Northwestern upsets No. 11 Wisconsin, 25-18 in Madison

By Northwestern Univ and Univ. of Wisconsin | Jan. 18, 2019, 11:35 p.m. (ET)
Photo of Northwestern heavyweight Conan Jennings courtesy of

Northwestern press release

MADISON, Wisc. – Northwestern pulled off an impressive upset of No. 11 Wisconsin Friday night, taking down the Badgers, 25-18, on their home mat.

NU was victorious in six of the ten bouts, winning each of the first two as well as the last two to seal the result. The win was the second of the season over a top-15 squad for the 'Cats after defeating No. 10 Virginia Tech in November.

The Wildcats took a quick 6-0 lead after No. 1 Sebastian Rivera won by forfeit at 125, with the redshirt sophomore improving to a perfect 16-0 on the campaign. Colin Valdiviez followed it up with a dominant performance against Jens Lantz, winning by major decision to put Northwestern up 10-0 after two matches.

After a pair of wins for the hosts, No. 3 Ryan Deakin re-upped the advantage for Chicago's Big Ten Team with a dismantling of UW's Devin Bahr at 157. Deakin notched a win by technical fall at the buzzer, adding five points to the visitors' cause as they held a 15-7 lead at the midway point of the contest.

At 174, redshirt senior Johnny Sebastian came through with another win by bonus points, cruising to a major decision over Patrick Spray. The 'Cats held a one-point lead with just two bouts remaining to decide the match.

Zack Chakonis took the mat against Beau Breske at 197 in a tightly-contested and low-scoring affair. A third-period escape and riding time point gave Chakonis a victory via 3-1 decision and, crucially, stretched the team lead to four points going into the final bout.

The heavyweight contest featured two ranked grapplers in No. 19 Conan Jennings and No. 9 Trent Hillger. The pair proved evenly matched as the score stood tied, 2-2, after three periods. Neither wrestler was able to move the needle until Jennings finally recorded a point and sealed the victory in the third extra period, giving the Wildcat a 3-2 (TB-1) decision over the highly-ranked Badger.

The victory by Jennings also punctuated the first conference win of the season for the Wildcats in the stacked Big Ten Conference, and the second-straight dual victory over Wisconsin. Northwestern defeated the 16th-ranked Badgers by a score of 18-14 in Evanston a year ago.

Chicago's Big Ten Team will be back in action on Sunday, returning home to host No. 7 Minnesota at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The action is set to start at noon CT.

Northwestern 25, #11 Wisconsin 18
125: Sebastian Rivera (NU) win by forfeit (FF)
133: Colin Valdiviez (NU) maj. dec. Jens Lantz (UW), 12-3
141: #16 Tristan Moran (UW) dec. Alec McKenna (NU), 2-1
149: #13 Cole Martin (UW) maj. dec. Shayne Oster (NU), 11-2
157: #3 Ryan Deakin (NU) Tech. Fall Devin Bahr (UW), 20-5 (7:00)
165: #3 Evan Wick (UW) wins by disqualification over Tyler Morland (NU) (DQ)
174: Johnny Sebastian (NU) maj. dec. Patrick Spray (UW), 12-3
184: Mason Reinhardt (UW) Tech. Fall Brendan Devine (NU), 17-2 (5:36)
197: Zack Chakonis (NU) dec. Beau Breske (UW), 3-1
285: #19 Conan Jennings dec. #9 Trent Hillger (UW), 3-2 (TB-1)

Wisconsin drops tough loss to Northwestern
Badgers lose 25-18 at the Field House
by Ryan Weinkauf, Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – Dealing with injuries to starters at three weight classes, the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers (6-4, 1-4 B1G) dropped a tough 25-18 loss to Northwestern (3-5, 1-2 B1G) at the UW Field House.

The Badgers had to work from behind right off the bat, as No. 14 sophomore Connor Brown wasn't able to wrestle due to illness, and Wisconsin forfeited at the 125-pound weight class. The forfeit was followed by UW senior Jens Lantz losing by a 12-3 major decision to Colin Valdivez at 133 pounds to put the Badgers in an early 10-point hole.

No. 16 junior Tristan Moran got Wisconsin on the board at 141 pounds, fighting for a tough 2-1 decision over Alec McKenna. No. 19 junior Cole Martin followed with an impressive performance at 149 pounds, controlling Shayne Oster of Northwestern for most of the match en route to an 11-2 major decision.

