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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

UW travels to Northwestern and Iowa this weekend

When the Wisconsin wrestling team enters Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday to battle Iowa, the Badgers will do their best to ignore both the crowd and the past. 




Head coach Barry Davis can attest to this personally. As a former collegiate wrestler at Iowa and now the coach at Wisconsin, Davis understands the Hawkeye tradition. 




\It's an atmosphere that a lot of people come into a little intimidated by it because of the name,"" Davis said. 




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Davis also let his team know they do not have to concern themselves with the tradition or the past they have with Iowa. 




""You're not wrestling tradition--you are wrestling the man in front of you,"" Davis said. 




As for the past, a quick look at last year's results shows a 37-6 loss to the Hawkeyes that brought UW's losing streak against Iowa to 26 matches. 




""Last year we got beat here and it was pretty embarrassing,"" senior Donny Pritzlaff said. ""We don't want to think about last year, we are going to put that one behind us."" 




The good news for Wisconsin (8-4-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) is that this season's Hawkeye squad (13-2, 2-1) is not as dominating as past teams. 




""They are not quite as strong this year in the upper weight classes. We can score points on them up there and the guys in the lower weight classes may need an upset or two,"" Davis said. 




Before Wisconsin can hit the mats against Iowa, it will first have to face Northwestern Friday in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcats (3-7, 0-2) are coming off a 40-3 wringing at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini, but still cannot be overlooked. 




""We have eight matches in four weeks. We take it one match at a time,"" Davis said. ""When you start overlooking someone in the Big Ten, you get in trouble there."" 




The match against Northwestern will be the first for the Badgers in the Big Ten as UW looks to improve on it's 1-3 conference road record of a season ago. 




Starting out the Big Ten with a victory or two is important to the team as it looks to build momentum. 




""I think it is important to go down to Northwestern and dominate,"" Pritzlaff said. ""Then, with Iowa it is the same thing--we can really score a lot of points against them this year, probably the most points we have ever scored against them."" 




For the Badgers, this weekend serves as a statement to the conference and the nation that the Wisconsin wrestling program can compete with the nation's elite. 




""Everybody in the country is going to watch what Iowa does this weekend. We want to show them that Wisconsin wrestling is for real,"" Pritzlaff said.

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