Coming into the weekend, No. 4 Wisconsin (4-5 Big Ten, 11-5 overall) had been on a two-match losing streak, with losses coming from No. 2 Penn State and unranked Michigan State. But, Badger fans who were hoping for a bounce back performance got one as the Badgers picked up a win 20-12 over No. 17 Michigan (5-4 Big Ten, 6-6 overall).
Although they lost a disappointing first match with freshman Eric Barnett at 125 pounds losing to Michigan’s Jack Medley 8-3, UW rattled off three straight victories after — all coming from ranked starters — beginning with a very impressive tech fall from star transfer No. 1 Seth Gross dominating over Michigan’s Austin Amada, winning 18-0.
Next came a gritty victory from Wisconsin’s No. 4 Tristan Moran over Michigan’s Cole Mattin at 141l pounds. Badger No. 15 Cole Martin came up with the next victory over Wolverine Ben Lamantia by decision in the second sudden victory period, winning the 149 pound matchup 9-8.
Wisconsin’s next loss came at 157 pounds, where redshirt sophomore Garrett Model almost came out with a major upset of No. 8 Will Lewan of Michigan, but instead lost by decision 5-3. However, Wisconsin then bounced back in a stellar way with redshirt senior No. 4 Evan Wick coming up with an impressive win over Michigan’s Reece Hughes, building on his extremely strong senior campaign.
At 174 pounds, redshirt freshman Tyler Dow picked up his first win at the Field House, beating Michigan’s Max Maylor in a close match — winning 4-3. The next match was one of the best of the afternoon, with Wisconsin’s No. 22 Johnny Sebastian taking on similarly ranked No. 21 Jelani Embri of Michigan, winning the thrilling match by decision, 5-2.
Michigan closed out the duel with two straight victories, with Jackson Striggow beating Wisconsin’s Taylor Watkins at 197 pounds, with Watkins falling by decision, 7-3. Heavyweight star for Michigan, No. 2 Mason Perris, came up with a strong win over Wisconsin’s No. 5 Trent Hilger, winning 3-1.
"It feels a lot better sitting up here today than it did last week. They say during the course of the year you're going to hit a low point and last week was our low point,” Wisconsin Head Coach Chris Bono said after the victory. “Today was great. [Our guys] responded great. What I was real proud of, I just told the team was that even in the losses, they were all dog fights."
“In the wins, we had a dominant win in Gross, Evan Wick had a great win," Bono said. "Our guys did what they were supposed to do. Cole Martin gutted one out in overtime and Tristan Moran gutted one out so I'm happy, I'm happy today."
Wisconsin will face the No. 16 University of Northern Iowa on Thursday in what will be the final duel of what is shaping up to be one of Wisconsin’s best seasons in recent years.