Medbery, Robertson among headliners for Badgers at Big Ten Championships

Several Badgers had big performances at the Big Ten Championships.

Image By: McKenzie Halling

For the Wisconsin wrestling team, the 2017 schedule has been a full course meal.

The All-Star Classic and Pointer Open served as the amuse-bouche, a small appetizer used to stimulate hunger, for their upcoming season. Indeed, the Pointer Open did just that. The Badgers’ explosive start to tournament action began with five first-place titles and two runner-up honors.

Fast forward to Wisconsin’s January cold stretch against Big Ten teams. This was a soup gone bad, a dish that head coach Barry Davis would desperately send back to the chef. During this month, the Badgers failed to register a win and struggled to close out matches.

Big Ten Championships took place last weekend at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. In wrestling, the conference championships serve as the main entrée. It has all the right ingredients: the best wrestlers in the Big Ten, a national stage, and top-level competition.

Although Wisconsin finished in a tie for eighth place, the Badgers’ relatively low finish was highlighted by redshirt senior Connor Medbery. His match against Kyle Snyder of Ohio State was one of the most anticipated of the season, and it met every expectation.

After falling behind 4-1, Medbery held Snyder scoreless in the second period. A quick escape to start the third was crucial for Medbery, but he could not capitalize and Snyder forced a takedown to push his lead to 6-2. Another escape and takedown from the Badger senior quickly brought the score to 6-5, but Snyder wiped his plate clean first and took an 8-5 decision. With the loss, Medbery’s undefeated record on the season came to an end. But a second-place finish, Medbery’s career-best in the Big Ten tournament, was no tough bone to chew on.

Fellow redshirt senior Isaac Jordan also gave fans a treat with a competitive match. In the 165-pound bracket, Jordan squared off against Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph for the third-place title. Back-to-back takedowns were too much for Jordan, and he fell to a 5-2 decision.

One of the biggest highlights of the tournament was a match between junior Ricky Robertson and Rutgers’ Matt Correnti. A fifth-place match at 197 pounds featured an array of exciting moments, with Robertson scoring an early takedown and proceeding to stack point after point until he walked away with a 9-1 victory.

In total, six Badgers earned NCAA-qualifier bids and ended the tournament with 67.5 points. Davis thought his team performed admirably, but added that there was still room for improvement.

“There were areas that we could have been a little bit better, but it is what it is and now we just have to go back and regroup,” he said. “We’ll talk about NCAA’s and I’m hoping for a couple wildcards too on Tuesday.”

Overall, Wisconsin flexed its muscles, but the Ohio State Buckeyes took home the conference title. This marks the fourth time the Buckeyes have won at least a share of the tournament title.

Next on the docket for the Badgers is the NCAA Championships, where Medbery, Jordan, Robertson, redshirt sophomore Ryan Christensen and redshirt freshmen Hunter Ritter and Cole Martin will look to bring UW national recognition.

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