UW Health Sports Medicine 

Medbery and Kelliher discuss success

ON WISCONSIN <b>Freshman Matthew Kelliher won every match in his first open tournament as a Badger by fall.</b>
Freshman Matthew Kelliher won every match in his first open tournament as a Badger by fall.

Dec. 20, 2011

MADISON, Wis.--The Wisconsin wrestling team features many talented young wrestlers who are dominating the open tournament circuit-- none better than Connor Medbery (Hwt.) and Matthew Kelliher (133 lbs.). UWBadgers.com sat down with both freshmen to discuss how the season is going and what they are looking forward to throughout the rest of the year.

Connor Medbery

What do you like about open tournaments?
“I really like the experience that they give you and, at some of them, you can see the varsity guys too. So it’s the whole experience and just kind of getting familiar with college wrestling. It’s to your advantage to be able to do that and still have that redshirt year.”

What is it about Wisconsin wrestling that has enabled you to win all of these tournaments?
“I think our workouts, the intensity in the room and just the tough practices we go through have really helped our conditioning. And then the technique and the little things that coaches pay attention to that help us win the close matches and just continue to get better.”

What is the biggest difference between high school and college wrestling?
“I would definitely say it’s the hand fighting and the pace. It’s a lot higher pace than high school wrestling. Obviously, everyone is tough in college so there are no easy matches. You just have to be ready for all of them.”

What was it like facing and defeating defending Big Ten champion Blake Rasing?
“It was definitely a good match for experience. I had this mindset going into that match that I had nothing to lose. I just went out there and wrestled my match and was able to get the win. That’s a testament to what is going on here and everyone is moving forward.”

What do you still need to improve on?
“I think the biggest thing I need to work on is getting to my shots, standing in good position and just making sure I can finish. On my feet is where I think I have a god advantage and that’s where I need to be my toughest because I can typically get away on bottom.”

What is it like having Brandon Weber and Brock Horwath often competing in the same bracket as you?
“It’s kind of funny to wrestle them in tournaments because I wrestle with them every day in the room. It’s also nice to see other guys you know. It’s fun to hang out with the guys and watch each other compete and improve.”

How do you feel about competing at the Midlands Championships?
“I’m kind of nervous, but I still have the attitude of nothing to lose right now. Obviously, I want to go out there and compete. I know when Matt and I found out we were really excited. It’s a cool environment to be around.”

Matthew Kelliher

What is different about open tournaments than what you wrestled in in high school?
“I think it’s kind of a good gauge to see where you are at. You get to wrestle other guys who are usually in the same position as you, a lot of redshirt guys who are trying to make the lineup at whatever school they are at. So you kind of get to see where you are in relation to them and you know you might see them throughout other tournaments in later years.”

Have the open tournaments highlighted any strengths of yours that you did not know you had?
“I could always wrestle well on my feet, but getting on top was where I scored most of my points and I was sort of curious to see how that would play out in college. It’s still been going well. We have been working on a lot of good stuff, so it’s just getting better.”

Who shows up and supports you at open tournaments?
“A lot of times it’s really cool to have your teammates in the corner coaching you. A lot of times they’ll be the ones who wrestle with you or see you every single day so they have a lot to see and they often know what’s best.”

What advice has Tom given you about wrestling at 133 lbs.?
“He’s been wrestling with me and watched me wrestle my entire life. We have similar styles too, so things that work for him, work for me. One of the best ways for him to give me advice is when he wrestles with me. Sometimes it is weird to wrestle with your brother every day at practice, but it definitely helps a lot. I like the experience and that we get to share that together.”

How do you feel about competing at the Midlands Championships?
“It’s a really good opportunity and not many people get to do it so it will be fun to get that experience that I can use in the following years.”

Wrestling Post Season
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