Badgers take dual finale with Central Michigan 19-17
No. 14 Central Michigan at No. 18 Wisconsin
Badgers close dual season with dramatic Senior Day win
Abigail Ruckdashel| Wisconsin Wrestling Online | Sunday, February 19, 2017
(Madison, WI) The No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers took down the No. 14 Central Michigan Chippewas 19-17 to close out the regular season inside the UW Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon.
In a dual that came down to the final bout, the Badgers won five out of ten matches, including three for bonus points. Led by Connor Medbery, Isaac Jordan and Andrew Crone Wisconsin sent the senior class out with a victory in front of the home crowd on their final day wearing the Cardinal and White.
“It was great to be in front of our fans one last time,” Senior heavyweight Connor Medbery said. “It’s an honor to be out in front of these fans and to wear the W on my chest one last one.”
Johnny Jimenez (Jr) started the day with a bang at 125 lb, as he gave the crowd something to cheer about during his 2-0 overtime decision. Jimenez defeated Brent Fleetwood (Jr) with a takedown early in the first overtime, scoring the only points of the match. Both wrestlers rode the other out in the second and third periods of regulation. The victory brought the crowd to their feet, put the Badgers on the board first and set the tone for the day.
Andrew Crone (R Jr) was the next to put points on the board for Wisconsin. In a near scramble dominated match Crone used one near side cradle and a body lock to a half nelson tilt on the way to racking up 14 points and a major decision at 149 lb. Crone locked up a cradle and took Oliver to his back late in the third period to pick up the 14-5 bonus point victory, and give the Badgers a 7-6 lead.
Senior Isaac Jordan led the Badgers out of intermission with a charge at 165 lb. The third ranked All American took down Logan Parks (R Fr) eight times securing the second bonus point win, a 19-6 major decision. This brought the score to 11-9, giving the lead back to Wisconsin.
“Senior day is special obviously,” Senior 165 lb Isaac Jordan said. “Central Michigan is a great team. It was a good way for us to end the (dual) season.”
The Badgers had to wait until 197 lb. for another victory as No. 12 Ricky Robertson (R Jr) took on No.16 Austin Severn (Sr) in a bout the Chippewas needed to win to secure the dual. The match was a barn burner, with neither wrestler finding an offensive rhythm. However, Robertson kept the dual within the Badgers reach, holding off a third period flurry of shots by Severn to protect the 1-0 decision. With a single match to go, the Chippewas held a 17-14 lead.
Down by three, it was up to No. 2 Connor Medbery to bring it home for Wisconsin at heavyweight. In usual Medbery fashion, the undefeated Senior put the pedal to the metal right out of the gate. Medbery took Tyrus Kemp (R So) down almost instantly, followed by two four point nearfalls. In the second period Medbery again went to work, taking Kemp down and turning him again for the final four points securing the tech fall and a Senior Day victory for the team.
“It’s been a while since it’s come down to me,” Medbery said. “In Minnesota, it came down to the final match too and I was watching that match and I was like, man these are the moments I don’t like watching. These are the moments I want to be out there wrestling. So, I reminded myself of that and just gotta go out there and compete hard.”
Senior TJ Ruschell took a tough loss in his final UW home bout in a wild match at 157 lb. Ruschell fell to No. 10 Colin Heffernan (Jr) 7-9. TJ wrestled a nice first period picking up two takedowns and an escape to lead 5-2. Heffernan worked his way out of the deficit to lead the match by a point counting riding time. With just seconds to go, TJ escaped to tie the regulation score at 7-7 forcing overtime. Heffernan secured a quick takedown in sudden victory grabbing the match. The win helped the Chippewas take a 9-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
At 133 and 141 redshirt freshmen Eli Stickley and Cole Martin couldn’t quite bring it home.
“Stick” managed only three escapes, falling 6-3 to Corey Keener (Sr). Martin, held a 4-1 lead early, but Mason Smith (R Fr) came through in the remaining two periods taking Martin down, and putting him on his back two times for four nearfall points, a 7-4 decision. The wins gave CMU their first lead of the afternoon, 6-3.
After the break and the major decision by Isaac Jordan, Jared Scharenbrock (R So) got the start at 174 lb. The Sun Prairie native reversed #18 CJ Brucki (Jr) once in the second period, but other than that, it was all Brucki. The Chippewa eventually picked up the tech fall with the riding time point addition at the end of the match.
Hunter Ritter (R Fr) looked to knock off #16 Jordan Ellingwood (Jr) at 184 lb. After a scoreless first period Ritter managed to escape, followed by a stalemate in neutral position. In the third Ellingwood hit his stride, escaping from Ritter and turning in quickly for a takedown. Ritter managed another escape, but it wouldn’t be enough as he fell 4-2 with the riding time point.
The Badgers finished the dual season with a 6-5 overall record, and a 3-5 record in the Big Ten Conference.
“It was a good way to end the season for Zeke. He wrestled great. A lot of offense there. Conor with the tech fall. No doubt about it. Two great leaders. Two great men. They’re going to be greatly missed,” Head Coach Barry Davis said.
Although this marks the end of the dual season, things are just starting to heat up. Wisconsin will take a week break, leading up to the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Indiana March 4-5, and the NCAA National Championships in St. Louis, March 16-18.
Isaac Jordan looks to reclaim his Big Ten title for the third consecutive time. He will also attempt to pick up his fourth All American honor, and a national title after a 2016 runner-up finish to Alex Dieringer last season.
“Wisconsin is a great program with great history. It would be an honor to be considered one of the best it’s had. I’m just looking to add to my resume and hopefully end my year the way I want,” Jordan said.
After taking an Olympic Redshirt last season, Connor Medbery looks to pick up where he left off, and grab a second All American finish. Currently ranked No. 2, Medbery hopes to cap off his career with a Big Ten and National Title.
“It’s just working on those little things and continuing to build. I’ve wrestled a lot of top guys already, so I know what they do. That also means they gotta bring something new to the table when I see them again,” Medbery said.
After a disappointing NCAA appearance, last year, Ricky Robertson is on the hunt for All American status this year. The two-time NCAA qualifier looks to make a splash in the conference this year as well.
Johnny Jimenez looks to capture All American status after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time last year. Knocking off ranked opponents all season, all eyes will be on Jimenez to see if he can continue his tear.
Wisconsin’s Ryan Taylor, another three-time NCAA qualifier, looked to pick up his second All-American honor this season, however the 133 lb grappler had career ending hip surgery prior to the season. Taylor was honored during Senior Day alongside the rest of his teammates, although his time wearing the W was cut short.
“I’m looking forward to those guys at NCAAs and Big Tens. Clearly upward movement. Now we just help them become a national champion,” Barry Davis said.
Wisconsin 19 Central Michigan 17
125 Johnny Jimenez (UW) decision Brent Fleetwood 2-0 SV-1
133 Corey Keener (CMU) decision Eli Stickley 6-3
141 Mason Smith (CMU) decision Cole Martin 7-4
149 Andrew Crone (UW) major decision Justin Oliver 14-5
157 Colin Heffernan (CMU) decision TJ Ruschell 9-7 SV-1
165 Isaac Jordan (UW) major decision Logan Parks 19-6
174 CJ Brucki (CMU) technical fall Jared Scharenbrock 17-2 7:00
184 Jordan Ellingwood (CMU) decision Hunter Ritter 4-2.
197 Ricky Robertson (UW) decision Austin Severn 1-0
285 Connor Medbery (UW) technical fall Tyrus Kemp 16-0 3:18
Lead picture; Johnny Jimenez by Pam Ruschell
Senior Award Pictures: Abigail Ruckdashel