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    Illinois

    2011-12 Year in Review

    Wrestling

    16-4-1 (6-2 Big Ten) // 7th Place NCAA Championships // 4th Place Big Ten Championships // T-3rd Place Big Ten

    Illinois finished in seventh place at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Illini scored 62 points, the fourth-most points scored at the national tournament in school history.

    Redshirt-junior B.J. Futrell finished sixth at the NCAA Championships and earned his second career All- America honor. Futrell placed third at the Big Ten Championships and finished the season with a 30-9 record. The Park Forest, Ill., native finished the season with a career high 13 pins, moving the redshirt- junior to fourth place on the most single-season pins list at Illinois. After Futrell notched three pins at the NCAA Championships, the Illini grappler ties Larry TenPas' 13 falls which was set in 1954-55 and led the team in the category.

    Freshman Jesse Delgado earned his first career All-America honor by placing seventh at the NCAA Championships, going 4-1 during the three-day contest. He finished third at the Big Ten Championships to qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships. The freshman went 6-2 during the Big Ten dual season and was the only wrestler to defeat No. 1 and NCAA Champion Matt McDonough of Iowa. Delgado recorded eight tech falls this season and led the team in the category.

    Redshirt-junior Jordan Blanton fell just short of his first career NCAA title at the 2012 NCAA Championships, finishing fourth for his second career All-America honor. Blanton finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships on March 5 dropping a major decision to eventual champion Ed Ruth (Penn State) before topping Nick Heflin (Ohio State) in his fifth-place bout. He went 30-9 this season, including nine wins over ranked opponents.

    Redshirt-junior Conrad Polz had a record setting year in every category, including qualifying for his first NCAA Championships after finishing fourth at the Big Ten Championships. Polz earned his first All- America honor at the NCAA Championships, placing eighth and going 4-3 during the event. The junior was sidelined for almost two months after tearing his MCL on Nov. 20, but returned to action for Big Ten duals, going 6-1 and 15-7 overall after the injury. Polz defeated sixth ranked opponents and finished the season 24-8, a new career-high in wins.

    Redshirt-sophomore Mario Gonzalez had a breakout season, as he won his first Big Ten title at 197, defeating No. 2 Matt Powless (Indiana) 10-4 in the championship bout. Gonzalez's title was the first in the weight class since the 2001 season. The Illini grappler qualified automatically for his first NCAA Championships and went 3-2 during the event. He was also named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for moving up a weight class and providing the winning bout to win the Cornell Regional during the NWCA National Duals. Gonzalez finished the season with a career-best 26-9 record with five wins over ranked opponents.

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