After facing No. 1 Jason Nolf of Penn State last weekend, tonight UW freshman Devin Bahr faced No. 3 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern, and suffered a third period technical fall, giving the Wildcats an eight-point cushion in the dual with a 15-7 lead.

Steady as ever, No. 3 sophomore Evan Wick had an interesting match at 165 pounds against Tyler Morland of NU. Wick was in control all match, but it ended via disqualification after Tyler Morland was hit with five stalling calls. The six points from the match were huge for the Badgers, pulling them within two of Northwestern.

However, Northwestern extended the lead again with the 174-pound match, as Johnny Sebastian defeated UW sophomore Patrick Spray, competing in place of the injured Ryan Christensen, by a 12-3 major decision.

Wisconsin came back with a strong response at 184 pounds, as the on-fire junior Mason Reinhardt demolished his opponent with a 17-2 technical fall, making the score 19-18 in Northwestern's favor with two matches.

Sophomore Beau Breske continues to look for his first win as a Badger, as he dropped a tough 3-1 decision to Zach Chakonis of Northwestern.

In the final match with the Badgers down four, No. 9 freshman Trent Hillger knew he needed a major decision or better to give the Badgers the win, and he came very close to back points multiple times in the match. But Hillger's opponent No. 19 Conan Jennings held him off and forced overtime, where Jennings won in TB-1 after Hillger was hit with a stalling call, sealing the 25-18 victory for Northwestern.

Up next, Wisconsin returns to the Field House on Jan. 25 for a border battle matchup with Minnesota at 7 p.m.

Straight from the mat
Head coach Chris Bono

On his initial thoughts on the match:
"These guys fight. We are down a couple men, but that's not an excuse, we have capable backups. We just didn't execute the way we should've executed. Give credit to those guys, they came in with a game plan, and they did a good job. They did a good job of winning some tough positions and out-wrestling us in a few situations."

On Cole Martin:
"Cole is consistent. He's steady, he always does the right things at the right time, all the time and it's starting to pay off for him. Cole's a great wrestler and I can see the confidence growing in Cole. He's going to start winning a lot of matches because of that confidence and the belief he has in himself."

On Evan Wick:
"Evan's a great wrestler for us. He's as good as they come. He's a great leader. He's got a few things he needs to work on, but he's been diligent in improving. I'm excited where this is going to take us with Evan. There's never a question mark when it comes to Evan Wick. You're getting his great attitude, his maximum effort, his great leadership and he's going to go as hard as he can."

On Mason Reinhardt:
"He's improved tremendously. The leadership, the work ethic, we love Mason Reinhardt and he came out tonight and did what he had to do. Very proud of how far he's come since coming here in April. The sky's the limit for Mason."

On regrouping the team after some tough losses:
"We'll be back in here Sunday and make sure everyone's minds are right. These guys are resilient, they'll get right on the horse, no doubt about it. We've got to be ready for the next event. They're all in, and they believe in what we're doing. They'll be ready to go Sunday night when we get back on the mat."

Evan Wick

On his game plan heading moving forward:
"I have some things that I'm working on, moving my feet, mainly. I'm trying to not get stuck in ties, like tonight. Guys have been doing really well against me in that area. Other than that, working on my versatility on top will be really beneficial."

On being a team leader and helping the team respond to tonight's loss:
"We went out there and wrestled hard. I'm really proud of a lot of the guys. It's kind of a bummer, Trent Hillger's match. He went out there and fought really hard, knowing that we needed those bonus points, and I think that's why he cut that guy, knowing that we needed those points, but he ended up getting punished for it. He took a hit for the team, he wanted to go out there and get bonus points, so I'm happy about that. Some of the guys were a bit nervous. We're down a couple of guys, so I think that got into everyone's head a little bit. So I think that if there's one thing we could do better it's to go out there and be ourselves and wrestle consistently."

On if it's been tough for the team to rebound from some tough losses:
"The coaching staff is very positive, so that makes it a lot easier for the team to regroup. We're not worried about individual losses, just about improving moving forward. Obviously, there's some critiques they had, but the guys seem to be responding well to the coaching staff's positivity."