Grapplers off to St. Louis

first_imgSunshine, beaches and tropical drinks await a large portion of students this coming week. Saunas, weight rooms and wrestling mats await a group of UW wrestlers who qualified for the 2008 NCAA Championships, taking place March 20-22 in St. Louis.Eight Wisconsin grapplers will spend their spring break fine-tuning their skills in preparation for the final weekend of competition. Dallas Herbst leads the group heading in, after improving his overall record to 28-4 en route to a third place finish at last weekend’s Big Ten tournament.All in all, head coach Barry Davis was happy with the overall performance of his team last weekend at the conference tournament.“You look at it, four guys who weren’t supposed to go are going (to the NCAAs),” said Davis of unranked Collin Cudd, Jake Donar, Dan Clum and Trevor Brandvold. “And we’ve got one who should have gone but isn’t. I seriously thought we had a chance to get all 10 through. It’s a meat grinder. The guys who got through, they had good wins. Overall we did alright.”The one that got away, so to speak, is senior Craig Henning. Henning, last year’s national runner-up at 157 pounds, ran into trouble at the Big Tens. Henning lost his quarterfinal match-up in a close 4-2 loss to C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota, then lost a 6-3 decision to Purdue’s Nicholas Bertucci.“I think he left it to the very end of the match,” Davis said of Henning, who leaves UW as a two-time All-American with a record of 105-29. “You can’t do that, and that?s what he did. He got caught. That’s why when you go out you have to dominate. If you go out to dominate, then you’re going to win. It’s unfortunate.”Despite that setback, there are still high hopes of great performances from those going. Junior Zach Tanelli is now a two-time qualifier after finishing fifth at the Big Tens. Tanelli, currently 25-10, was content with his performance but knows that a great regular season doesn’t always spell out success in the postseason.“I’ve had a decent year,” Tanelli said. “But it really doesn’t matter all that much. Last year my regular season was good, and my postseason was terrible. I’ve had all year to think about that. I’d sacrifice my regular season for an excellent postseason, and that’s what I’m focusing on.”Another qualifier, senior Cudd, is looking at it in somewhat of an opposite approach. Cudd, now a four-time NCAA qualifier, went 3-2 at the Big Tens to earn fifth and an automatic bid to nationals. Despite entering the tournament with a 17-8 overall record but only 2-5 in the Big Ten, Cudd acknowledges the one thing that has gotten him this far.“Hard work,” said Cudd. “That?s how I’ve made it to the NCAAs four times. Hard work and the help of my coaches. Realizing that if I put this much effort into not only wrestling but anything I do, I can accomplish my goals and get to where I want to go in life.”As the next week goes by, the Badgers will focus on the little things while awaiting the first round matchups, due out early next week. Until then, Davis can reflect on the season with a smile and know the future is bright.“We’ve had some really good wins this year, a lot of ranked teams,” said Davis. “But it’s not done yet. We still have a chance to reach the goals we set as a team and individual-wise. I think we’re a much better team than we were last year. We’re on the rise, we’ve got some good recruits coming in, so I think we’ve got a very bright future. But right now the future is next week.”last_img

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