MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin wrestling team (4-2, 1-0 Big Ten) opened its conference season on a positive note Friday, toppling Michigan State (1-2, 0-1), 19-12, at the UW Field House.
The victory ended an eight-dual conference losing streak for the Badgers, and was their first win over a Big Ten opponent since the 2010-11 season when they defeated the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 20, 2011.
Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis said that starting out the 2012-13 conference slate with a win is a huge boost for his guys and it shows just how far they've come over the past year.
"These guys stepped up and this is a great way to start the Big Ten season," Davis said. "The team is getting better and this is an exciting time for us."
• Wisconsin earns a Big Ten win for the first time since Feb. 20, 2011 and snaps an eight-game conference losing streak.
• Jackson Hein (6-0) and Connor Medbery (5-0) each win to remain undefeated in dual meet competitions.
• Tom Kelliher, Tyler Graff, Frank Cousins and Scott Liegel also notch victories for the Badgers.
The dual was a back and forth affair throughout the night, and, according to Davis, it was the wins at 133 lbs. and 165 lbs., which gave the Badgers the boost they needed to win.
In those matches, Tom Kelliher won at 133 lbs. in a 3-0 decision and Frank Cousins won at 165 lbs. in a 11-5 decision.
"Those matches were the two we knew we needed to win coming into this dual meet and both guys stepped up really well," Davis said of Kelliher and Cousins's performances.
Still, through eight matches the Badgers were clinging to a slim, 13-12, advantage, but were able to seal the win with wins from Jackson Hein and Connor Medbery at 197 lbs. and heavyweight, respectively. With the wins, both Hein and Medbery remain undefeated in dual competitions this season.
Hein's 4-0 decision win at 197 lbs., put Wisconsin up four points with a match to go, effectively sealing the win. Davis said Hein has made a lot of progress in his wrestling this season, which he in part credits to the work Hein has put in with assistant coach Trevor Brandvold. That hard work has paid off so far with an undefeated dual meet record as well as Friday's dual-changing match win.
"We needed that win to wrap things up a little bit," Davis said of Hein's victory. "Jackson is doing a great job. Trevor is doing a great job with him this year. He's off to a good start and I couldn't be happier for him."
Wisconsin needed an upset from No. 14 Medbery over the Spartans' No. 10-ranked Mike McClure to seal the deal and Medbery didn't disappoint, going on the offensive against McClure and coming away with the 6-2 win.
Davis said that he has stressed offensive play with his team and it was good for the Badgers to see that pay off with Medbery's upset win.
"He went for the takedowns," Davis said of Medbery. "He didn't try to stall it out or win by easy go behind. He penetrated and finished his shots and that was a positive and good for our guys to see."
No. 9 Tyler Graff earned the only extra point win of the dual, scoring a major decision, 23-9, at 141 lbs. Scott Liegel also won for the Badgers at 174 lbs., to round out what was a total team effort win for Wisconsin.
The Badgers return to action, and continue Big Ten competition, Sunday at 1 p.m. on the road against No. 9 Nebraska. Fans can watch the dual live on the Big Ten Digital Network at BTN.com.
125 Josh Heinzer (MSU) dec. Matt Cavallaris (WIS), 11-7 3 0
133 Tom Kelliher (WIS) dec. Brandon Fifield (MSU), 3-0 3 3
141 #9 Tyler Graff (WIS) maj. dec. Nick Trimble (MSU), 23-9 7 3
149 Dan Osterman (MSU) dec. Cole Schmitt (WIS), 6-5 7 6
157 David Cheza (MSU) dec. Kalvin York (WIS), 8-3 7 9
165 Frank Cousins (WIS) dec. Ryan Watts (MSU), 11-5 10 9
174 Scott Liegel (WIS) dec. Jordan Wohfert (MSU), 6-5 13 9
184 John Rizqallah (MSU) dec. Ben Cox (WIS), 6-0 13 12
197 Jackson Hein (WIS) dec. Nick McDiarmid (MSU), 4-0 16 12
HWT # 14 Connor Medbery (WIS) dec. #10 Mike McClure (MSU), 6-2 19 12