COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Facing its biggest challenge of the season, the Wisconsin wrestling team (6-1, 1-1 B1G) suffered its first dual meet loss on the year, falling, 23-13, to the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 B1G).
The Badgers got on the board first in the dual thanks to sophomore Connor Brown, who returned to action for the first time since suffering an injury against Nebraska on Nov. 16. He celebrated his return by earning a 7-2 decision over OSU's Brakan Mead at 125 pounds.
Ohio State won their matches in bunches, beginning with a run in the next three weight classes. Wisconsin's senior Jens Lantz fell to No. 6 Luke Pletcher by a 4-0 decision in which Lantz had some great chances but couldn't capitalize. Pletcher's win was followed by two major decisions for the Buckeyes, with No. 2 Joey McKenna defeating junior Tristan Moran, 14-2, and No. 3 Micah Jordan defeating junior Cole Martin, 14-4.
Looking for a way to stop the bleeding, the answer for Wisconsin came from sophomore Zander Wick. At 157 pounds, Wick held off a late attack from Elijah Cleary and recorded a takedown of his own to secure the 7-3 decision.
The wins stayed in the family in the next match, as sophomore Evan Wick cruised to a major decision over Ryan Ferro, winning 13-1, to pull Wisconsin within one for the time being.
However, Ohio State ripped off another run, one Wisconsin couldn't come back from. First, senior Ryan Christensen was upset by Ethan Smith at 174 pounds, dropping a tight 10-9 decision. That match was followed by a 21-8 major decision for Ohio State's No. 1 Myles Martin over junior Mason Reinhardt, and No. 3 Kollin Moore pinned freshman Andrew Salemme to extend the OSU lead to 23-10.
But the dual ended on a high note for Wisconsin at heavyweight. Freshman Trent Hillger lived up to his newly-minted No. 9 ranking by controlling No. 14 Chase Singletary throughout the match and earning a 6-1 decision to finish the day. With the win, Hillger remains undefeated on the season and picked up his third ranked win of the year.
Next up, the Badgers will be competing against a lot of high-quality opponents at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30.
On today's dual
"I don't think we had our best performance tonight, and when you wrestle a team that is as good as Ohio State you need to have your best performance to be able to compete and win."
On the first semester
"I'm proud of our first semester, the way we've come, the way we've built this program. We've been sky high all semester and this was our first setback. I'm very excited to see how we come back after the break and compete, and then it's time to get ready for the brutal Big Ten season and the NCAA tournament. I'm proud of our guys for the first semester. Tough night tonight, but these guys are winners and they're going to return and we'll be ready to roll."
125: No. 19 Connor Brown (Wisconsin) dec. Brakan Mead (Ohio State), 7-2
133: No. 7 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) dec. Jenz Lantz (Wisconsin), 4-0
141: No. 2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State) maj. dec. No. 14 Tristan Moran (Wisconsin), 14-2
149: No. 3 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) maj. dec. No. 20 Cole Martin (Wisconsin), 14-4
157: Zander Wick (Wisconsin) dec. Elijah Cleary (Ohio State), 7-3
165: No. 2 Evan Wick (Wisconsin) maj. dec. Ryan Ferro (Ohio State), 13-1
174: Ethan Smith (Ohio State) dec. No. 9 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin), 10-9
184: No. 1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) maj. dec. Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin), 21-8
197: No. 3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) pinned Andrew Salemme (Wisconsin), 2:04
285: No. 9 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) dec. No. 17 Chase Singletary (Ohio State), 6-1