Clum, Gutnik prep for final title shots

first_imgGrappling with success, six Wisconsin wrestlers came out on top at the Big Ten tournament to qualify for the NCAA Championships Mar. 16-18 in Oklahoma City, Okla. As a team, the Badgers finished seventh overall with 75.6 points, while Minnesota won the championships, beating last year’s winner Illinois 138-125.Though Wisconsin finished lower than coach Barry Davis would have liked, he is pleased with his wrestlers’ hard work and the all wrestlers who qualified. At the same time, he’d like to see them get beyond the satisfaction of being there and focus on winning it all.”That’s what you work for,” Davis said. “They’ve earned their right to be there.”The highlight of the Big Ten Championships for Wisconsin was senior Tom Clum’s title match-up against top-ranked Mack Reiter of Minnesota at 133 pounds. It took three overtime periods before Clum scored a takedown to take the gold 6-4 against the defending Big Ten champion. Those in attendance deemed it the match of the century according to Davis.Clum, now a two-time Big Ten champion, and Ed Gutnik (141) are the only two seniors advancing to the national meet, as heavyweight Lee Kramer and 174-pound Kelly Flaherty fell in the early goings to end their Badger careers on a losing note.Joining the two seniors in Oklahoma City will be seventh-place finishers Colin Cudd (125) and Dallas Herbst (197), fifth-place finisher Craig Henning (157), and fourth-place finisher Tyler Turner (149). Jake Donar finished eighth at 165 pounds and will go to the national tournament as an alternate. Though no one aside from Clum placed higher than fourth, all of those advancing finished better than their initial pre-seeds.”Every guy we’re taking was above their seed except for Craig Henning and in that weight-class it can come out different every time,” Davis said. “These guys stepped up and did really well.”Big Ten Champion Minnesota wrestled up to a No. 1 ranking as four of their grapplers won individual titles — 184-pound Roger Kish, Dustin and CP Schlatter (149) and (157), and heavyweight Cole Konrad.Heading into the NCAA Championship, Konrad boasts a perfect 36-0 mark on the season and freshman Dustin Schlatter is 37-1. Both of these top-ranked individuals are primed to win the title in their respective weight-classes. Other top contenders from the Big Ten include Northwestern’s Jake Hebert (174) who is 32-0, Michigan’s 165-pound Ryan Churella (25-0), and Michigan State’s Andy Simmons (125) who is 29-0 this season.At 125 pounds, the unranked Colin Cudd will have his hands full with Simmons and Big 12 champion Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma, who is ranked No. 2 nationally. Another guy to look out for is Oklahoma State’s Scott Coleman, who lost in the championships a 2-1 nail-biter against Hazewinkel.Tom Clum aims to end his collegiate career on the victory stand. Edinboro’s senior Shawn Bunch who is 30-1 on the season will be Clum’s toughest test at 133 pounds, outside of Minnesota’s Mack Reiter for Clum to achieve his goal. Also looking to make a push for the title will be Big 12 champion Nathan Morgan of Oklahoma State.Tyler Turner will face a load of talent in the 149-pound weight-class. After going through somewhat of a funk during the second-half of the season, Turner turned it on at the Big Ten’s.”I think Tyler Turner wrestled well,” Davis said. “I think that he’s back to the first-half of the season when he competed, his body looks good and strong again, for a while there he just lost a lot of energy, his body wasn’t the same. [Now] I think after a couple weeks of practice his body is as strong as it has ever been.”Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota is one the clear favorites, but Tony Eustice of Iowa and Mark Disalvo of Central Michigan throw their weight around with as much success as Schlatter, so this class should be a tough one. The wildcard coming in is Troy Tirapelle of Illinois, who went into the Big Ten Championships unseeded — yet ended up finishing second.After somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish at the championships, Craig Henning looks to rebound and hopefully finish in that position or better at the NCAA’s. Reigning champion Alex Tirapelle of Illinois proved to be human as CP Schlatter of Minnesota upended the senior to win the Big Ten Championships. Also look for two other guys to make a push for the NCAA Championship in this stacked 157-pound division — Big 12 winner Trent Paulson of Iowa State and Matt Lebe of West Virginia.While the meet may not result in any Badgers crowned NCAA Champion, the experience gained by wrestling at the highest level will be well worth it.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *