Big Ten Tournament Quick Review | 2018

By TomM March 6, 2018 19:09

Big Ten Tournament Quick Review | 2018

Big Ten Tournament Quick Review

by Abigail Ruckdashel

125 Johnny Jimenez (48-50) SR

Jimenez entered the Big Ten Tournament 4-12. The 2x NCAA Qualifier was looking to cap off his finishing in the top eight. Jimenez had the 12-seed heading into the tournament. In the opening round Jimenez took on 5 seed Ethan Lizak of Minnesota. That match would end in a close 3-1 decision for Lizak.

Jimenez would then take a 7-4 decision over 13 seed Brandon Cray. On the consolation side, Jimenez would drop a 10-2 major decision to 6 seed Luke Welch of Purdue. This loss would drop Jimenez out of the bracket and put him in the running for a 9th place finish, which was important as the 125 lbs. weight class had more spots for the NCAA allocated to it than others.

Jimenez would again beat Cray, this time 7-2, to stay alive for the important 9th place spot. He would then lose to 9 seed Travis Piotrowski of Illinois in a 13-4 major decision. In the last match of his career, Jimenez would unfortunately fall to 14 seed Carson Kuhn of Penn State in 2:22. Jimenez finished his tournament 2-4 in 12th place.

133 Jens Lantz (26-26) R-JR

Lantz entered the Big Ten Tournament 16-13 and unseeded. This is the Ellsworth native’s first full season holding down a starting spot for the Badgers. Lantz looked to advance to his first NCAA Championships. In the opening round, he faced the 5 seed in Rutgers’ Scott Delvecchio. Lantz would drop that match in a close 3-1 decision. He would then keep himself alive by getting the 3-0 decision over Michigan State’s Logan Griffin.

On the consolation side, Lantz would take on 6 seed Corey Keener of Penn State. In a close match Lantz would get caught in a cement mixer and fall to Keener in 3:43, which would knock him out of the tournament. He would finish with a 1-2 tournament record. Luckily for us, Lantz will be back next season.

141 Eli Stickley (35-24) R-SO

Stickley entered the Big Ten Tournament with a 19-10 record and the 9 seed. This is Stickley’s second season in the starting position for the Badgers. In the opening round, he faced Vince Turk of Iowa who was unseeded. Turk took the match 6-0.

He would continue to stay in the tournament after beating Michigan State’s Javier Gasca 7-0. He then took down Indiana’s 7 seeded Cole Weaver in a close 3-2 decision. In the consolation quarterfinals, he would take a close 6-4 decision over Maryland’s Ryan Diehl. This would seal his spot on the podium and a trip to Cleveland for his first NCAA’s.

In the consolation semifinals, he would drop a nail-biter 3-2 decision to Purdue’s five seeded Nate Limmex. This would put him in the fifth-place match, again against Iowa’s Turk who was defeated by Penn State’s second seeded Nick Lee. In that match, Stickley would wrestle tough but drop the 4-1 decision to Turk to take home 6th place.

149 Cole Martin (34-27) R-SO

Martin entered the Big Ten Tournament 15-10 and holding the 10 seed. The Lancaster native is wrapping up his second season holding down a starting spot for the Badgers. Last year he placed 7th in the Big Ten Tournament, upsetting Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon. Martin was looking to punch his ticket to the NCAAs for the second time in as many seasons.

In the opening round, he faced Maryland’s 7th seeded Alfred Bannister. Martin would drop that match 14-6. He would then receive a bye and go on to face Minnesota’s Steve Bleise who held the 9 seed. In a close match, Bleise would earn the 3-1 decision.

Just like the 125 lbs. weigh class, the 149 lbs. class is allocated more spots than other weight classes, so the 9th place match becomes important. Martin would receive another bye and then take on Jwan Britton of Michigan State. Martin would win that match easily as he secured a 15-3 major decision.

In the 9th place bout Martin would win in dramatic fashion against Michigan’s eight seed Malik Amine. Martin took Amine down right at the buzzer to pick up the 4-3 decision with ride time. Martin would finish 2-2 and in 9th place, with a good shot at qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

157 Andrew Crone (77-39) R SR

Crone entered the Big Ten Tournament with a 22-9 record holding the six seed. The Arrowhead native is wrapping up his third full season starting for the Badgers. Last season he qualified for his first NCAA Championships where he narrowly missed All American status.

In the opening round, Crone faced Maryland’s Justin Alexander. Crone would take that match with a 10-1 major decision. Crone would then face known foe, Alec Pantaleo of Michigan, in the quarterfinals. Earlier in the season Crone upset Pantaleo 3-0 in the Michigan dual. However, this time it would go Pantaleo’s way, as he would claim the 7-3 decision over Crone.

Crone bounced back on the consolation side defeating Northwestern’s Shane Oster 6-2. He would continue to fight his way through the consolation side upending Minnesota’s seventh seeded Jake Short 8-4 and taking the medical forfeit over Iowa’s top seeded Michael Kemerer. This would put Crone in the consolation finals facing Nebraska’s fifth seeded Tyler Berger.

Earlier in the year, Crone beat Berger 11-3 and continued his dominance. Crone would defeat Berger again this time 6-2. Crone would finish the tournament 4-1 and in third place. He has also punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships in Cleveland for the second time.

