Christensen and Crone qualify for World Team Trials
May 8, 2015LAS VEGAS — Several current and former Wisconsin Badgers enjoyed a successful weekend at the 2015 Asics U.S. Open Wrestling Championships last weekend. The Badgers were headlined by Ryan Christensen and Andrew Crone who earned their spots at the podium and automatically qualified for the 2015 World Team Trials, which will be held in Madison, June 12-14.Christensen finished in fourth place after tearing through his bracket at 79 kg. He started the tournament with an 8-0 decision and 10-0 technical fall. He fell to Kimball Bastian in the third-place match by decision, 4-2.Crone wrestled at 66 kg., and started out strong with two technical falls before losing to Zain Retherford of Penn State. He battled back with a 5-4 decision and a 10-0 technical fall to take fifth place.
Freshman Jens Lantz also had an impressive performance with a seventh-place finish after rallying back from a loss in the second round. He tallied one technical fall, two decisions and one win by injury default en route to his seventh-place showing.”It was a great trip for the four junior level and two senior level guys that we brought out to Las Vegas,” UW assistant coach Trevor Brandvold said. “It was tough and we wish we could’ve brought more wrestlers but with finals starting on Sunday, it made it hard to bring more guys out there to compete.”
Sophomore Jesse Thielke was crowned a U.S. Open Mini Tournament Champion in Greco at 59 kg. He first had two consecutive technical falls and upset Ryan Mango with an 8-4 decision to earn his spot in the finals. He then defeated Jermaine Hodge with a 6-4 decision in the finals. On Saturday night, Thielke fell to Spenser Mango, who finished fifth in the 2014 World Championships and was the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials champion, in a 5-0 decision. Thielke will wrestle Spenser Mango again in Ithaca, New York on June 4th for the second time in a best-of-three completion. “The six guys that we brought out just got some valuable mat time and great competition in,” Brandvold said. “That’s what we look for in this time of year is to just make weight and to train for a competition that is so big.
It will prepare them for tournaments later this summer like the University Nationals and the World Team Trials in Madison.”It also prepares them for next year, getting competition in and building confidence of getting wins. Wrestling hard is so important so it was a valuable experience for these guys.”Former Badger Tyler Graff, the 2014 NCAA runner-up, overcame the 2015 NCAA Champion Nathan Tomasello with a 5-4 win in the first round.
He placed seventh at 57 kg in the Senior Men’s Freestyle bracket.Connor Medbery competed in the Senior Open and had a big win over NCAA runner-up Adam Coon. He fell to the second and third place finishers. Medbery is already qualified after winning at the Northeast Regional Championships in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. “They wrestled hard. Something we have stressed lately is hand fighting and getting on our offense to create opportunities to score,” Brandvold said. “Those were all things that the wrestlers did really well out there and they were all looking to score points.
We need to work on more positioning things and tactical things that will help us win more matches here in the future but for a bunch of young wrestlers going out there they did a really great job.”It was a great competition as always. The senior level was unbelievably tough and on the junior levels we saw some young phenomenon’s coming up through the ranks. It was a good experience for our student-athletes and good for our program to be out there.”
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