2022 Wisconsin Badger Preview

Started by Harris, August 28, 2021, 02:38:49 PM

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I can't wait any longer.  Now that the Cadet, Junior and Senior level wrestling is slowing down, it is time to start focusing on the upcoming 2022 NCAA season.  I think this season could potentially be the toughest I have ever seen with the free year of eligibility because of Covid.  Guys who would normally be graduated and gone are back for another season on teams like Iowa and it just makes the competition level that much tougher.

I thought it would be fun to get the conversation started by looking at some of the wrestlers on the roster.  I apologize in advance if I get something incorrect or didn't write something for your favorite wrestler on the team.  My intention with this thread is to try and stay positive but also realistic when taking a look at the roster.  In my opinion, anyone who wrestles in college at any level is already a champion regardless of their results.  Wrestling is one of the toughest things I have ever done in my life which I think we can all agree on.  So here goes.  Comments and corrections are welcomed.  Just try to stay positive  :).

Coaching Staff Chris Bono, Jon Reader, Seth Gross
I wanted to start off with the coaching staff because they have been busy this off-season.  I saw the staff coaching men's freestyle, women's freestyle and greco at places like the Junior World team trials, Senior World team trials, Olympic qualifiers, and Junior worlds.  I am sure I missed a few but the point is they have been extremely busy and hands on with the Wisconsin Regional Training Center (RTC) athletes all off-season around the world.  The dedication and time away from their families has been impressive and goes above and beyond what many coaches were doing this summer.  Bono and Reader also competed in the Badger 100 race which they have talked about on Rokfin.  No one will ever question their toughness and never give up attitude after this event.  Seth Gross is still competing and is attempting to make the Senior World team in a few weeks in a stacked weight class.  Bono and Gross also went back to his home state to run a wrestling tournament and build wresting in that state.  I saw many tweets by athletes and parents on high school visits by the coaching staff and can't wait to see who will become the next big recruit.  Personally, I think the success of the RTC goes hand in hand with the success of the program and I have really enjoyed seeing the progress this summer.

125 Eric Barnett, Greenville, WI (2021 All American)
I'm not going to lie, this guy had one of my favorite seasons last year.  From the pin of Devin Schroeder to the run at NCAA's I just love watching Eric wrestle.  He is always in the match and you never know when something might happen.  Even better yet is that he is ranked 20th by WrestleStat even after being an All-American last season.  Just more fuel to the fire for this guy to come out and bomb some higher ranked wrestlers.  I expect big things.  Way to represent your home state.

125 Ethan Rotundo, Vancouver, WA (2021 Senior Nationals Silver Medalist)
Ethan Rotundo is one of the most improved wrestlers on the team over the past 5 years.  He proved that this past off-season taking silver at the U.S. Open Senior Nationals.  To watch his progression, confidence, and toughness grow since he arrived in Madison is a testament to his strong character and I love anytime he takes the mat.  What a great role model for all the wrestlers in the room on how to persevere in tough circumstances and to never give up. 

133 Kyle Burwick, Hettinger, ND (2021 NCAA Qualifier)
What an end to the 2021 season last year.  We all know the level wrestler Kyle is and we caught a glimpse of what he is capable of as he came on strong at the Big Ten's to become an NCAA qualifier.  Working with Seth Gross every day has brought his mat wrestling to a new level.  I can't wait to see what jumps he makes this season after another year in the room with Barnett, Gross, and now Austin Gomez. I went back and did some research on Burwick and you forget just how good he was coming out of high school.  I expect a BIG jump this season. 

141 Austin Gomez, Carol Stream, IL (2019 NCAA Qualifier, transfer from Iowa State)
O.K. – I am going to say it right now, I am super stoked about this guy coming to Wisconsin.  He is the real deal.  The biggest question mark is can he stay healthy after retiring from the sport due to concussions.  Find this guy a special head gear to protect himself and look out.  He was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.  Gomez was a member of the 2016 and 2017 Junior National Freestyle Team, a two-time Pan American champion, two-time Fargo freestyle national champion, two-time Fargo Greco national champion, three-time Illinois state champion, and a member of the 2011 Cadet World Team who will now be rolling around with Barnett, Burwick, Rotundo, and Gross.  Need I say more?  Can't wait is an understatement.  Stay healthy my friend!