165 Evan Wick (20-5) R FR

Evan Wick entered the Big Ten Tournament with the five seed into a loaded 165 lbs. bracket. This is Wick’s first season holding a starting spot for the badgers and boasts a 20-5 season record.

Wick started his tournament with a bang pinning Michigan State’s 12 seeded Austin Hiles. In the quarterfinal round, Wick would lose a heartbreaking 6-4 decision to Rutgers’ fourth seeded Ritchie Lewis, but wouldn’t be left out.

On the consolation side, he would defeat Indiana’s Bryce Martin 8-2. This would put him against Nebraska’s eight seeded Isaiah White. White defeated Wick earlier in the season, but not this time. Wick took it to White defeating him 3-1. As if that wasn’t tough enough, Wick had to wrestle last year’s runner up in Michigan’s Logan Massa.

In the Michigan dual earlier in the season, Massa straight up ducked Wick, and didn’t start for the Wolverines. However, Wick would prove that Massa was right in being scared as he beat him in a thrilling 4-3 decision with ride time as the decision maker. Wick would then forfeit his third-place rematch with Ritchie Lewis.

Wick would finish his first Big Ten Tournament 4-2 and in fourth place. He punched his ticket to his first of hopefully 4 NCAA Championships.

174 Ryan Christensen (61-50) R JR

Ryan Christensen entered the Big Ten Tournament with the eight seed and a 27-11 record. Christensen came in looking qualify for his third consecutive NCAA tournament in as many seasons. Christensen has been on the podium every year, placing as high as sixth last season.

Christensen opened his tournament with a 4-0 decision over Minnesota’s Chris Pfarr. He then took on defending National Champion in Penn State’s Mark Hall in the quarterfinal round. Hall would pin Christensen in 47 seconds.

On the consolation side Christensen would defeat Maryland’s Josh Uglade 6-0. He would then take on Purdue’s fourth seeded Dylan Lydy in the consolation quarterfinals. Lydy would get the close 2-1 decision over Christensen. This would put Chirstensen in position for the 7th place bout position and earn him a trip to Cleveland for the third straight year. Christensen would beat Indiana’s sixth seeded Devin Statzka 10-7 to finish with a 3-2 record and in 7th place.

184 Ricky Robertson (90-48) R SR

“Tricky Ricky” entered the Big Ten Tournament with a 23-9 record and the seven seed. He was on the hunt for his fourth NCAA Tournament qualification in as many seasons. Last year he placed 5th at the Big Ten Championships.

To start his 2018 tournament, he faced Maryland’s Nick Cappello where he would grab a seven-minute tech fall. In the next round, he would meet second seeded Myles Martin of Ohio State. Martin would return the favor to Robertson, grabbing the seven-minute tech fall against him.

On the consolation side, he faced Mitch Sliga of Northwestern where he nabbed the 5-0 decision. He would then face sixth seeded Tyler Venz of Nebraska. Venz would get the best of Robertson earning the 11-1 major decision. This would put Ricky in the 7th place bout against Iowa’s Mitch Bowman.

Ricky would defeat Bowman 9-4 to end his fourth and final Big Ten Tournament in 7th place. He would finish the day 3-2 and with an automatic trip to Cleveland for one more shot at the NCAA podium.

197 Hunter Ritter (41-23) R SO

Hunter Ritter entered his second Big Ten Tournament with a 24-9 record and a fifth seed. He automatically qualified for the NCAAs last season with an eighth-place finish at his first Big Ten Tournament and was looking for his second qualification in as many seasons.

In the opening round, Ritter took on Maryland’s David-Brian Whisler. Ritter would win that bout 5-3. In the quarterfinals, he would face fourth seeded Kevin Beazley of Michigan. Beazley would catch Ritter in the third period and pin him.

Ritter would take the consolation side by storm taking down Illinois’ Andre Lee in overtime 3-1. He would then breeze past Nebraska’s eighth seeded Eric Schultz, pinning him in the first period, followed by taking down Purdue’s Christian Brunner 6-3.

In the third-place bout, Ritter would get a rematch against Michigan’s Beazley. It would be a close match until Beazley’s elbow was dislocated. Ritter would win the match by injury default. Ritter would qualify for his second NCAA tournament in as many seasons finishing in third place with a 4-1 record.

285 Ben Stone (16-14) R SO

Ben Stone entered his first Big Ten Tournament with a 5-11 season record. The Cumberland native is finishing his first season starting for the Badgers.

In the opening round, Stone would take on fifth seeded Yousif Hemida of Maryland. Hemida would take that bout by an 8-3 decision. Stone would bounce back pinning Rutgers’ Razohnn Gross in in 1:46 seconds. In the following round, Stone would face Northwestern’s Conan Jennings. Jennings would get the best of Stone with a 16-0 tech fall in the third period. This would end Stone’s first season. He would finish 1-2.

As a team, the Badgers finished in 6th place in the conference, qualifying seven individuals (Stickley, Martin, Crone, Wick, Christensen, Robertson and Ritter) for the NCAA Tournament in Cleveland.

The NCAA Tournament kicks off March 15-17 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio

By TomM March 6, 2018 19:09