jim Jordan, Matt Demaray, Eric Jetton and Andrew Howe. The Badgers have also had three four-time All-Americans: Lee Kemp, Matt Hanutke and Donny Pritzlaff.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS ON ESPN
The ESPN family of networks will air every session of the 2013 NCAA Championships. Session I and II on Thursday will be aired on ESPN3 at 11 a.m., and 6:30 p.m., respectively. Friday's session III will be split between ESPNU and ESPN3 beginning at 10 a.m., with that evening's semifinals airing on ESPNU at 6 p.m. Saturday's medal round will be on ESPNU at 10 a.m., and the championship matches will air on ESPN at 7 p.m.
WELCOME BACK GRAFF
The Badgers are getting a boost this season from the return of two-time All-American Tyler Graff. Graff took an Olympic redshirt last season in order to train in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
After beginning the year at 141 lbs., Graff returns to 133 lbs., the weight class where he is a two-time All-American (fifth place in both 2010 and 2011) and a two-time Midlands Championships winner (2009, 2010). He also took home second-place (2011) and fourth-place (2010) titles at the Big Ten championships in the weight class.
Jackson Hein (197 lbs.) has been one of the biggest surprises for the Badgers this season.Compared to last season, the Wausau, Wis., native increased his overall wins by 10, his dual wins by one and his wins against Big Ten competition by seven.
Hein earned the first ranking of his career this season, breaking it at No. 20 following his upset over Michigan's then-No. 18 Max Huntley on Jan. 13. Hein improved on that ranking, moving up to No. 17, on Jan. 18 after another upset win over Purdue's then-No. 17 Braden Atwood. Hein is currently ranked No. 20
FAB FROSH: Connor Medbery
The Big Ten Conference rewarded heavyweight Connor Medbery for his standout freshman season with the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Freshman of the Year award. Medbery is the fourth Badger rookie to win the award.
For much of this season, Medbery has been the only freshman heavyweight ranked in the nation's top-25. He is currently ranked No. 10.
WISCONSIN WRESTLING IN THE POLLS
After dropping a pair of duals to Northern Iowa and Kent State at NWCA National Duals on Feb. 17, Wisconsin dropped out of the top-25 of the Feb. 19 NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, falling from No. 18.
The Feb. 19 poll snapped the Badgers' run of nine-straight weeks being ranked in the Top-25. The Badgers received votes (16) in the Feb. 26 edition of the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, but remain unranked.
All three of Wisconsin's wrestlers at the NCAA championships are ranked at their respective wieght classes. Following the Big Ten championships, Tyler Graff remained at No. 3 at 133 lbs., Jackson Hein fell a spot from No. 17 to No. 18 at 197 lbs., and Medbery gained a spot, moving from No. 11 to No. 10 at heavyweight.