149 Drew Scharenbrock/Devin Bahr/Joey Zargo
WrestleStat has 7 guys listed at this weight for the Badgers.  Yes, you read that correctly, 7 guys on a roster of about 30.  Almost 25% and that doesn't count the 6 guys at 157.  They list Joey Zargo as a redshirt this year which makes sense.  I think he needs one more year of development to improve his consistency and strength after watching him this past year.  You get flashes of brilliance followed by inconsistent results at times.  If he can wrestle at 100% efficiency and concentration at all times, he will make some noise.  Come on Seth Gross!  Get this guy firing on all cylinders.  Scharenbrock wrestled most of last season as the starter and quite honestly had one of the toughest schedules around.  I am not making excuses for his results just pointing out that if he changes a few things he will have an outstanding season.  Devin Bahr is one of my favorite wrestlers and I wish he could stay healthy and find a way into the lineup more next season.  He just looks like a tank and has that tough wrestler style that I like.

157 Garrett Model, Stoughton, WI
Garrett has been a 3-year starter for the Badgers and this says something about his toughness and grit.  He is one of those guys that has always been right on the doorstep and has quietly improved each year.  His blue-collar work ethic is what makes me love his progression even more, but I want this season to be his breakout year.  If he can take his wrestling to the next level it will be huge for the team.

157 Dean (D.J.) Hamiti, Joliet, IL (Super 32 Champion, Fargo Champion)
WrestleStat has him listed as a red shirt next year which makes sense but I hope he wrestles at Midlands this season so we can see where he is at.  This young man has done it all in high school and has a ton of potential.  He wrestled at the Junior Nationals this past year and was rolling through the bracket and took a tough loss 4-3 to Penn State wrestler Alex Facundo (Who later lost to Keegan O'Toole).  He is right there and with a little time in the room will become an All-American for the Badgers at some point in my opinion.  Yes, he is that good and he has a really unique style of wrestling which is fun to watch.  Honestly, I think he will be going 165 this season since Wick left.

165 Josh Otto / Tyler Dow
Josh Otto had an extremely tough schedule last year and was competitive in almost every match.  I know that's what you get in the Big Ten but go look at his results from last year and you will see what I mean.  I am guessing he expects more of himself this next season and I am hoping we get to see him have a breakout year.  If he can get his confidence and swagger back, he should have a really good season.  At this point, it would be a mental battle for me more than physical if I were him.  Tyler Dow has been a mystery to me.  I thought we would see him more over the years, but he could never find a permanent spot in the lineup.  Now, with Wick gone, I am super excited to see him listed on WrestleStat at 165 since he has wrestled up for the team in the past (184 and 174).  I hope he has been on a weight management program since the day Wick announced he was leaving because he could make some noise plus his style is just fun for the fans to watch. 

174 Andrew McNally, Uniontown, OH (3X NCAA Qualifier, transfer from Kent State)
I can't wait to see what McNally does after spending time in the Wisconsin room with his training partners.  He made it to the round of 12 last year before losing a tough match 6-3 to eventual NCAA champ Carter Starocci.  One thing I noticed when looking at his past results is he wrestles a lot of close matches which is going to be stressful but exciting to watch.  I think all Badger fans can say thank you for picking Wisconsin.  You filled a huge hole in the lineup and now it is time to go rip up the Big Ten.

184 Chris Weiler, Biglerville, PA (3X NCAA Qualifier, transferred from Lehigh)
Chris is another guy who filled a huge hole in the lineup last year when he transferred from Lehigh.  A former round of 12 guy from the NCAA tournament who also had some really tough matches last year in the condensed season.  I expect a lot of big things from him this year after him getting a taste of the Big Ten and having a year in the room with his current training partners.  When looking at his past results it is amazing how many big matches he has had against top ranked wrestlers.  He is a grizzled and seasoned veteran who can make some serious noise this season.  Thanks for choosing Wisconsin Chris!

