Over the past weekend Wisconsin continued to showcase itself as one of the nation’s top spots for amateur wrestling. Kyle Ruschell, Andrew Howe, Jesse Thielke, Tyler Graff, and Travis Rutt all performed at the World Team Trials with the Badger Wrestling Club’s support.
Based out of Madison, the Badger Wrestling Club is a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds in effort to support wrestlers and coaches for international competition in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, developing a support network of alumni and fans, and promoting the sport within the state of Wisconsin.
Started back in the early 1990′s, the club was designed to continue the advancement of area wrestlers following their high school careers. Alongside Board of Directors Dick Brachman, John Gillis, Greg Schroeder, Mike Paschke, and Clyde Clark, Badger Wrestling Club President Clay Nieman explained that the club is all about helping athletes succeed in a tougher level of competition.
“The Badger Wrestling Club is there to support the coaches and wrestlers out there that are doing a great job,” Nieman told US Combat Sports. “The level of athlete moving from high school to college is a huge jump because everyone is a state champ and everyone is great.”
Last weekend, five club members traveled to Oklahoma in hopes of earning a spot on the US World Team.
Andrew Howe, a Freestyle 74kg University National Champion, went 5-1 throughout the competition. He ultimately lost in the Finals to Jordan Burrows but is now an alternate for the US World Team Trials.
Tyler Graff, a four-time Colorado State Champion, went 3-2 in the Freestyle 60 kg class before losing to the division’s eventual champion Shawn Bunch.
Kyle Ruschell, who has just accepted an offer to become an assistant coach with Army, went 2-2 before dropping both losses to the same opponent.
Just out of high school, former Junior National Greco-Roman Champion, multiple-time state champion, and University of Wisconsin recruit Jesse Thielke went 0-2 over the weekend.
Competing at 84 kg in Greco-Roman, Travis Rutt ended up going 2-2 over the weekend beating Don Simmons in the process.
“It’s important to remember the quality of guys everyone wrestled,” Nieman said. “They’re competing against the best guys in the nation for a spot on the US World Team. These guys are studs and none of them would have been in this spot if they weren’t.”