first_imgEveryone has heard the commercials proclaiming “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”While it’s true for most visits to Sin City, the No 8-ranked Wisconsin wrestling team will try to build on their strong performance at the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas this past weekend. The Badgers wrestled well and finished with two wrestlers — Tyler Turner and Craig Henning — in the top five.”All things considered, it was a good performance. We had nine guys compete, four of them were backups and everyone stepped it up,” head coach Barry Davis said. “I was very pleased with the overall effort and the way we competed.”This weekend the Badgers will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa where they will take on a formidable opponent in Northern Iowa. On the Mats, UNI holds a slim 18-16 advantage in the all-time series against Wisconsin.However, as of late, the Badgers have succeeded against the Panthers, winning the last three meetings in convincing fashion. Currently, Northern Iowa is ranked at No. 20 and has nationally ranked wrestlers at the 141, 157 and 165-pound weight classes.One of the more stimulating matchups of the weekend should be at the 133-pound weight class, where Tom Clum is expected to make his triumphant return to the Badger lineup.After being sidelined with a wrist injury all season the All-American will square off against one of Northern Iowa’s best in Chris Helgeson. Helgeson is currently the active leader in career wins at UNI with 64, and this season he holds a 13-6 record — good enough for best on the team.Players and coaches alike have been waiting for Clum to return, and there’s no doubt he will be put to the test in his debut this weekend.At the 141-pound weight class, UW senior Ed Gutnik will be facing sophomore C.J. Ettelson, who currently leads the Panthers with three pins on the year. Ettelson is 11-4 this season and has a career record of 33-16. He was a national qualifier a year ago after posting a 22-12 record as a redshirt freshman.Gutnik, who has emerged as a star for the Badgers, has just one loss on the year after being defeated by one point against Northern Illinois’s Josh Wooton.”[Northern Iowa has] got a bunch of guys ranked. They’re a talented squad and it should be a good meet,” Gutnik said. “But we always expect to win and it’s no different this weekend.”At the 174-pound class, Wisconsin’s Tyler Turner will be competing after an eventful weekend in Vegas. After losing his first match of the season in the semi-finals, Turner went on to take home third place in tournament after beating the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the country, Arizona State’s Pat Payne.Turner, who is 9-1 on the year, expects a hostile environment in Cedar Falls and will look to weather the storm.”The [crowd’s] going to be with them and the fact that we’re ranked higher doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance,” Turner said. “Anything could happen, and we’re just looking to improve on what we have so far. We’ve just got to forget about the crowd, do the little things and [we’ll] be OK.”Following their road meet against Northern Iowa, Wisconsin will return home and hit the mats for another set of matches against Northern Illinois. Back-to-back meets in different venues won’t be an easy task, but Davis expects his team to be ready.”I don’t anticipate that being a problem — we’ve had the Vegas tournament back-to-back days and then the Rock Haven tournament followed by Penn State,” Davis said. “I was wondering how our young guys would handle it but they responded well in some hostile environments. We’ve been training for these situations all season, and we’ll be ready.”Saturday’s meet will be broadcast live on Iowa local television, while the Badgers’ home meet against Northern Illinois will be available via webcast at Uwbadgers.com.”We’re getting a chance to perform in Iowa and show their fans what this program is all about,” Davis said. “Wisconsin wrestling is on the move, and when we come home, we’re going to get a chance to showcase our talent. These are two must-win situations because we’ve got to keep on the upswing before our schedule gets heavy.”last_img