(Originally appeared on wisconsin.talking10.com)
The Wisconsin wrestling team opened the season with its first official practice Tuesday.
This year’s UW squad features six returning NCAA qualifiers. However, the Badgers must replace four-time All-American Isaac Jordan (165 pounds) and Connor Medbery, who was a four-time NCAA qualifier, two-time All-American and 2017 national runner-up at heavyweight.
The Badgers begin competition at the Michigan State Open Nov. 5 in East Lansing, Michigan.
Here are a few tidbits from the weeks leading up to the season:
Seven Badgers ranked by Flo
Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin’s projected starting lineup earned recognition in Flowrestling.com’s preseason rankings.
Redshirt-senior Ricky Robertson was the highest ranked-Badger. He was tabbed the No.12 wrestler in the land at 184 pounds. The three-time NCAA qualifier was 27-16 last season while wrestling at 197 pounds.
Eli Stickley is ranked No.13 at 133 pounds to begin the year, while fellow redshirt-sophomore Hunter Ritter claims the No.17 spot at 197.
Stickley was 20-19 a season ago. Ritter posted a 20-15 mark and qualified for his first NCAA tournament.
Redshirt-freshman Evan Wick begins his first full season of competition ranked No.18 at 165 pounds. During his redshirt campaign, Wick compiled a 15-3 record while wrestling unattached. He led UW’s unattached wrestlers in takedowns (60) and four-nearfall (18) a year ago.
Cole Martin (141), a redshirt-sophomore, and redshirt-senior Andrew Crone (157) begin the year at No.19 in their respective weight classes. Crone ended last year ranked No.19 at 149 pounds.
Last season, Martin produced a 21-17 record that culminated in his first trip to the NCAAs.
Crone was a career-best 29-13 a year ago and also made his debut at the NCAA tournament.
Senior and two-time NCAA qualifier Johnny Jimenez is ranked No.20 at 125 pounds. He was 16-12 last season and qualified for his second straight national tournament.
Though seven of their 10 anticipated starters are ranked, Wisconsin was not included in Flo’s preseason team rankings. While that may seem unusual on the surface, consider that the team rankings are a combination of total ranked wrestlers along with projected NCAA tournament results.
Flo currently projects the Badgers will finish tied for 31st at the NCAA Tournament with six points. That’s 8.5 points behind the projected total of No.20 Oregon State, the final team in the preseason rankings.
Robertson fourth at U-23 World Team Trials
Robertson represented the Badger Regional Training Center at last weekend’s U-23 World Team Trials in Rochester, Minnesota.
He placed fourth at 85 kilograms in Sunday’s freestyle competition, recording three wins against two losses.
In the opening round, Robertson won by decision over Austin Chaon (NMU-OTS) by a score of 4-1, 4-1. He followed that by downing Matt Reed (Tiger Wrestling Club) 4-2 in the quarters.
The semifinals marked the end of Robertson’s title run as he fell to Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm), 8-0. However, Robertson bounced back with a 10-0 tech fall over Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines) in the consolation semis.
Ultimately Robertson fell to Reed, his quarterfinal opponent, in the third-place match 6-5.
Robertson also competed in Sunday’s freestyle tournament at 86 kilos. He posted a 1-2 record on the day. His lone win came over Wyatt Koelling (Missouri Wrestling RTC) in the opening round, a technical fall by the count of 17-6.
Jordan becomes assistant at OK State
Last month, Oklahoma State head coach John Smith announced former UW standout Isaac Jordan joined the Cowboys’ staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
In addition to being a four-time All-American and 2016 national runner-up, Jordan compiled a 113-18 record during his time in Madison and captured a pair of Big Ten championships.
Badgers consider hosting high school dual
Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis recently mentioned the possibility of the Badgers hosting a high school dual meet before the home dual against Maryland Dec. 7.
“We are still hammering out some details and working with compliance to make sure we meet all NCAA rules, but watch for information on this in the weeks to come,” Davis said in a recent ‘Tuesdays with Barry’ newsletter. “We are excited about the prospect of this event.”