197 Braxton Amos, Mineral Wells, WV (Olympic Alternate, Junior Freestyle World Champion, Junior Greco Bronze Medalist, 3X Super 32 Champion, 5X Fargo National Champion)
Anyone who has been paying attention knows what Braxton has done over the past year.  It is simply amazing to watch the progression he has made training with the Wisconsin RTC.  His biggest challenge this season may be his weight cut down to 197 since he has been wrestling at 97kg (213 lbs.) this past year.  It sounds like his goal is to be walking around at around 207.  If he can make the transition to this weight class, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with.  He is unbelievably strong, athletic, and has a relentless motor.  Braxton seems to live and breathe the lifestyle that it takes to make the cut the right way and as I said before, I don't think anyone wants to wrestle Amos this next year.  He is just a tough wrestler who will outwork you and never quit.  197 potentially could be the toughest weight class this year so he will be challenged all season.  Another question mark is how he will perform on the bottom since he has spent so much time developing his Freestyle and Greco skills.  Based on what I have seen from Braxton, if he has a weakness, he will work on that position until it becomes a strength.  I am not worried about his mat wrestling and I expect him to come out guns blazing in all positions.

197 Peter Christensen, Norridge, IL (Greco Junior Nationals Silver, Freestyle Junior Nationals Quarterfinalist)
I sometimes forget he was ranked second in the country at 195 coming out of high school.  I really enjoyed seeing him wrestle at the Junior Nationals this year and his results speak for themselves.  You tend to forget how good some of the guys in the room are.  WrestleStat has him listed at 197 although he wrestled 285 last year.  I think he is kind of a tweener being stuck between 197 and heavy but he will be important for the team this season and I like his development.  I also think him and Amos are great training partners for each other to stay sharp in Greco all year long.

285 Trent Hillger, Linden, MI (3X NCAA Qualifier, 2X All-American)
After hearing what Thor went through to compete this past season injury wise it just makes me like him even more.  I didn't think this was possible until I heard the podcast about his injuries.  To top it off with an All-American finish at the national tournament and silence those questioning his wrestling was just fun to watch.  None of us really knew what was going on during the season but we could all see he was fighting through something.  To continue to battle for his team week in and week out just shows you the mental and physical toughness this young man brings to the team.  His work ethic and toughness remind me of Brett Favre.  My guess is his teammates love this guy.  He is the real deal and seems like he is one of the nicest guys you could meet off the mat.  I hope he takes it to Mason Parris this season like we all know he can when he is healthy.  He is one of my favorite wrestlers on the team and I really hope he decides to come back to Wisconsin next year with his extra season of eligibility.

285 Hayden Copass, Catlin/Westville, IL (Super 32 Champion, 2X Fargo Champion)
Hayden should be redshirting this season but I just wanted to put him down because I expect big things from him down the road as well.  Imagine the wrestling partners he has to train with in the room coupled with the success he had in high school and you can see why I am so excited for his future.  I also think it is cool that he wrestled some Greco in his past so he should give a good feel for Christensen and Amos.


Here is the full roster from WrestleStat with their projected starter listed first with their rankings:  https://www.wrestlestat.com/team/77/wisconsin/profile

125 #20 Barnett, Eric #67 Rotondo, Ethan
133 #29 Burwick, Kyle  #148 Bavery, Cole #148 Severin, Jack
141 #13 Gomez, Austin  #127 Escobar, Trey #161 Dentino, Dominic
149 #73 Scharenbrock, Drew  #58 Bahr, Devin #133 Stilling, Daniel #196 Carroll, Cole #196 Thorpe, Connor #196 Zargo, Joseph #321 Medora, Aidan   
157 #52 Model, Garrett  #175 Hamiti, Dean #175 Model, Gavin #175 Anderson, Cale #279 Anderson, Cody #289 Meicher, Kevin
165 #132 Otto, Joshua #57 Dow, Tyler #299 Lantz, Anders
174 #8 McNally, Andrew #149 Calhoun, Graham 
184 #23 Weiler, Chris
197 #112 Amos, Braxton  #72 Christensen, Peter    #219 Salemme, Andrew
285 #7 Hillger, Trent #143 Copass, Hayden #143 Schmidtke, Jonah #143 Empey, Brooks   


I don't think Braxton Amos has ever been ranked 112th in anything in his life before and I don't think you will ever see it again  ;).  I am going to take some time to enjoy this historical moment.


