photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
A new feature that we will have on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s, they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Tom Clum (Arvada, CO) 2002-06
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2006-5th; 2005-5th), 2003 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Big Ten Champion
The first of three Colorado natives on this list, Tom Clum dropped down to wrestle at 125 lbs, as a sophomore, after making the Round of 12 as a freshman. Clum was seeded fourth after winning the 125 lb weight class at the Big Ten Championships but did not place. The next two seasons, while back at 133 lbs, Clum finished third and fifth in the nation.
Second Team: Tony Black
133 – Tyler Graff (Loveland, CO) 2009-14
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Four-time All-American (2014-2nd; 2013-3rd; 2011-5th; 2010-5th), Two-time Big Ten runner-up
Graff broke onto the college wrestling scene as a freshman at a brutal 133 lb weight class. The four wrestlers that placed in front of him include two Olympians (Dan Dennis – Iowa, Franklin Gomez – Michigan State), the Hodge Trophy winner (Jayson Ness – Minnesota) and a two-time undefeated NCAA Champion (Jordan Oliver-Oklahoma State). His best opportunity to win a title came as a senior when he made the NCAA finals and fell to Tony Ramos (Iowa) in sudden victory.
Second Team: Kevin Black
141 – Zach Tanelli (Milburn, NJ) 2005-09
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2009 NCAA fourth-place finisher, 2009 Big Ten runner-up
Though he only spent his senior year competing at 141 lbs, it proved to be the best season of Zach Tanelli’s career. Tanelli was a runner-up at the Big Ten Championships which provided him with a second seed at the 2009 NCAA Championships. At that event, Zach lost in the second round but rebounded to win five consecutive matches, placing fourth in the nation.
Second Team: Grant Hoerr
149 – Kyle Ruschell (Crittenden, KY) 2006-10
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2010-4th; 2009-3rd), 2007 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2007 Big Ten runner-up
The new head coach of the Chattanooga Mocs, Kyle Ruschell remarkably went from third place at NHSCA Senior Nationals, while wrestling at 112 lbs, to second in the Big Ten and the NCAA Round of 12 at 141 pounds within two years. Once he moved up to 149 lbs for his junior season, Kyle would place in the top-four in both of his final years in Madison.
Second Team: Tyler Turner
157 – Isaac Jordan (Urbana, OH) 2013-17
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Four-time All-American (2017-4th; 2016-2nd; 2015-7th; 2014-7th), Two-time Big Ten Champion
165 lbs is easily the strongest weight class for the Badgers since 2000, so we can fit Isaac Jordan in since he wrestled his freshman year at 157. Jordan is the fifth four-time All-American in school history and most recent, as he graduated in 2017. As a sophomore and junior, Isaac had a handful of battles with his younger cousin Bo (Ohio State), a four-time All-American himself, and always came out on top of those matches.
Second Team: Craig Henning
165 – Donny Pritzlaff (Lyndhurst, NJ) 1997-01
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time NCAA Champion, Four-time All-American (2001-1st; 2000-1st; 1999-5th; 1998-6th), Three-time Big Ten Champion
Having to pick between Donny Pritzlaff and Andrew Howe has proven to be one of the more difficult decisions so far in any of these “All 2000’s” teams. The similarities between the two are striking, and most of their credentials are comparable. Also notable is Evan Wick, who has three years of eligibility remaining. Of course, the big deciding factor is Pritzlaff’s two NCAA titles. Pritzlaff also sits in fourth-place on Wisconsin’s all-time wins list.
Second Team: Andrew Howe
174 – Kole Clauson (Rathdrum, ID) 1996-00
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2000 NCAA seventh-place finisher, 1999 NCAA Round of 12 finisher
Kole Clauson qualified three times for the NCAA Championships, though he was not allowed to compete in the tournament his freshman season. In his final two seasons for Wisconsin, Clauson earned a top-eight seed at nationals both years, losing in the Round of 12 in 1999, before getting over the hump in 2000.
Second Team: Ben Jordan
184 – Trevor Brandvold (River Falls, WI) 2006-11
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2011-4th, 2010-6th), Two-time Big Ten Champion
Trevor Brandvold jumped into the mix at 184 lbs and competed in the Big Ten without taking a redshirt, placing fourth at the conference as a freshman and again as a sophomore. Brandvold then sat out the 2009 season, then reemerged as a 197 lber. At 197 lbs, Trevor picked up a pair of Big Ten titles and finished sixth as a junior and fourth his senior year.
Second Team: Travis Rutt
197 – Dallas Herbst (Winneconne, WI) 2005-09
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2008 NCAA sixth-place finisher, Two-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2009 Big Ten runner-up
The wrestler who manned 197 lbs before Brandvold was Dallas Herbst, an All-American in 2008. In his two prior seasons, Herbst managed to advance to the NCAA Round of 12 before elimination. A prolific pinner, Dallas ranks as the Badgers all-time leader in falls with 58 and also tied Lee Kemp’s school record of 18 in a single season.
Second Team: Ryan Flaherty
285 – Connor Medbery (Loveland, CO) 2012-17
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time NCAA All-American (2017-2nd; 2015-4th), 2014 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2017 Big Ten runner-up
A year before Adam Coon (Michigan) gave Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) a hard time during Big Ten competition and at nationals, it was Medbery who played the role of a full-sized heavyweight. The only two losses on Connor’s record, during his senior season, came at the hands of the Olympic Gold Medalist Snyder. It marked Medbery’s second appearance on the NCAA podium, after placing fourth in 2015.
Second Team: Kyle Massey