MADISON – For the third time in as many duals, the Wisconsin wrestling team saw the final outcome determined by the last bout of the day.
Unfortunately for the Badgers, Sunday’s finale didn’t go their way in a 17-16 loss to No.16 Minnesota in a Big Ten Conference dual at the UW Field House.
Though the dual ultimately came down to the final match, there were many other opportunities that had Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis thinking of what could have been.
“We had our chances,” Davis said. “We had opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize on some of them. That’s tough. We put ourselves in positions, but we just didn’t pull it off. That’s hard.”
Andrew Crone brought the crowd to its feet with a 9-7 win over No.15 Jake Short in sudden victory at 149 pounds.
Short was fresh off a win against 2014 NCAA Champion Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern on Friday.
Crone erased a 5-1 deficit in the third period to force sudden victory. He then scored a takedown just 11 seconds into the extra frame to give the Badgers a 3-0 lead.
“After the match, I was just having fun. It was a big win,” Crone said. “I wanted to get the crowd into it, get the crowd pumped up, get my teammates pumped up. I was pumped up. It was really awesome. That’s what you do this sport for: moments like that.”
TJ Ruschell (157 pounds) kept the energy level up in the first period of the next match. He rocketed out to a 7-2 lead over the Gophers’ Brandon Kingsley after the first three minutes, including four nearfall points that almost resulted in a much-needed pin.
However, Kingsley went on to score 11 unanswered points to capture Minnesota’s first victory of the day and even the score at 3 apiece.
“We had a lead at 57 and we just stopped wrestling. You just can’t do that,” Davis said. “Right now, he’s fighting himself. If you’re fighting yourself, you’re not going to win. You can’t fight yourself.”
Isaac Jordan (165) moved to 18-0 on the year with a 13-4 major decision over Brad Dolezal, putting the Badgers back on top 7-3.
Minnesota pulled within one thanks to Nick Wanzek’s 5-2 win over Ricky Robertson at 174 pounds.
Trailing 4-1 at the onset of the third period, Roberston scored a quick escape to pull within two. Needing a takedown and some ride time to force overtime, Robertson was unable to score in the final 1:57.
“We have some work to do there,” Davis said. “(Robertson) is better than that. There’s just no energy there right now. We have to dig deeper at the end.”
The Badgers extended their lead thanks to Ryan Christensen who won a thriller at 184 over Chris Pfarr.
Leading 3-2 after two periods, Christensen notched an escape to go up 4-2. Pfarr was able to score the tying takedown with five seconds remaining to force sudden victory.
Christensen scored a takedown 26 seconds in to the extra stanza to earn the decision and give UW a 10-6 lead at intermission.
Minnesota took its first lead of the day with wins from No.3 Brett Pfarr (197) and No.8 Michael Kroells (285).
Pfarr topped Nic Veling by technical fall and Kroells earned a decision.
Sunday marked the first career start for Veling who got the nod in favor of a struggling Eric Peissig.
Wisconsin got back on track with a win from Johnny Jimenez at 125 pounds.
In search of an extra team point for a major decision, Jimenez opted to give Petry an escape with 35 seconds remaining in the third period with riding time secured and an 8-2 lead.
However, Jimenez wasn’t able to come up with the takedown he needed to secure the major and the Badgers were forced to settle for only three team points.
This made it 14-13 Gophers with two matches remaining.
Seventh- ranked Ryan Taylor put the Badgers ahead with a 7-3 win over Sam Brancale, making the dual score 16-14 in favor of UW with one match to go.
It was Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn who dealt the decisive blow, a 6-0 win over Luke Rowh that gave the Gophers the three team points they needed to win the dual.
Rowh was able to get in on the legs of seventh-ranked Thorn on a couple of occasions in the opening period, but was unable to convert the chances into points.
Following a scoreless first, Thorn picked up three points in the second with an escape and a takedown. He then tallied three more points in the third with a takedown and riding time advantage.
With the loss, the Badgers fall to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten. Minnesota moves to 9-7, 5-3.
Wisconsin held a 16-11 advantage in takedowns. Sunday marked the first time this season the Badgers had more takedowns than their opponent in Big Ten competition.
UW hits the road this weekend with a dual against No.12 Ohio State on Friday and Maryland on Sunday.
Between now and then, Davis plans on trying to pick up Robertson and Ruschell.
“Right now, the biggest thing is we have to get Ricky and TJ Ruschell turned around here,” Davis said. “As a coach, you have to figure things out and think about things and watch video. It’s work. You have to work or nothing good ever happens.”
No.16 Minnesota 17, Wisconsin 16
149: Andrew Crone (WIS) dec. No.15 Jake Short, 9-7 (SV-1)
157: Brandon Kingsley (MINN) dec. TJ Ruschell, 13-7
165: No.3 Isaac Jordan (WIS) maj. dec. Brad Dolezal, 13-4
174: Nick Wanek (MINN) dec. Ricky Robertson, 5-2
184: Ryan Christensen (WIS) dec. Chris Pfarr, 6-4 (SV-1)
197: No.3 Brett Pfarr (MINN) tf. Nic Veling, 17-2
285: No.8 Michael Kroells (MINN) dec. Brock Horwath, 7-3
125: Johnny Jimenez (WIS) dec. Skyler Petry, 9-3
133: No.7 Ryan Taylor (WIS) dec. Sam Brancale, 7-3
141: No.7 Tommy Thorn (MINN) dec. Luke Rowh, 6-0