Howe, Graff, Rutt and Brandvold all grab top-seven finishes at NCAA championships

March 19, 2011

?*Session V Bracket *|* Session V Team Standings *

PHILADELPHIA -- After Session V, the Wisconsin wrestling team sits in a tie for eighth place with Lehigh with 54.5 points in the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Four Badgers placed in the top seven including junior Andrew Howe, who finished in third place at 165 lbs. on Saturday.

Penn State leads the team race with 103.5 points followed by Cornell (89.5), Iowa (86.5), Oklahoma State (66.5), American (65.0), Minnesota (61.0) and Boise State (57.5).

Redshirt senior Trevor Brandvold and junior Travis Rutt slated their best career finishes at the Championships while redshirt sophomore Tyler Graff matched his best career finish.

At 165 lbs., No. 2 seed Howe slated a 3-1 decision over Maryland's Josh Asper. Howe entered the third period with a takedown and an escape to lead Asper, 3-0, heading into the final period. Asper notched his lone point in the final period.

Howe's victory earned him a trip to the third place match where he faced Ohio State's Colt Sponseller for the second time this year. After an explosive second period that included two takedowns and an escape, Howe defeated Sponseller 6-4 to clinch the third-place hardware. Howe defeated Sponseller in the final match of the Big Ten Championships at 165 lbs. to capture his third Big Ten title on March 6. He finished his junior season with a 27-3 overall mark.

Howe is a three-time All-American after taking home the crown in 2010 and placing second in 2009. The Badger is just the 11th wrestler in Wisconsin program history to slate at least three All-America honors and the first since Wisconsin associate head coach and former Badger Donny Pritzlaff collected four honors from 1998-2001.

Brandvold, a redshirt senior, wrapped up his collegiate career with his most successful season at Wisconsin, notching fourth place at 197 lbs. After defeating Iowa's Luke Lofthouse, 4-0, Brandvold faced No. 1 seed Cam Simaz (Cornell) for the first time this year. Despite scoring the first point of the match with an escape in the second period, the Badger fell to Simaz, 5-2. Simaz notched a reversal, takedown and a point for riding time in the match.

Brandvold finished his final season as a two-time All-American with an 18-2 overall record after placing sixth at the event last year. In addition, Brandvold wraps up his career as a two-time Big Ten Champion at 197 lbs.

No. 4 seed Graff opened the day with a 5-0 loss to Central Michigan's Scotti Sentes but the mood quickly changed in his final match of the season.

The No. 11 seed Graff notched two takedowns and an escape to send him to the fifth place match where the Badger excelled.

Graff recorded three takedowns and riding time to defeat Cornell's Mike Grey (No. 8 seed), 7-2. A two-time All-American, Graff placed fifth at the NCAA Championships for the second-straight year. The Badger finished the 2011 NCAA's with a 4-2 record to finish his second season of eligibility with a 31-5 overall record at 133 lbs.

After wrestling his way to the seventh place match yesterday, No. 4 seed Travis Rutt matched up against No. 8 seed Kevin Steinhaus of Minnesota for the third time this year. After collecting an escape, one takedown and riding time, Rutt defeated Steinhaus, 4-2.

Rutt slated an impressive 34-4 overall record, collecting the most wins of any Badger this year. The duo of Graff and Rutt are the only Badgers to slate over 30 wins in 2011.

The 2011 team's four All-Americans is tied for the second-most in school history. Wisconsin also had four All-Americans last year, three of which were Graff, Brandvold and Howe.

The championship matches take place at 6:30 p.m. (CT) and can be viewed live on ESPN.

Please check back to to find out where the Badgers land in the final team standings later tonight.

Session V 1st Match Results
133 lbs. - No. 11 seed Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) dec. No. 4 seed Tyler Graff, 5-0
165 lbs. - No. 2 seed Andrew Howe dec. No. 4 seed Josh Asper (Maryland), 3-1
197 lbs. - No. 3 seed Trevor Brandvold dec. No. 5 seed Luke Lofthouse (Iowa), 4-0

Final Session V Bouts
133 lbs. - No. 4 seed Tyler Graff places fifth with a dec. over No. 8 seed Mike Grey (Cornell), 7-2
165 lbs. - No. 2 seed Andrew Howe takes third place with a dec. over No. 5 seed Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), 4-2
197 lbs. - No. 1 seed Cam Simaz (Cornell) dec. No. 3 seed Trevor Brandvold, who placed fourth, 5-2
184 lbs. - No. 4 seed Travis Rutt takes seventh with a dec. over No. 8 seed Kevin Steinhaus, 4-2