No. 15 Wisconsin beats No. 11 Nebraska on tiebreaker, with pins by Christensen and Moran

By Ryan Weinkauf, University of Wisconsin | Nov. 17, 2018, 12:29 a.m. (ET)
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."

Wisconsin 22 Nebraska 21
Nov. 16, 2018
Lincoln, Neb. (Devaney Center)

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)
Attendance: 2,189


Lincoln, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska Huskers wrestling team dropped its first dual of the season as Big Ten play opened up tonight against the #18 Wisconsin Badgers. After ten matches, the two teams were knotted up at 21 apiece, but Wisconsin was awarded an extra point based on tiebreaker 21b., which gave them the edge based on the number of pins, forfeits and injury defaults (Wisconsin had two, while the Huskers had one).

The dual started strong for NU as Tyler Berger, the nation’s No. 3 wrestler at 157 pounds, took a major decision over Wisconsin’s Patrick Spray. Berger (4-0) has tallied major decision victories in all four of his bouts this season.

In one of the most highly anticipated matches of the evening, Nebraska’s Isaiah White (165) battled Wisconsin’s Evan Wick. These two faced-off against one another twice last season, with each wrestler taking one match by decision. Tonight, the 11th-ranked White registered a couple takedowns early, but No. 2 Wick took control in the second period and never let up. Wick took a 12-5 decision to bring Wisconsin to within 4-3.

No. 19 Ryan Christensen of Wisconsin took the next bout over No. 10 Mikey Labriola at 174 pounds. After being honored as the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Tuesday, Labriola took a late 6-4 lead after a third-period takedown, but Christensen ended up winning by fall (6:59) in the final seconds. Wisconsin only gained five team points from this victory, however, as the bench received a penalty for excessive celebration, giving them five points instead of what should have been six for a pin.

Nebraska’s Taylor Venz, the No. 3 wrestler in the nation at 184 pounds, grinded out a 6-5 decision over Mason Reinhardt. A second-period reversal and a four-point nearfall by Venz turned an early 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 lead, as he remained in control throughout the rest of the bout to stay undefeated on the season at 4-0.

Sophomore grappler Eric Schultz (197) came out of the gates hot tonight as he dominated Wisconsin’s Andrew Salemme from start to finish. Schultz won by tech. fall (6:41), 23-8. At the halfway point of the dual, the Huskers held a 12-8 lead over the Badgers.

During the intermission, the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Huskers wrestling teams were honored for their achievements, which included two fourth-place NCAA Championship finishes and a 2009 Big 12 Championship.

The heavyweight bout between Patrick Grayson and Trent Hillger resulted in an 11-2 major decision victory for Hillger. In the highly 125-pound match between No. 6 Zeke Moisey and No. 17 Connor Brown of Wisconsin, Moisey won in the opening minute of the first period by injury default, adding six points to the Huskers team score to put them up 18-12 with three matches to go.

Wisconsin took both the 133 and 141-pound bouts as Jens Lantz worked a 10-3 decision over Tucker Sjomeling and No. 13 Tristan Moran pinned Nebraska’s Christian Miller (1:25). Heading into the final bout, the Badgers led 21-18.

Needing a victory to keep Nebraska alive, Collin Purinton went down 2-0 to Cole Martin after an early takedown. A three-point nearfall put Purinton behind 5-0, but a reversal and a four-point nearfall of his own put Purinton up 6-5. The junior from Banks, Ore., grinded out an 8-6 victory to tie the team score at 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.

Up Next:

Nebraska heads to the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. on Nov. 30 for the two-day tournament. After duals with NC State and North Carolina on the road, NU will be off until Jan. 6, 2019, when they return home for a dual against Northwestern.