Sunday’s 32-3 loss at the hands of the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes taught Wisconsin head coach Chris Bono a few things about his squad handles difficult circumstances within their matches.
“We found out a lot about each individual,” Bono said at his weekly press conference. “We’re not far off. A lot of those matches could have gone the other way. Give Iowa the credit. Every tough situation, when it came down to a tough situation, we lost every single one of them. We won one tough situation and that was in overtime at 184.”
Lack of aggression was a point of frustration for Bono. The Hawkeyes scored first in nine of ten bouts and won the team takedown battle 22-3.
“We didn’t go out and try to take it. We didn’t wrestle the way we we practiced. We didn’t wrestle the way we coach the guys. So that’s on us as staff,” Bono said. “We didn’t emphasize enough to go out there and take the crowd out of it, get the first takedown and make them wrestle our style.”
Only Tristan Moran and Johnny Sebastian held a lead at any point in their individual matches. The duo led for a combined 45 seconds.
“We wrestled their style,” said Bono. “And, obviously in our sport, if you can impose your will and impose your style, you’re probably going to win the match.”
Six of Wisconsin’s nine losses came by three points or less. As Bono sees it, flipping the outcomes of those close matches requires a mindset shift.
“It’s a mentality,” said Bono. “We have to make sure our guys understand from the second that whistle blows to the second that whistle ends, you’ve got to wrestle the way you want to wrestle. You can’t let somebody slow you down. You can’t let somebody impose their will. I find it very hard to win a wrestling match when you let that other guy impose their will.”
Bono mentioned the team was upbeat on the bus ride home and ready to begin preparation for Saturday’s SIU-Edwardsville Cougar Clash.
“We wrestled a really, really good team. It was a great test for us,” Bono said. “I’m glad it happened in December. We’ve put it behind us and we’ve moved on.”
Sebastian collects first conference win for UW
Redshirt senior Johnny Sebastian (184 pounds) notched his first Big Ten win in a Wisconsin singlet Sunday night as he defeated Iowa’s Cash Wilcke 7-5 in SV-2.
Wilcke struck first with a takedown in the opening period. Sebastian was able to escape to cut the deficit to one after the first period.
With a quick escape in the second, Sebastian tied the match a 2 apiece. That score held until the third period.
That’s when Wiclke regained the lead with an escape of his own.
With roughly 1:30 remaining in the match, Sebastian scored on a re-attack that followed an errant shot by Wilcke to grab a 4-3 lead.
However, Wilcke managed to escape and force a sudden victory period with the score knotted at 4.
After a scoreless SV-1, each wrestler managed to escape from the bottom position in their respective tiebreaker periods. That made it 5-5 heading into the second sudden victory frame.
Sebastian scored an early takedown to secure the win, his third of the season and first in conference competition.
“I think it was big for Johnny,” Bono said. “Johnny has been hurt a lot. He wrestled the whole last year being very, very injured. His confidence level wasn’t real high because he was wrestling with, basically, one arm. Now he’s all healed up and looks good.”
Sebastian, a transfer from Northwestern, boasts a career record of 52-29. He is a two-time NCAA qualifier.
Wilcke, who has recently found himself in a battle for a starting spot in the Hawkeyes’ lineup, was ranked as high as No. 11 just a couple weeks ago. He has advanced as far as the Round of 12 at the NCAA tournament.
“For Johnny to beat a quality kid like that and to come out of the match feeling good about himself is very, very important,” said Bono.
With the win, Sebastian improved to 3-1 on the season for UW. He is now ranked No. 21 in the nation at 184 according to the latest FloWrestling rankings.
Six Badgers in latest Flo rankings
Six UW wrestler’s appeared in this week’s edition of the FloWrestling national rankings.
Seth Gross continues to earn the distinction as the highest-ranked Badgers wrestler. Though he dropped at position to No. 2 at 133 pounds following his loss to new-No. 1 Austin DeSanto of Iowa.
Gross also slipped from first to seventh in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Evan Wick (165) hold steady at No. 3 while Moran maintains his No. 10 slot at 141.
Trent Hillger maintained his No. 3 spot at heavyweight.
Cole Martin is up a spot to No. 14 at 149.
The aforementioned Sebastian makes his debut in the 184-pound national rankings, coming in at No. 21.
As a team, the Badgers slipped to No. 9 nationally.