Dec. 7, 2011
MADISON, Wis.—After finishing in 20th place at the 2011 Cliff Keen Invitational, the Wisconsin wrestling team prepares for its first Big Ten conference dual of the season against No. 8 Michigan on Sunday. UWBadgers.com sat down with head coach Barry Davis to reflect on the invite and look ahead to UW’s dual in Ann Arbor, Mich.
What did you see out of the team at the Cliff Keen Invitational?
“Our guys wrestled with a lot of intensity. I think they wrestled well, we just made some technical mistakes in some key matches and it cost us. I think as a group, we are getting better. We’re building. Our guys are just making some mistakes at key moments when we need a takedown and we’re not quite finishing or getting to the leg like we need to. There are some bright spots, but we need to just keep working skill-wise and I think we will be okay.”
Do you think your wrestlers got the national exposure that you hoped they would in Vegas?
“Tom Kelliher, Timmy McCall and Frank Cousins all had a chance to place. They lost the round before placing on Saturday morning, but I think they realize when you come out; you have to battle right away. We didn’t win the battle in the first minute and it hurt them a little bit. When you wrestle against that level of competition, you need to be ready from the get-go. We had some good wins, but still some wins where we could have capitalized and we didn’t.”
Which wrestler did not finish as well as you expected but still impressed you?
“Shawn Perry is wrestling great. He’s doing a really good job. He just got caught in some situations where we had a chance to finish and we didn’t quite get it done when we needed to, and it cost him. There is no need to put his head down. He’s working hard and doing all the right things. Next time, he will score in those situations.”
What do you expect out of your first Big Ten conference dual of the season against Michigan?
“They’re tough and they did very well in Vegas. We met them head-on in a couple of matches. A couple of those where we met and loss, hopefully we’ll get those turned around. If we can do that, it will be a great dual meet. There are a couple of great matchups. Cole Schmitt has a really good matchup at 149. Frank Cousins lost to a guy in that competition in Vegas, and maybe has a chance to revenge that. There will be some big matches in our first Big Ten dual. In order to do well in that competition, we need to capitalize on some situations that we did not this past weekend.”