College wrestling schedules can be full of oddities and Thursday’s dual between Wisconsin and Kent State is an example of one.
The Badgers host the Golden Flashes (2-3) in the first dual of the season at the UW Field House. While the matchup is Wisconsin’s home opener, it’s also the final dual of first semester.
UW stacked up a 6-1 dual meet record away from Madison to begin the season. The Badgers are currently No. 4 in the nation in the FloWrestling team rankings.
Wisconsin head coach Chris Bono said his team is ready to compete in more familiar surroundings.
“They’re ready to be home. More than anything, we’re ready to be home. Ready to wrestle in front of our crowd,” said Bono during his weekly press conference. “We’ve challenged them. We’ve wrestled coast-to-coast in the last month and a half. We’re excited to be home and, again, a tough challenge Thursday night. But our guys are excited. It’s the end of the semester for us and we want to end this thing on a good note.”
While the first half of the school year is winding down, the lineup battles are heating up.
“I’ve got an idea. But two or three weight classes, we’re still really looking for somebody to take control,” Bono said. “We brought a couple guys out of redshirt last week and they’re battling.”
“97 is a battle. 57, I’ve got four guys that I need someone to step up and take the job. At 174, we’ve got two guys … they’ve had their chances. We need to find somebody in the next couple of weeks.”
Freshman Pete Christensen was pulled out of redshirt two weeks ago in hopes of giving UW some options at 197 pounds, a weight they have recorded just two dual meet wins at in the last two seasons. Wisconsin is currently 0-7 in duals at that weight this year.
However, Christensen finished behind teammate and starter Taylor Watkins at the Badgers’ most recent competition: the SIU-Edwardsville Cougar Clash.
Garrett Model, Wisconsin’s starter at 157 pounds at the onset of the season, finished sixth and behind two of his teammates at the Cougar Clash. He fell to both Drew Scharenbrock and Devin Bahr who placed fourth and fifth at the event, respectively.
174 appears to be a two-horse race between Wisconsin natives and redshirt freshmen Tyler Dow and Jared Krattiger.
Dow is 5-5 on the year, including a 3-2 mark in duals. Three of his wins have come up at 184.
Krattiger is 4-5 overall and 1-3 in duals. All of his matches have come at 174.
The duo is a combined 0-6 against ranked foes.
“We’ve put some guys out there first semester that, we’ve got some guys in the room that might be able to give them a run for their money,” said Bono. “So we’re looking for some guys to step up Thursday night and hopefully solidify the lineup. I’m not sure this is the lineup that will be at the Big Ten Tournament. We’ll have to wait and see. I think Midlands in a couple of weeks will really determine who our ten guys will be representing us out at Rutgers out at the Big Ten Tournament.”
Bono added that he expects the lineup to be 90-95 percent set after Midlands.
Wick to compete at Senior Nationals
Wisconsin junior standout Evan Wick is registered to compete at Senior Freestyle Nationals this weekend in Forth Worth, Texas.
The move is not unexpected as Bono alluded to the fact Wick would attempt to qualify for a place in the Olympic Team Trials earlier this year.
Presumably, this means Wick will not be in action when the Badgers host Kent State in UW’s home opener Thursday night in Madison.
Pre-seeds were released today for this weekend’s event. Wick is seeded No. 10 at 74 kilograms.
Former Badger Regional Training Center athlete and UW-Oshkosh alum Nazar Kulchytskyy (Titan Mercury WC) is the top-seed at 74 kilos.
The top-five finishers at each weight automatically qualify for Olympic Team Trials in April.
Wick’s teammate, Seth Gross, has already qualified for Olympic Team Trials by virtue of winning the Bill Farrell International in New York last month.
Badgers hold steady in FloRankings
UW maintained its No. 4 position in the FloWrestling team rankings this week.
All five of the Badgers who appeared in last week’s individual rankings maintained their positions in their respective weight classes.