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Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling Won A Tight Match vs. Bucknell

The Wisconsin Badgers wrestling program earned a win after a hard-fought match against Bucknell.



Photo Credit: BadgerNotes Staff Writer Ryan Eilers

The No. 29 Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling program clashed with the Bison of Bucknell Sunday at the UW Field House. Wisconsin won this dual 24-22 thanks to some timely victories from the veterans in the room.

Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling Takes Down Bucknell in a Tight Match

Prior to the match, Wisconsin’s Dean Hamiti was honored with his well-earned 2023 Big Ten Championship ring!

Following the match, Wisconsin badgers Wrestling Head Coach Chris Bono spoke with the media to address the dual and was asked what he thought about the preparation of the room following a 41-0 loss to No.10 Iowa State in their last dual.

“It was amazing.  These guys are very, very resilient and that’s what I like about them. When we are tough on them they respond the same way as when we are easy on them. They understand the main goal.”

With roughly six weeks until the Big Ten season opener at home vs. No.7 Ohio State, Coach Bono was asked what he is looking for in the next few open tournaments and non-conference duals.

“I am looking for a consistent lineup. I am looking for consistency across ten weight classes and right now we don’t have that. We know who our hammers are but we need consistency throughout the lineup. What you see on the mat is what I am seeing in the room. Some days they are great – some days they are not. The one thing we are getting no matter what is everyday in practice, they do fight, they do try, they’re not giving up – it’s just a little inconsistent.”

Let’s take a look at each weight class and see how the Badgers performed vs. Bucknell.

125 pounds

No. 10 Eric Barnett vs. Grayson McLellan.

Wisconsin’s Barnett started fast and finished even faster. He’s a DAWG and you love to see it!

Barnett won this match 16–0 (technical fall).

133 pounds 

Nicolar Rivera vs. No. 21 Kurt Phipps.

Wisconsin’s Rivera fell behind early but he kept battling.  Nico had a great reversal to put himself back in the match but was ultimately pinned by Phipps.

Rivera lost this match by fall.

141 pounds

Felix Lettini vs. Braden Bower.

This was a battle all seven minutes. Lettini was in on multiple shots but he just couldn’t turn the corner and score on them.

Lettini lost this match by a 4–0 decision.

149 pounds

No.18 Joseph Zargo vs. No. 31 Dylan Chappell.

In the lone ranked vs. ranked matchup on the day, Zargo came out like his hair was on fire. Securing multiple takedowns in route to a dominating win.

When Joe is wrestling like that he will be very tough to beat.

Zargo won this match 11–2 (major decision).

157 pounds

Luke Mechler vs. Nick Delp.

Wisconsin’s Mechler was in a back and forth battle early but Bucknell’s Delp held on to win despite stall warnings.

Mechler lost the match by a 11–7 decision.

165 pounds

Gavin Model vs. No. 26 Noah Mulvaney.

Wisconsin’s Model had his hands full on Sunday against former Arrowhead High School (WI) standout, Bucknell’s Mulvaney. Model battled but he just couldn’t get the offense going.

Model lost this match 19–3 (technical fall).

174 pounds

No. 5 Dean Hamiti vs. Myles Takats.

In what may have been a surprise to some, Wisconsin’s reigning and defending 165 pound Big Ten Champion, Dean Hamiti, bumped up from 165 pounds to 174 pounds for this bout with Bucknell’s Takats.

It did not matter!

Hamiti showed why he not only a top 165 pound wrestler, but is pound-for-pound one of America’s best. It only took him 1:17 to secure the pin over his opponent.

Come for the wrestling, stay for the celebration! Absolute DAWG!

Hamiti won this match by fall.

184 pounds

No. 26 Max Maylor vs. Mikey Bartush.

WHOA! Way to make a Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling debut, Max Maylor! In an adversity filled beginning to the season, Maylor showed the perseverance of a man trying to make his family proud.  Dealing with a myriad of injuries and uncertainty, he came out against Bucknell’s Bartush looking to score.

Maylor will have to wait to score in his next match because he was only able to score a 3-point takedown… oh, and a pin! In only 27 seconds of work, Max Maylor made his Wisconsin debut, notched a takedown, and secured a pin. He went to work so quickly in this match, one may have thought he was late for class!

Maylor won this match by fall.

Asked after the match what that stepping on the mat at the UW Field House was like.

“It felt good, I didn’t even know I was gonna wrestle a couple days ago. To go out there and wrestle the way I did, quick, but it felt good. I had come through a lot of adversity to get to this point, dealing with injuries, just to be able to step on the mat, just grateful.”

Coach Bono spoke to the importance of Max’s match.

“Extremely proud of this guy (Maylor), not much has been said but he’s been through a lot since he’s come here. For him to put that W on his chest, we been envisioning that for a long, long time. To see a Wisconsin kid go out there and really seal the match and do something – the Field House went crazy.  Extremely grateful that Max has put the trust in us, even through the adversity he’s been through. What he’s been through the last couple months I don’t think there is much more that he can deal with – he deserves every good thing that comes to him.”

197 pounds

Shane Liegel vs. Nolan Springer.

Wisconsin’s Liegel, like teammate Dean Hamiti, bumped up a weight class and were his contributions ever needed. With Wisconsin leading 21–17 in team points, Liegel’s victory proved to be one of the more important ones to securing the team victory vs. Bucknell.

Minute by minute Liegel grinded Bucknell’s Springer and deployed great defense and didn’t allow his opponent to score. These three points from his decision victory proved to be difference in the 24-22 Wisconsin win on Sunday.

“Gritty. Shane Liegel is a gritty, tough kid. Remember, those guys are all up a weight class too, right, they’re not in their natural weight classes.  They been asked to go up for various reasons and everyone didn’t bat an eye and came together as a team and did it as a team.  Shane Liegel is just a gritty, hard-nosed kid and that’s the way he shows up to every lift, every practice, so for me to see that performance – I know what were getting out of Shane.

He had a big fanbase here today – being a Wisconsin kid it’s just great to see hard work pay off. Bottom line, at the end of the day, showing up and doing things on a daily basis and being consistent in what you do and being intentional, its gonna pay off and its starting to really pay off for Shane.”

Liegel won this match by a 5–0 decision.

285 pounds

Peter Christensen vs. Dorian Crosby.

Wisconsin’s Christensen had another week where he just couldn’t get the offense going.  The match was close early but Bucknell’s Crosby just kept the pressure up and Christensen couldn’t fend him off.

After the match you could see the dejection on his face as he knows he is a far superior wrestler than he has put on display the last two bouts.

Christensen lost this match 19–4 (technical fall).

What’s Next for Wisconsin Badgers Wrestling?

Next events for the Wisconsin Badgers wrestling team is the exciting “double dual” on Saturday 12/9. At 11AM the face the Rider Broncs for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in Lawrenceville, NJ.  Following the match, they travel to Philadelphia, PA for a 5PM tilt with an EIWA wrestling program, the fiery Dragons of Drexel.

This should be a great day of wrestling for the Badgers. Hopefully they are able to saddle the Broncs, tame those Dragons, and come home with two victories.  It wont be easy, but the Wisconsin coaching staff will have the boys buzzin’ come Saturday.

Stay tuned to Badger Notes for coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers wrestling program and their upcoming competitions!

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Ryan Eilers covers the Wisconsin Badgers football and wrestling programs for and has had his work published on Bleacher Report. He also makes up 1/4 of the BadgerNotes After Dark podcast crew.