MADISON, Wis. -- Before tonight's road dual meet against the No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers, head coach Chris Bono told his team that all he wanted from them was to fight. And fight they did, as the No. 15 Badgers (4-0, 1-0 B1G) defeated Nebraska (3-1, 0-1 B1G) 22-21, with Wisconsin taking the win after winning the first tiebreaker criteria of pin advantage.
After Nebraska took the early lead when No. 3 Tyler Berger defeated sophomore Patrick Spray by major decision, sophomore No. 2 Evan Wick got the Badgers on the board after narrowly missing the major decision against No. 11 Isaiah White, winning 12-5.
Next up, senior No. 19 Ryan Christensen took on, and took down, No. 10 Mikey Labriola, pinning him in the last second of the match to secure the upset victory that would prove crucial to the team result.
At 184 pounds, junior Mason Reinhardt demonstrated the fight that Coach Bono has instilled in his team. Reinhardt faced off with No. 3 Taylor Venz and gave him everything he had, before ultimately falling in a 6-5 decision.
Freshman Andrew Salemme lost via tech fall to No. 18 Eric Schultz, 23-8, to give Nebraska the lead, but freshman No. 16 Trent Hillger responded. Hillger was in complete control in the heavyweight matchup, defeating Patrick Grayson 11-2 to earn the major decision.
The dual missed out on a highly anticipated matchup when sophomore No. 18 Connor Brown was injured very early in the 125 weight class, forfeiting the match to No. 5 Zeke Moisey.
At 133 pounds, senior Jens Lantz entered the match without a dual win this season, but he fought for a 10-3 decision over Tucker Sjomeling to put the Badgers back within striking distance.
Then junior No. 13 Tristan Moran showed up, securing the pin on Christian Miller in 1:25 to put the Badgers back in front by 3. Junior Cole Martin dropped the final match at 149 pounds 8-6 to Collin Purinton, but Wisconsin won the tiebreaker criteria thanks to its two falls and secured the first Big Ten win under head coach Chris Bono.
Straight from the mat
Head Coach Chris Bono
"Man I'm so proud of these guys, as you can tell we're doing this as a team. It's not me, it's not the staff, it's us 20 strong and with the administration behind us. I want these guys behind me because we are doing this as a team, we're turning this program around and we're just fired up to get this thing done."
"Huge win for us, it's a change in the program. We're here to set our foot in the Big Ten, we're here to do great things. We train hard, our guys are in shape. All I ask of them is their best effort and their best fight and they did that tonight. Really proud of them and that was a heck of a college dual meet."
157: #3 Tyler Berger (NEB) major dec. Patrick Spray (WIS), 16-6 (NEB 4, WIS 0)
165: #2 Evan Wick (WIS) dec. #11 Isaiah White (NEB), 12-5 (NEB 4, WIS 3)
174: #19 Ryan Christensen (WIS) FALL (6:59) #10 Mikey Labriola (NEB) (WIS 8, NEB 4)
184: #3 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Mason Reinhardt (WIS), 6-5 (WIS 8, NEB 7)
197: Eric Schultz (NEB) tech. fall Andrew Salemme (WIS), 23-8 (NEB, 12, WIS 8)
HWT: Trent Hillger (WIS) major dec. Patrick Grayson (NEB), 11-2 (WIS 12, NEB 11)
125: #6 Zeke Moisey (NEB) inj. default #17 Connor Brown (WIS) (NEB 18, WIS 12)
133: Jens Lantz (WIS) dec. Tucker Sjomeling (NEB), 10-3 (NEB 18, WIS 15)
141: #13 Tristan Moran (WIS) FALL (1:25) Christian Miller (NEB) (WIS 21, NEB 18)
149: Collin Purinton (NEB) dec. Cole Martin (WIS), 8-6 (WIS 21, NEB 21)
Wisconsin wins by criteria 21b., which is most wins by fall, forfeit or default. The Badgers had two wins by fall while the Huskers had one injury default victory.