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Badgers hand out team awards at 2012-13 team banquet

ON WISCONSIN <b>All-American Tyler Graff was named the Badgers' 2012-13 Team MVP.</b>
All-American Tyler Graff was named the Badgers' 2012-13 Team MVP.

April 8, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin wrestling team held its annual end of the year team banquet Saturday night at Heritage Hall inside Camp Randall Stadium. Head coach Barry Davis, assistant coaches Trevor Brandvold and Kyle Ruschell, and volunteer assistant coach Eric Bugenhagen handed out letters as well as four individual awards.

Former Wisconsin wrestlers Dr. Dave Goodspeed emceed the event.

The first award presented was the George Martin Scholarship Award, which went to Scott Liegel. Liegel found success both on the mat and in the classroom this semester. He earned his second-straight Big Ten All-Academic honor and recorded a 3.8 cumulative GPA majoring in kinesiology. Liegel plans on attending medical school after completing his degree.

For the second-straight season, the team’s Most Dedicated Award was given to Jackson Hein. Brandvold cited Hein’s hard work and willingness to learn in giving the award, saying that Hein is someone the younger members of the team should emulate in the wrestling room. Hein’s dedication paid off this season with his first individual ranking of his career at 197 lbs., and his first trip to the NCAA championships. Hein improved across the board in 2012-13, improving his win total by 11, his Big Ten win total by seven and his dual meet wins by two compared to last season.

Connor Medbery was the winner of the Most Improved Award in recognition of his stellar redshirt freshman campaign. Medbery burst onto the collegiate wrestling scene as a freshman heavyweight, arguably the toughest weight class in the country. For most of the season he was the only nationally ranked frosh heavyweight, spending the entire year in the Top-20, and finished the year ranked No. 10 in the country. Medbery notched seven wins over ranked opponents and was recognized by the Big Ten with the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award.

In no surprise, the team’s Most Valuable Player Award was given to Tyler Graff. Davis said it was not only Graff on mat success that earned him the award, but the example he set off of it with his leadership throughout the season. Graff returned from an Olympic redshirt with a remarkable season, culminating in a third-place finish at the NCAA championships. The All-America honor was the third of Graff’s three-year career, placing him in elite company as the ninth three-time All-American in Wisconsin history. His season also included third-place finishes at the Big Ten championships, Midlands Championships and Cliff Keen Invite. Graff led the Badgers this season in overall wins (33), dual wins (13), dual points (56), Big Ten wins (7), technical falls (4) and major decisions (8).

The final award of the night was a new one for this season, the Team Leadership Award, which was given to senior Brad Nardick. Nardick led the way for the Badgers in the community this season and is a big reason why the wrestling team boasted one of its highest community service hour totals ever this year. Nardick led all UW student-athletes in service hours, volunteering his time at veteran’s hospitals, children’s hospitals, youth wrestling clubs and local schools.


Ryan Evans
UW Athletic Communications

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