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MADISON, Wis.— An upset just two matches into the night gave the No. 23 Wisconsin wrestling team the momentum it needed to overcome the ninth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 22-15, Friday night in the UW Field House.
Trailing 4-0 after the first match, Wisconsin (9-3 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) needed something big from junior Timmy McCall at 197 lbs., and that’s what the Badgers got. McCall took the mat against OSU’s (5-2, 0-2) No. 4 Nick Heflin and finished with a 3-1 sudden victory decision.
“That was one of the key matches of the dual right there,” UW head coach Barry Davis said of McCall’s win. “It was a big win for Timmy. I think it turned the momentum for us. He beat the fourth-ranked guy in the country and that led into (Connor) Medbery’s win and then (Ryan) Taylor and (Tyler) Graff. It just kind of snowballed from there.
“A win like that can carry you.”
Wisconsin rattled off three more victories after McCall’s win to jump out to a 16-4 lead heading into intermission. No. 10 Connor Medberydefeated Nick Tavanello, 8-2, No. 11 Ryan Taylor pinned No. 17 Nick Roberts and No. 6 Tyler Graff took down Kyle Visconti, 26-11.
Following the break, OSU’s No. 3-ranked Logan Stieber proved worthy of the ranking in a 18-1 technical fall over Jesse Thielke at 141 lbs. and Ian Paddock narrowly edged Rylan Lubeck, 3-2, at 149 lbs. before the Badgers were able to take back the momentum and the match.
No. 7 Isaac Jordan won by decision, 5-2, over Randy Languis at 157 lbs. and then Frank Cousins sealed the Badgers’ team win with a 3-2 decision over Joe Grandominico at 165 lbs.
The night ended at 174 lbs. where Scott Liegel lost by decision, 4-3, to No. 17 Mark Martin.
“We had a pretty good showing at Midlands, but we came back and as a staff made some adjustments,” Davis said. “I think the guys adjusted really well.
“You get that much time to work on things and we did, but we are not where we need to be yet. We are still moving forward, it would have been nice to have Liegel win there at the end. So, there are few things to work on, but they are catching on, they are understanding the sport and themselves better.
“We have time off from school again next week for another hard training after Minnesota and then hope we can carry that momentum into Big Tens.”
The Badgers continue the Big Ten grind when they travel to No. 2 Minnesota on Sunday for a 1 p.m. dual in the Sports Pavilion.