Session One 2017 NCAA | Three Badgers get ‘W’ in Opening Round

By TomM March 16, 2017 16:23

Session One 2017 NCAA | Three Badgers get ‘W’ in Opening Round

(Large crowds waiting to enter the Scott Trade Center for NCAA National Chamionships)

Session One 2017 NCAA | Three Badgers get ‘W’ in Opening Round

Abigail Ruckdashel | Wisconsin Wrestling Online | Thursday, March 16, 2017

(St. Louis, MO) The ‘March to the Arch’ began as the nation’s best of the best wrestlers converged on the Scottrade Center to decide who would become the best in the country. For the first time in ten years, the Wisconsin Badgers qualified nine of ten wrestlers for “the big dance.”

Isaac Jordan, Cole Martin, Hunter Ritter, Ryan Christianson, Ricky Robertson and Connor Medbery all qualified two weekends ago at the Big Ten Tournament in Indiana. All six placed in the top 8 at Assembly Hall. Johnny Jimenez, Andrew Crone and TJ Ruschell received at large bids, being selected and entered unranked by the NCAA committee. All nine Badgers are still alive after the first round, with three on the front side and six entering the consolation half of their brackets. Crone, Jordan and Medbery claim spots in the round of 16, leaving the rest to fight their way through the backside.

Action began with the ‘pigtail’ round and moved onto the ‘round of 32’ where three of the nine badgers were seeded heading into the tournament. The first round was bound to be tough for Wisconsin as they would meet up with some of the top seeded opponents at the start.

Johnny Jimenez (JR) was the first Badger to take the mat for the Badgers, receiving an at large bid to qualify for his second straight NCAA Championship. Jimenez dropped a hard fought 7-4 decision, to No. 9 red-shirt Senior Joshua Rodriguez (NDSU). Rodriguez, a veteran participant is in the hunt for All American status, competing in his third NCAA Championship.

Cole Martin (R FR) qualified for his first NCAA Championships taking seventh at Big Tens at 141 lbs. In his opening match, he took on Lehigh’s veteran No. 11 Randy Cruz (JR). Cruz controlled most of the match, claiming a 6-0 decision. This was Cruz’s third trip to NCAA’s where he claimed All American honors last season, defeating Ohio State’s Micah Jordan in the blood rounds of 2016.

Andrew Crone (R JR) qualified for his first NCAA Championships claiming an at large bid at 149 lbs. Crone, known for his ability to knock off top ranked guys, did what he does best, knocking off No. 12 Junior Sam Speno (NC State). Andrew will take on a familiar foe in Iowa’s Brandon Sorenson later Thursday Evening in the round of 16.

TJ Ruschell (R SR) qualified for his first NCAA Championship with another at large bid. In the opening round, he took on No. 16 Victor Lopez (Bucknell). In a back and forth match, Ruschell ended up dropping a 5-3 decision to the two-time NCAA qualifier.

No. 4 Isaac Jordan (SR) picked up an opening round major decision (11-2) in his fourth consecutive NCAA appearance taking down red-shirt Freshman Lorenzo De La Riva (CSUB). Jordan will look for his fourth consecutive All American finish, taking as high as runner-up last season to Alex Dieringer. To claim his first NCAA title Jordan must take down top seeded undefeated Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in later rounds.

The sixth Badger to take the mat was Ryan Christensen at 174 lbs., who qualified for his second straight NCAA Championship. In the opening round, he took on No. 13 red-shirt freshman Taylor Lujan (UNI) in a dual meet rematch. Christensen and Lujan faced each other when Northern Iowa traveled to the fieldhouse earlier in the season. Lujan got the best of Christensen 10-3 decision in Madison, and earned a 6-1 decision here in St. Louis.

Hunter Ritter (R Fr) qualified for his first NCAA Championship claiming 8tth at the Big Ten Tournament and took on Oklahoma State’s No. 4 seeded Nolan Boyd (JR). Boyd, a four-time qualifier and returning All-American. Boyd proved too experienced for Ritter, claiming a 7-1 decision.

At 197 lbs, Ricky Robertson (R JR) qualified for his third straight NCAA Championships placing fifth at Big Tens. Robertson has yet to claim All American honors, but comes in this time with the 15 seed. In the opening round, Robertson faced Oklahoma’s Brad Johnson (R SR). In a close match, Robertson came up short losing a 4-2.

To round out the first session for Wisconsin, second seeded Connor Medbury (R SR) picked up a major 14-1decision against Princeton’s two-time qualifier Ray O’Donnell (So). Medbery, qualifying for his fourth NCAA Championships, is looking to pick up a second All-American finish. Connor was fourth two years ago, before taking an Olympic Redshirt last year.

Session Two begins at 6pm CST Thursday evening.

NCAA 2017 Results

By TomM March 16, 2017 16:23