I thought Connor Thorpe from Brookfield AWA was going to UNI although he is listed for the Badgers at 149 which would be awesome if it were true.  Does anyone know anything about this?


133 Cole Bavery – 3X state placer from Edgerton, WI
133 Jack Severin – 4X state placer, 2X state champ from Kewaunee, WI
141 Trey Escobar – Arizona state champ and multi time age level All American from Peoria, AZ
141 Dominic Dentino – 3X state placer from Brookfield, WI
149 Daniel Stilling – 3X state placer from Elkhorn, WI
149 Cole Carroll – 3X NJ state qualifier from Randolph, NJ
149 Connor Thorpe – Thought he was going to UNI????
149 Aidan Medora – 4X state finalist, 2X state champ, Fargo runner-up, Super 32 All American from Wauwatosa, WI
157 Gavin Model – 2X state qualifier, 1X placer from Stoughton, WI
157 Cale Anderson – 4x state placer, 1X champ from Viroqua, WI
157 Cody Anderson – 4x state placer from Waukee, IA
157 Kevin Meicher – Transferred from Minnesota, originally from Middleton, WI
165 Anders Lantz – Transferred from SDSU, 3X state placer from Ellsworth, WI Land of the Cheese Curd!
174 Graham Calhoun – 4x state qualifier, 3x state placer from Plymouth, IN
197 Andrew Salemme – state runner up from Wauwatosa, WI
285 Jonah Schmidtke – state placer from Clovis, CA
285 Brooks Empey – 4x state placer, 2x state champion from Stoughton, WI




Thank you Harris.  Greatly appreciate the effort.

dad 2 5

excellent Harris!!! only change I would make is Peter to hwy. He is huge! I can't see him working back to 97


Cole Carroll is a 3X NJ state Qualifier (1 division).


Quote from: Harris on August 28, 2021, 04:29:48 PM
I thought Connor Thorpe from Brookfield AWA was going to UNI although he is listed for the Badgers at 149 which would be awesome if it were true.  Does anyone know anything about this?

He is not showing on the UW roster or the UNI roster for 21-22. Still showing UNI on his instagram and twitter page. Hopefully wrestlestat is correct. Would be a really nice addition.


Braxton Amos is scheduled to be on FloWrestling Radio live tomorrow 9/1/21.  It is broadcast live on YouTube early in the morning if you don't have a Flo subscription.



80KG Cadet World Silver Medalist James Rowley from Oregon released his top 6 schools and UW Madison is on the list.  I believe Wisconsin is the best school on that list to meet his academic and athletic goals plus it is by far the best college town in the nation  ;D.  This is the athlete that Jon Reader went trap shooting with on his recruiting visit to Oregon.  Wisconsin is quietly building one of the best upper weight rooms around and Rowley would have some outstanding training partners.


2022 InterMat College Rankings:

125 Eric Barnett #12
133 Kyle Burwick #16
141 Austin Gomez #14
174 Andrew McNally #11
184 Chris Weiler #19
285 Trent Hillger #6


As long as we are keeping score, I've got something to prove


Quote from: Harris on September 02, 2021, 08:39:16 PM
80KG Cadet World Silver Medalist James Rowley from Oregon released his top 6 schools and UW Madison is on the list.  I believe Wisconsin is the best school on that list to meet his academic and athletic goals plus it is by far the best college town in the nation  ;D.  This is the athlete that Jon Reader went trap shooting with on his recruiting visit to Oregon.  Wisconsin is quietly building one of the best upper weight rooms around and Rowley would have some outstanding training partners.
Would be a huge recruit and fill in at 174/184, which is a little weaker with some seniors who will be leaving after this year. Would get to train with Braxton and co.