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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 14, 2024
Wisconsin has only two regular season matches left against Rutgers and Purdue.

Wisconsin has only two regular season matches left against Rutgers and Purdue.

Wisconsin wrestling seeks to close regular season on high note against Rutgers, Purdue

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, No. 18 Wisconsin wrestling (4-3 Big Ten, 7-3 overall) is looking to finish strong as it welcomes Rutgers and Purdue to Madison before the Big Ten tournament comes into focus.

In its first match Friday night UW hosts No. 21 Rutgers (2-6, 6-7). It will be UW and Rutgers’ first time meeting since the 2015-’16 season, where it came down to the wire, and the Badgers pulled out a 18-15 victory. The No. 22 Purdue Boilermakers ( 8-7, 2-6) will step in the UW Field House on Senior Day Sunday with action slated to begin at noon. The squads met last season, with Wisconsin taking the 22-12 victory.

This past weekend, Wisconsin battled two tough opponents in No. 15 Nebraska and No. 14 Illinois. The Badgers lost their first dual, falling to the Huskers at home 24-10. The squad rebounded two days later, pulling off the upset against the Illini with a 19-16 dual win that went down to the wire.

The Badgers will look for Andrew Crone to continue his winning streak — currently at seven — highlighted by wins over Michigan's then-No. 5 Alec Pantaleo, Nebraska's No. 8 Tyler Berger and Illinois' No. 20 Kyle Langenderfer. The Wisconsin native is also 8-0 in dual action, 6-0 in Big Ten Duals and has been victorious in all but two of his last 14 matches.

With top-notch competition in the always-difficult Big Ten, the arrival of Rutgers and Purdue will set up some matches that will be worth watching. Friday's dual against the Rutgers will feature eight ranked wrestlers, with two matchups involving some of the country's top talent. At 165 pounds, UW's Evan Wick who is 11th in the country, will face off with Rutgers' No. 7 Richie Lewis. At 184 pounds, No. 9 Ricky Robertson has another challenge with No.12 Nicholas Gravina. Sunday's dual against Purdue will feature seven of the ten matches with ranked wrestlers.

Rutgers, which has had one of the most difficult schedules in the country, started off the season 3-0, but it has gone 3-7 since, falling to all currently ranked programs including No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Iowa. In Rutgers’ last duel, it faced No. 21 Minnesota, falling 20-12. Purdue has lost five-of-six matches, all to ranked opponents. The last time Purdue faced an opponent, it fell to No. 19 Northwestern, 24-16 in West Lafayette.

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