first_imgThe No. 8-ranked UW wrestling team has a lot to be excited about going into the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas on Friday.The 4-0 Badgers are coming off one of the biggest wins in recent memory, coming from behind to win at Penn State. The then-No. 15 ranked Badgers came out of Happy Valley with a thrilling 19-15 win after being down early.”I think that win was good, especially for the young guys,” UW head coach Barry Davis said. “You’re going into a hostile environment with their fans being very verbal and the young guys reacted very well in that situation.”One such “young guy” is sophomore Craig Henning. At 7-1 this season, the 157-pound Henning has already emerged as one of the team leaders.”I think a big part of (his success) has been his poise,” Davis said. “It can be tied, he can be losing, or he can be winning, but he’s always got the same expression on his face. He’s very poised.”Davis isn’t the only one who’s been impressed with Henning.”He’s got a lot of talent and he works hard,” junior tri-captain Tyler Turner said. “A lot of people have a lot of talent and don’t work very hard or work hard but don’t have a lot of talent. You put those together and you’ve got a darn good wrestler, and that’s what Craig is.”There are compliments going around for the 4-0 Turner as well.”He’s a leader,” said Davis. “He’s shown it by dedication, sacrifice for the team, and he’s a leader off the mat, which is just as important as in the room.”Added Turner: “I love having guys look up to me. I just try to be a leader on the mat for all the guys to see, and off the mat, try to make myself available for everyone.”The Cliff Keen Invitational will feature some of the top teams across the country. Of the 50 teams competing, 10 are in the top-25 of the national rankings. Among those teams are Big Ten rivals No. 2 Illinois and No. 3 Michigan. Regardless of how the Badgers fare against the tough competition this weekend, Davis is impressed with how his team has performed thus far.”Mentally we’re a little further than I thought we’d be,” Davis said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re progressing pretty well.”Despite the formidable opponents they’ll be facing, the Badgers aren’t making any adjustments.”The (Cliff Keen) Invite will be good to see where we’re at as a team,” Turner said. “But we’re not approaching it any different than any other meet.”Added Henning, “We’re just going to do what we do best. We’re going to force our style on our opponent and hope it comes out all right.”Although the season is barely underway, hopes are high on the team after the blistering start to the year.”(By the end of the season), we should be way up there,” Turner said. “I don’t know if that means best in the nation, but definitely one of the best.”Davis is hoping to see his program take another step forward, and with the tough competition present this weekend, it should be a perfect opportunity to do so.”With the talent and the depth that we have, this is probably one of the better teams we’ve ever had here,” Davis said. “It’s an exciting time now for Wisconsin.”last_img read more