6-5-1 (3-4-1 Big Ten) | 6th Place Big Ten Championships | 22nd Place NCAA Championships | Stats
Senior 141-pounder Jimmy Kennedy and sophomore 133-pounder B.J. Futrell each finished eighth at the NCAA Championships, giving the Illini multiple All-Americans for the fourth-straight year. It was Kennedy’s third All-America honor and Futrell’s first, as Illinois placed 22nd as a team. Five Illini qualified for the NCAA Championships, with junior 149-pounder Eric Terrazas, freshman 157-pounder Jackson Morse and redshirt-freshman 184-pounder Tony Dallago joining Kennedy and Futrell in Philadelphia, Pa.
Terrazas scored an upset in his first match at the NCAA Championships, toppling No. 12 Desi Green (Buffalo), and he nearly knocked off No. 5 Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State), but the Cowboy pulled out a 3-1 win. Terrazas stayed alive in the consolation bracket with a 13-5 major decision over Rider’s Zac Cibula before dropping a 6-3 match to Edinboro’s Torsten Gillespie to see his tournament end. Morse and Dallago both went 0-2 at the NCAA Championships.
Two weeks earlier, the Illini placed sixth as a team at the Big Ten Championships, with Kennedy finishing third at 141 and Futrell taking fourth place at 133. Terrazas finished fourth at 149 and Dallago placed sixth at 184, both earning automatic qualifying spots to the NCAA Championships. Morse earned his bid to Philadelphia through an at-large bid at 157 pounds. Conrad Polz, Illinois’ 165-pounder, lost his fifth-place match and narrowly missed automatic qualifier status, and senior 197-pounder Joe Barczak placed eighth.
During the dual season, the Illini weathered a year of ups and downs that included two wins and a tie against ranked foes but two losses to unranked opponents. Illinois opened the season with an 18-13 win over Missouri in Edwardsville, Ill., and placed fifth at the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational before dispatching No. 15 Purdue, 26-15, at Huff Hall.
But the inexperienced spots in the Illini lineup were exposed during the grueling Big Ten dual season, as Illinois managed just a 3-4-1 ledger in conference action. Illinois did end the dual season on a high note, though, cruising past Indiana by a score of 23-12 in front of 2,560 fans at Huff Hall, the second-largest crowd to ever watch a wrestling match at Huff.
Kennedy wrapped up his Illini career with a stellar 23-4 season. He earned bonus points in 14 matches and only allowed bonus points twice. He was 6-0 in duals and 4-0 in Big Ten duals. His 120 career wins are tied for seventh in school history with Matt Lackey, and his .833 career winning percentage ranks fifth.
Futrell had a career year, going 28-10 with six falls, and earning All-America honors. Terrazas also showed great improvement, finishing the year 26-11, including a 5-3 mark in Big Ten action. Morse posted a solid true-freshman season, going 22-14 overall.
Following the season, associate head coach Carl Perry accepted a position as the national director of wrestling for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mark Perry, a two-time national champion at 165 pounds, was hired as Illinois’ associate head coach on April 20, and former three-time All-American Cory Cooperman rounded out head coach Jim Heffernan’s staff heading into the 2011-12 campaign.