UW Health Sports Medicine 

Six Badgers chasing Olympic dreams

ON WISCONSIN <b>Tyler Graff has been training at UW in preparation for the Olympic Team Trials.</b>
Tyler Graff has been training at UW in preparation for the Olympic Team Trials.

April 16, 2012

Olympic Team Trials

MADISON, Wis. -- Former and current members of the Wisconsin wrestling team and coaching staff will compete at the Olympic Team Trials on April 21-22 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. The Badgers competing at the trials include Jesse Thielke (55 kg), Tyler Graff (60 kg), Andrew Howe (74 kg), Ryan Morningstar (74 kg), Travis Rutt (84 kg) and Trevor Brandvold (96 kg).

Thielke and Rutt will compete in the Greco-Roman competition, while Graff, Howe, Morningstar and Brandvold will compete in the men's freestyle.

"I'm not sure many other universities can say they have that many guys competing," said Wisconsin wrestling head coach Barry Davis. "It shows that our program is moving in the right direction with the right athletes and coaches."

Thielke spent the last year training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center  and will attend Wisconsin in the fall as a freshman. Thielke is a three-time Junior World Team member and took fourth at the U.S. Open.

Graff, a two-time UW All-American at 133 lbs., qualified for the Olympic Team Trials by winning the 55 kg title at the Olympic Trials Qualifier in Las Vegas. Graff took an Olympic redshirt this season and has been nationally ranked in freestyle since high school.

Howe quailed for the Olympic Team Trials after placing second at the 2011 World Team Trials at 74 kg. Howe is a former Wisconsin national champion at 165 lbs. and earned his third All-America honors last season with a third place finish at the NCAA championships. Howe's past international experience includes a 2010 U.S. Open title and Junior World bronze medal.

Assistant coach Morningstar, a two-time All-American at 165 lbs. at Iowa, qualified for the trials by placing at the New York AC International.

Rutt also took an Olympic redshirt season and finally qualified for the trials at 84 kg by taking the title at the final Olympic Trials Qualifier in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Rutt took seventh place at 184 lbs. at last year's NCAA championships.

Volunteer assistant coach Brandvold also qualified at the Olympic Trials Qualifier in Las Vegas with a second place finish at 96 kg. Brandvold was a two-time All-American at 197 lbs. for UW and finished as high as fourth at the NCAA championships.

"I think wrestling in the Olympics means you've made it to the highest level," said Davis. "There is no better country than this country, and to represent your team, country and family all at one time is unbelievable."

There have been 10 Olympic wrestlers with ties to the University of Wisconsin. Included in that group are four former Badger wrestlers and six Olympians that served on the coaching staff at Wisconsin. Assistant coaches Ben Peterson, John Peterson and Dave Schultz have all taken home the Gold.

The trials will air on the NBC Sports Network on a next-day tape delay. Action from Saturday's competition will air the following day from 3-6 p.m. (CT), while Sunday's matches will be broadcast on Monday from 2-5 p.m. (CT).

Justin Mozer

UW Athletic Communications

Wrestling Post Season
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