MADISON, Wis. -- The Badgers finished the regular season in style at the Field House. Wisconsin (9-6, 3-6 B1G) won seven of 10 matches against SIUE (2-12, 1-6 MAC), with every win a major decision or a technical fall, en route to a 30-15 victory.
It was a great day for Wisconsin's seniors, as the team honored Jens Lantz, Ryan Christensen and Jared Scharenbrock before the dual began.
Lantz closed out his Field House career in dominating fashion at 133 pounds, routing Austin Macias with a third period technical fall, 19-4.
Christensen returned for his first match at 174 pounds after suffering an injury at Midlands, returning in time for one last match in Madison. He got right back to his old ways in his match, defeating Cameron Kelly by a 13-0 major decision.
Both wrestlers were given standing ovations by the Badger faithful, and sent out for an encore applause from the crowd.
Wisconsin's underclassmen put on a show as well.
At 125 pounds, sophomore Ethan Rotondo entered the third period against Gage Datlovsky trailing 4-3. Rotondo went on to dominate the final period, capping off the match with a four point near fall just before the buzzer to earn a 16-5 major decision.
Junior Michael Cullen earned his first dual win of the season for Wisconsin at 141 pounds, defeating Lucas Bernal by a 12-3 major decision.
The third period dominance continued at 149 pounds, as junior Cole Martin scored four takedowns in the last two minutes, solidifying a 19-8 major decision.
Coming off his first dual loss of the season, sophomore Evan Wick responded with a strong performance, cruising to a 15-2 major decision over Nate Higgins.
The final win of the day for the Badgers came at 184 pounds via junior Mason Reinhardt, who recorded a season-high 11 takedowns to earn a 25-10 technical fall victory.
Freshman Garrett Model dropped a tight 17-14 decision to Justin Ruffin at 157 pounds, freshman Andrew Salemme lost via fall to Colton McKiernan at heavyweight, and Wisconsin forfeited the 197-pound weight class.
Next up, Wisconsin will travel to Minneapolis on March 9-10 to compete against the best in the Big Ten tournament.
Straight from the mat
Head Coach Chris Bono
On the win:
"It was a great crowd, great first year in the Fieldhouse and awesome to end on a great note. It's postseason so now it's time to get ready. Nothing changes. We've been very consistent in our training. We'll keep our day off the same, but really we have one week of training then we'll head into Big Tens the second week. No wrestling next week, but we'll train right through this weekend. We're training for the NCAA tournament, and the Big Tens are the next step. Nothing will change for training and we'll stay consistent with these guys."
On takeaways from the dual:
"When you look at SIUE, it's a team that we should go out and beat. But if you let those guys hang around and sneak a takedown at the end and beat you, it's a bad thing. I was very, very happy that in all the matches we were very dominant. We just have to make sure we start fast and end fast and get guys off the matt as soon as possible."
On getting takedowns in the third period:
"That's what our programs about. We want to win every third period. We believe we're going to win every overtime. That's what we train for, that's what we tell these guys every day. Third period, we need to make sure we're within striking distance and we can beat anybody in the country because of our training and the condition we're in. I'm very happy with what they did in the third period, and that's what you're going to see from this team every match."
Senior Ryan Christensen
On returning to the mat:
"It was awesome. The goal was to be back by Big Tens so I made it back early. It was an amazing opportunity to finish out my career and get that last match at the Fieldhouse in front of our fans. I feel great. I'm not limited. It's awesome to be back. Last week, as I started to pick up my practice level and get back to that competition level, I started to realize it was a possibility that I could get back so that was the goal from last week. You can't underestimate anyone at the D-I level, so I had to prepare for this match just like I would the Big Ten Championship if I'm there. Having the mindset that I want to go dominate this guy, I know that I've put in the work and that I'm able to do that."
On his time at Wisconsin:
"It's been a great five years. It's been a long journey with a lot of people supporting me. Being from out of state so far away in Washington, my teammates' families have brought me in. A lot of people from around the area that I've gotten to know have been amazing in supporting me and helping me really feel at home here. Through the past coaches, these coaches, and the fans have been super great the whole time. I'm grateful like I said to get back and have one more opportunity to wrestle in front of all the people who have made me feel so welcome here these past five years."
Senior Jens Lantz
On nerves from senior day:
"Bono did a good job of keeping us relaxed. It didn't get brought up a lot. He preached Big Tens and NCAAs. It meant a lot to me. I had a lot of family come out. It didn't really hit me until after the dual to be honest. I stayed focused, had a task at hand so I made sure that was the first thing I took care of, then it was nice to see family and friends."
On what mark he wants to leave on the program:
"I want to make sure that people know that I gave it my all every time I stepped on the mat. I put my best foot forward win or lose. I know I came in here as a freshman and it was being an All-American, otherwise busted career. But it's not that. Obviously that was my goal, and that's what I came here to do, but I want everyone to know that every time I stepped on the mat, I was going to give it my all. I think that goes for a lot of guys on the team."
On gaining confidence going into Big Tens:
"Confidence is hard to come by in the Big Ten, but you just have to notch a few wins here and there. Last week was tough. I never got myself going, but the coaches did a really good job of letting me know it's behind me. We go through a lot of films, and it's obvious that my attacks are there. I just have to believe in myself, and if I believe in myself I can beat anybody in the country. It's there, I just have to believe it. We have the best coaches in the country when it comes to motivation. It's such a great environment to be around, it's hard not to be motivated. That's big for me, having those guys that want the best for me. They believe in me and they tell me every day. It's hard not to believe in yourself with these guys."
125 - Ethan Rotondo (UW) over Gage Datlovsky (SIUE) by maj. dec. 13-5
133 - Jens Lantz (UW) over Austin Macias (SIUE) by tech. fall 19-4
141 - Michael Cullen (UW) over Lucas Bernal (SIUE) by maj. dec. 12-3
149 - No. 12 Cole Martin (UW) over Tyshawn Williams (SIUE) by maj. dec. 19-8
157 - Justin Ruffin (SIUE) over Garrett Model (UW) by dec. 17-14
165 - No. 3 Evan Wick (UW) over Nate Higgins (SIUE) by maj. dec. 15-2
174 - Ryan Christensen (UW) over Cameron Kelly (SIUE) by maj. dec. 13-0
184 - Mason Reinhardt (UW) over Sergio Villalobos (SIUE) by tech. fall 25-10
197 - Christian Dulaney (SIUE) wins by forfeit
HWT - Colton McKiernan (SIUE) over Andrew Salemme (UW) by fall 2:20