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Wisconsin wrestling: three Badgers earn All-American honors at NCAA Championships

Austin Gomez, Dean Hamiti and Eric Barnett all finished their seasons on the podium with a successful weekend in Detroit.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register
Christopher Weiler wrestles Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen.
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Wisconsin Badgers wrestling team had a successful weekend at the NCAA Championships in Detroit, returning home with three All-Americans and a 14th place finish as a team. The Badgers scored 38.5 points to climb to 14th place and was tied with Oklahoma State in the final team standings.

In a shock to no one, the Big Ten dominated the national tournament. Penn State (131.5 points) won the NCAA team title, while Michigan (95.0), Iowa (74.0), Arizona State (66.5) and Nebraska (59.5) rounded out the top five.

The three Badgers All-Americans were:

  • Austin Gomez, 149 pounds, 4th place
  • Dean Hamiti, 165 pounds, 6th place
  • Eric Barnett, 125 pounds, 7th place

Gomez, the Big Ten champion at 149 pounds, had an excellent tournament, beating Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso and NC State’s Tariq Wilson on his way to the third place match. Gomez lost to Virginia Tech’s Bryce Andonian there in a 10-6 decision, but was down only 7-6 until the final seconds. He ended his first season as a Badger with a 23-4 record.

Hamiti, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, finished his rookie year with a 28-4 record after going 4-2 in the NCAA Championships. Hamiti pinned Andrew Nicholson of Chattanooga to open the tourney and then beat Julian Ramirez of Cornell to advance to the quarterfinals. There he lost a decision to Stanford’s Shane Griffith before making a run to the consolation semifinals where he lost a heartbreaker to Michigan’s Cameron Amine. Due to, what looks like, an ankle or foot injury Hamiti didn’t wrestle Iowa’s Alex Marinelli in the fifth place match. A bummer for sure since the two of them have had some excellent matches already this year.

Barnett lost to Oregon State’s Brandon Kaylor in the second round and then rolled through the consolation bracket, scoring wins over wrestlers from Ohio State, NC State and Virginia Tech, before dropping a decision to Minnesota’s Patrick McKee. In the seventh place match, Barnett got major revenge on Kaylor, pinning the Oregon State wrestler to win.

The six other wrestlers for the Badgers had varying degrees of success over the weekend. Kyle Burwick (133) lost both of his matches, Joseph Zargo (141) went 1-2, Garrett Model (157) dropped his only two matches as did Chris Weiler (184), Braxton Amos went 1-2 featuring a win over Minnesota’s Michial Foy and Trent Hillger (285) went 1-2 as well with a major decision win over Tyrell Gordon of Northern Iowa.

This was an exciting and promising season for Chris Bono’s squad and, as the first wrestling season I followed closely, I’m very excited to see how next year’s campaign goes for Wisconsin.