Grapplers wrap up regular season with dramatic win

Ryan Flaherty's overtime takedown gives Wisconsin come-from-behind victory

The University of Wisconsin wrestling team closed the regular season Sunday with a dramatic reversal of fortune, extending its unbeaten streak to five duals and leaping into a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten.

Sunday afternoon in Evanston, Ill., the Badgers trailed host Northwestern 18-13 with two matches remaining, but ninth-ranked Brady Reinke scored a decision win over No. 18 Mike Tamillow at 184. No. 19 Ryan Flaherty then upset No. 13 Matt Delguyd in overtime at 197 to secure an extraordinary 19-18 victory for UW.

Wisconsin lost its first three conference duals this season but tied Michigan State Jan. 30 and is a perfect 4-0 this month, winning the four duals by a combined six points, including back-to-back one-point victories to close out the regular season.

No. 11 Wisconsin is 11-3-2 overall and 4-3-1 in the Big Ten, tied with Michigan State (7-5-1, 4-3-1) for fourth place, just a half-game behind third-place Iowa (10-5-0, 5-3-0), which edged Indiana 17-16 Sunday.

Ryan Flaherty made sure the Badgers kept their momentum against Northwestern Sunday. Trailing 4-2 after Delguyd scored a takedown, Flaherty notched a pair of escapes to force overtime. Flaherty then managed a takedown late in the overtime period to win the dual for Wisconsin.

"Ryan Flaherty pulled it out for us. He left it all on the mat and should be proud," UW assistant head coach Bart Chelesvig said. "The team is real excited to get the win and we can't wait to get back to Iowa City for the Big Ten Championships."

The conference championships take place March 5-6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

No. 18 Northwestern (9-6, 2-6) was in command of Sunday's dual before Reinke and Flaherty closed the deal. The Wildcats won five of the first eight matches, but four were by decision. By comparison, Wisconsin's three wins in that span came via two major decisions (Tom Clum at 133 and Jake Donar at 165) and a technical fall (Greg Henning at 149).

Still, third-ranked Jake Herbert's pin of No. 17 Kelly Flaherty at 174 gave NU an 18-13 edge.

Reinke, though, came through with his 7-3 win over Tamillow, setting the stage for Ryan Flaherty's heroics.


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