No.16 Badgers Win Home Opener over No.21 Northern Iowa
No.16 Wisconsin Wins Home Opener over No.21 Northern Iowa
Abigail Ruckdashel | Sunday, December 11, 2016
Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Badgers and the Northern Iowa Panthers squared off on Sunday afternoon, to open the 2016-2017 season at the historic Fieldhouse. The No.21 Panthers came ready for the fight, but ultimately it was the No.16 Badgers that emerged victorious 23-12.
Jens Lantz (R-So.) opened the dual at 125lb, facing third ranked and returning All American Dylan Peters (R-Sr.). Lantz wrestled well, scoring the first takedown, but had just three escapes versus three takedowns by Peters the rest of the way. In the end, Peters came away with the 8-4 decision, giving the Panthers the first points.
Red shirt freshman, Eli Stickley, at 133, evened the team score at three with the most exciting match of the dual. Ranked Josh Alber (R-So.) scored the opening takedown, but in a close match, basically it appeared to be all Stickley after that. Stickley put on a solid ride and Albers was penalized a point for stalling. Two late takedowns (one in OT) by Eli stunned the No. 12 ranked Alber. Stickley was visibly excited pumping his fist.
Effective riding was the difference for14th ranked redshirt freshman, Cole Martin, who came away with points for the Badgers at 141lb. over Jake Hodges (R-Jr.) of UNI. Martin scored bonus points in an eight point third period and a point for riding time bringing the match score to a 9-1 major decision.
Andrew Crone (R-Jr.), ranked No. 20, took the mat against No. 16 ranked Max Thomsen (R-Fr.). Thomsen dominated the first two periods scoring three takedowns to none for Crone. Andrew opened up in the third period, frantically scoring three takedowns in the final minute to even the match score at nine. However, Thomsen had riding time in his favor, taking the match 10-9. Team score then stood at 7-6.
Redshirt senior TJ Ruschell took the mat against UNI’s Paden Moore (R-Fr.) at 157lb. Ruschell took control of the match, nabbing a takedown early in the first period. After a scoreless second, TJ scored a reversal in the last period to take a 4-0 lead. Ruschell showed his skills, riding Stetzel out for the remainder of the match. With the 4-0 decision, the Badgers went into the break holding a 10-6 lead.
UW’s 2016 NCAA runner-up Isaac Jordan and No. 14 ranked Bryce Steiert (So.) opened the second half at 165lb. The third ranked Badger senior took an early lead with a takedown. However, Steiert didn’t go quietly. In period two Jordan escaped and in an offensive exchange took a jolting ‘head to the nose’ resulting in a Steiert takedown. A blood injury time out was called for Jordan, who appeared injured. After another Jordan escape the second period ended 4-2 in Jordan’s favor. Steiert chose to start the 3rd neutral and scored a takedown to tie the match 4-4. A Jordan reversal and riding team gave him a tough 7-5 win. The Badgers extended their lead to seven.
Ryan Christensen (R-So.) at 174lb. could not get his offense rolling as No. 11 ranked Taylor Lujan (R-Fr.) scored four unanswered takedowns and a point for riding time to take a 10-3 win.
Another redshirt freshman, Hunter Ritter, took on No.16 Drew Foster (R-So.). Ritter opened fast, shocking Foster with a nice takedown in the first ten seconds. Ritter appeared to be on a mission scoring another takedown shortly thereafter. He led 5-2 early in the second, but Foster took came alive scoring two takedowns of his own including the final one in the closing seconds to seal the match in his favor 8-7 The Badgers held a narrow one point lead with two matches to go.
Fifteenth ranked Ricky Robertson (R-Jr.) gave the Badgers some breathing room winning by tech fall (16-0) over Jared Bartel (R-Sr.) at 197lb. Robertson controlled the match from the outset, riding with confidence, racking up nearfalls in all three periods, racking up over five minutes of ride time. Heading into the last match, Wisconsin held an 18-12 lead.
Senior Connor Medbery finished off the dual with another dominating win. The second ranked senior made easy work of JJ Everard (R-Sr.), winning by tech fall 15-0. Medbery showed his athleticism as he took Everard down early in the first period. Connor continued to terrorize Everard, scoring three takedowns and three near-falls.
When all was said and done, the Badgers defeated the Panthers 23-12, winning six matches, scoring bonus points in three. This win caps off a winning weekend for the red and white as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers Friday night in Bloomington.
The Badgers are undefeated at 3-0, and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Badger wresting action will return to the Fieldhouse on January 6th, when the 4-0, fourth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes come to town.
Photo: 3timegear.com and UWBadgers.com