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Brandvold repeat Big 10 Conference wrestling champ

Trevor Brandvold1 / 2
Sam Johnson2 / 2

University of Wisconsin senior and 2006 River Falls High School graduate Trevor Brandvold was crowned Big 10 Conference champion for the second year in a row at the Big 10 Wrestling Championships March 6 in Evanston, Ill.

Brandvold clinched his second straight conference title by defeating Iowa's Luke Lofthouse in the 197 pounds championship. The two-time Big Ten champion captured a 5-2 victory that included two takedowns and an escape.

The Badgers wrapped up the 2011 Big Ten Championships with a fourth place finish with 103.5 points. Brandvold and junior Andrew Howe at 165 pounds, won individual titles. They were also the Badgers' lone titlists a year ago.

Penn State won the team title with 139 points, one more than Iowa. Minnesota claimed third place with 109.5 points at the Welsh-Ryan Arena on the campus of Northwestern University.

Brandvold and Howe are two of seven Badgers who qualified for this weekend's NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, Pa. Sophomore Tyler Graff (133 lbs.), sophomore Cole Schmitt (149 lbs.), sophomore Ben Jordan (174 lbs.), junior Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) and senior Eric Bugenhagen (Hwt.) will also compete beginning Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Brandvold enters the national tournament as the No. 3 seed at 197 pounds. He will face North Carolina-Greensboro's Caylor Williams in Thursday's first round. Brandvold opened the 2010-11 season by pinning Williams at 2:22 in the Badgers' first regular season dual on Nov. 19.

Brandvold earned All-American honors last year by placing sixth at 197 lbs., after going 4-3 at the event. He started strong with a pair of wins, including a pin over Brent Jones of Virginia in the first round. A loss in the third round to No. 4 Cam Simaz of Cornell dropped him to the wrestlebacks, though. A pair of wins over Big Ten foes Chad Beatty of Iowa and Sonny Yohn of Minnesota earned Brandvold All-American honors, but consecutive losses ended his run at sixth place.

The Badgers finished in fourth place last year with 70.5 points, tying for the best finish in school history and the best under current head coach Barry Davis.

Brandvold was a state champion his senior season at River Falls High School with a 46-0 overall record. He placed second as a junior with a 44-1 overall record. He was a four-time Big Rivers Conference champion and three-time regional and sectional champion and was named first team Asics All-American and the Wisconsin Wrestler of the Year as a senior. He concluded his high school career with a record of 151-11 and earned Crossface Academic All-State honors three times.

Former Wildcat Johnson All-American

Former Wildcat Sam Johnson, a sophomore at the University of Dubuque, placed sixth at 197 pounds at the NCAA Division III National Championships in La Crosse Sunday to earn All-American honors for the first time in his career.

Johnson finished his sophomore season by posting wins over Alex Fleet of Trine, Tony Willaert of St. Johns, and William Mulligan of Johnson and Wales before losing a close 3-0 match to returning NCAA runner-up Ryan Malo of Williams College and 8-6 to seventh-seeded Adam Latella of UW-Whitewater.

The University of Dubuque placed 11th in the nation with 30.5 points.

Johnson was a state qualifier with the Wildcats as a senior in 2009 and earned All-BRC honors his sophomore through senior seasons.