CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Back-to-back wins by the No. 18-ranked Wisconsin wrestling team Saturday allowed the Badgers to wrestle their way into Sunday's consolation semifinals at the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals. Wisconsin will face eighth-seeded Boise State at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the winner advancing into the consolation final for a chance at a fifth-place finish. A 24-11 loss to No. 6 seed Cornell in their first match of the day dropped the Badgers into the consolation bracket, where UW went on to down Arizona State, 23-10, and No. 4 seed Central Michigan, 21-13, to advance to the semifinals. "We competed a lot harder in those last two matches," said UW associate head coach Donny Pritzlaff. "As a team, the guys just scrapped a lot harder to grind out those two wins." Pritzlaff coached the Badgers on Saturday in place of head coach Barry Davis, whose brother, Martin, has been missing since leaving his home near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last Sunday. "We've been talking about it with the team all week, and we've been telling them that we just have to go out and wrestle," Pritzlaff said. "It's an extremely difficult situation that Coach Davis is in, but by us winning and performing well, that's how we can help. "We're keeping Coach Davis in our thoughts." The Badgers had three wrestlers go 3-0 on the day, as No. 2-ranked Kyle Ruschell (149 lbs.), No. 1-ranked Andrew Howe (165 lbs.) and Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) claimed wins in each of their matchups. Ruschell scored a 9-0 major decision over No.7-ranked Cornell's Corey Manson at 149, as did Howe by a 12-4 mark over 12th-ranked Justin Kerber at 165. Rutt added the Badgers' third and final win against Cornell with an 8-7 decision over No. 17 Steve Bosak at 184. Howe scored another major decision in the Badgers' consolation matchup with No. 22 Arizona State, as the Badgers claimed seven of the 10 bouts contested. He tallied a 16-5 win over Kyle DeBerry to cap a run of five consecutive wins for UW after the Sun Devils opened the match with a major decision of their own. Tyler Graff started that run with a 9-1 major decision victory over Ben Ashmore at 133 lbs., and Cole Schmitt (141), Ruschell (149) and Greg Burke (149) followed with consecutive decisions before Howe extended the Badgers' lead to 17-4 with four weights remaining. The Badgers split those final bouts, with Rutt scoring a 5-2 decision over Jake Meredith at 184 and Jackson Hein claiming a 6-3 decision over Anthony Pike at 197. Despite having just 25 minutes to recover from their dual against Arizona State, the Badgers tallied another six individual wins against Central Michigan to wrap up the first day of competition. The fifth-ranked Chippewas entered the weekend a perfect 7-0 before falling to Minnesota in a quarterfinal matchup Saturday. Much as they did against the Sun Devils, UW bounced back from a major-decision loss to open the match by scoring three consecutive wins. Graff scored a 7-3 decision over No. 9-ranked Scotti Sentes at 133 lbs. to get things started, with Cole Schmitt following with an 8-4 decision over Conor Beebe at 141. Ruschell then completed his perfect day with a 16-0 technical fall against Justin McDermitt. Howe then scored a 6-2 win over 19th-ranked Tyler Grayson at 165 and Rutt won an 18-6 major decision at 184 before Trevor Brandvold sealed the victory for UW with a 10-8 decision over Eric Simaz at 197. Pritzlaff was pleased with the Badgers' progress through the day. "We had three (individual) wins against Cornell, but the last two duals were the effort we were looking for from the team," he said. Competition continues Sunday at the UNI-Dome beginning at 9 a.m., with the consolation final set for 1 p.m.Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print



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