The Wisconsin Badgers wrestling team has been through quite a season thus far. Yet, the best and hardest challenges are still ahead of the team as the Big Ten Championships loom over the Badgers. Before the squad has their chance at conference glory, one final home dual meet against Northern Iowa must be completed.
Wisconsin Looks to End 2023 Dual Season With Win Over UNI
Following a rough four meet losing streak, the Badgers look to end on a positive note. At 7-8, the dual meets this year have proven to be quite difficult for the team, but the Badgers have also kept many close. This will pose as the final challenge for the team before individual performance begins to shine. The Panthers will look to spoil the senior day celebrations in Madison.
We wrap the dual season this Saturday at 7 p.m. vs. Northern Iowa at the UW Field House.
Let's #JumpAround with @ChrisBono for the latest on the Badgers! pic.twitter.com/B4YObKqJZu
— Wisconsin Wrestling (@BadgerWrestling) February 13, 2023
While the Badgers will need a team performance to win, there are also specific wrestlers that still remain a question mark. Austin Gomez has missed the last two meets at 149 pounds following an injury to Yahya Thomas of Northwestern. The status of Gomez is currently unknown, but since it will be senior day he may look to wrestle and warm up. Gomez could also continue to rest into the Big Ten Championships. This decision would give Gomez nearly a month away from the mat before wrestling again.
Wisconsin will need strong performances out of Joe Zargo and Garrett Model against the Panthers. 141 pounds and 157 pounds are both weight classes that are pivotal to a Badger win. The Panthers wrestle both of those weight classes well this year, with 30 wins combined from their starters.
Currently, Northern Iowa is ranked #14 in the country with a strong roster top to bottom. In particular, there are two wrestlers that have stood out this season for the team. Cael Happel and Parker Keckeisen have been the two strongest wrestlers for the Panthers this year, combining for a record of 32-5 thus far. Happel has begun to shine this season as a wrestler now that he has found his balance of aggression. Keckeisen, a Wisconsin native, is building his fantastic collegiate career with only one loss this year at 184 pounds.
Wisconsin has needed a win more than once this season. However, Northern Iowa will prove to be the most sought after win due to what it will provide for the confidence of the team. A pivotal win heading into the end of the season could help propel the Badgers as they enter the tournaments.
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