#7 Jimmy Kennedy extended his winning streak to 11 and finished the Big Ten season undefeated with an 8-4 upset of No. 3 Joey Slaton at 133.
Feb. 24, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - No. 11 Illinois had the match within reach against No. 1 Iowa, but the Hawkeyes pulled out three matches in overtime or with points at the final buzzer of regulation to take out the Illini, 21-12, in front of 2,341 fans at Huff Hall. No. 7 Jimmy Kennedy finished the Big Ten season undefeated with an 8-4 upset of No. 3 Joey Slaton at 133 and No. 2 Mike Poeta defeated No. 16 Ryan Morningstar at 157 to lead the Illini.
"Jimmy is wrestling really well right now," Illinois coach Mark Johnson said. "It was a big turnaround against a kid who beat him pretty handily at Midlands, so it was a huge win for him and for us as a team. We really believed we could win today, but we couldn't win the close matches. That's part of what makes Iowa, Iowa, is that they close out the tight matches."
Kennedy increased his winning streak to a career-best 11 matches and will be in the discussion for a No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Championships, along with Michigan State's Franklin Gomez, who also finished the dual season undefeated since Illinois and MSU didn't face each other. In addition, Roger Smith-Bergsrud (165) improved his winning streak to five matches, with all five wins coming by a single point.
Starting off for the Illini (13-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) in his final home dual meet, No. 8 Gabe Flores faced second-ranked Charlie Falck at 125. The two traded shots for the first 90 seconds before Falck gained control and slammed Flores to the mat, but Flores managed to flatten himself out before spinning out for the escape, cutting the Hawkeye's lead to 2-1 after one period. Falck started down in the second after Flores deferred choice, and the Illini senior managed to wipe off Falck's 36 seconds of riding time before racking up some of his own. Falck nearly escaped with 50 seconds left in the period, but Flores flipped him over and earned a two-point near-fall as the crowd erupted. Shortly after the near-fall, Flores' ankle become lodged in a precarious position and the hold was broken, with the Illini senior taking injury time. After a short break, Flores returned to the top position and rode out Falck, gaining 1:23 of riding time to go with his 3-2 lead. Starting down in the third, Flores sat out and nearly got the reversal, but Falck took him back to the mat and wiped out the riding time point. Flores sat out again before spinning away for the escape and a 4-2 lead with 1:15 left in the bout. Falck tried a shot with 50 seconds left, but Flores held onto a leg to nullify the takedown before the hold was broken. With 30 seconds left, Flores got in on a leg on a re-shot, but Falck overpowered him for a takedown to tie the match at 4, then rode him out to send the bout to sudden-victory time. In overtime, Falck shot with 36 seconds left and got the double-leg to take the 6-4 victory and give Iowa a 3-0 lead.
At 133, after over a minute of hand-fighting, No. 7 Jimmy Kennedy shot in and got a leg, but No. 3 Joey Slaton worked into the Iranian position multiple times before Kennedy was able to manage a takedown. With just under a minute left, Slaton escaped and the two wrestled on their feet the rest of the period, giving Kennedy a 2-1 lead after three minutes. Slaton started down in the second and Kennedy worked his riding time to 55 seconds before Slaton earned the reversal for a 3-2 Hawkeye lead. But 15 seconds later, Kennedy hooked a leg and scored a reversal of his own for a 4-3 advantage. Kennedy got the crowd on its feet by riding out Slaton the rest of the period and racking up 1:47 of riding time before starting down in the third period. Kennedy nearly escaped before Slaton was given a stalling warning with 1:37 left, then Slaton took the optional restart with 1:20 left, giving Kennedy the escape for a 5-3 lead with riding time. Slaton then got a leg near the edge of the mat, but Kennedy rose up and kicked out Slaton's right leg, earning the takedown with 15 seconds remaining for a 7-3 advantage. Slaton squirmed out at the horn as Kennedy took the 8-4 win and evened the match at 3-3.
Next up at 141, No. 8 Dan LeClere got a double-leg with 1:20 left, but No. 15 Ryan Prater held onto a high crotch for a few seconds before the Hawkeye recorded the takedown. Prater sat out and nearly got the reversal, but LeClere held onto him. Finally, with less then 30 seconds left, Prater broke his grip and escaped to end the period trailing 2-1. LeClere chose neutral to start the second period and quickly shot in on Prater's left leg once again, but a stalemate was called before any points. After a fight to control the other's head, LeClere fell backward and Prater nearly got the takedown, but the Hawkeye pulled his leg away just in time. With a minute left in the period, LeClere shot for a leg, but he got too close and Prater put him on his back for the takedown and a 3-2 lead. He then rode out LeClere to wipe off the Hawkeye's riding time from the first period. Prater started down in the third and LeClere took the optional restart, allowing Prater to escape and take a 4-2 advantage. A scramble near the edge of the mat ended with LeClere shooting and getting a takedown as the two tumbled off the edge, but LeClere again let Prater up, giving Prater a 5-4 lead. LeClere got a leg once more, but Prater held the high crotch and a stalemate was called with 1:03 left in the bout. LeClere shot with 40 seconds left, but Prater spun behind him. LeClere put him in the Iranian position and nearly spun Prater onto his back, then LeClere twisted around and got a takedown with six seconds left. Prater nearly got the reversal, but the horn sounded with LeClere in control, giving him a 6-5 win and deflating a crowd that was ready to erupt.
At 149, Joey Kotowski stepped in for Grant Paswall against No. 1 Brent Metcalf and wasn't able to do much against the top-ranked 149-pounder in the nation. Metcalf bolted out to a 10-2 lead after a period thanks to three takedowns and a pair of two-point near-falls. He started down and escaped in the second before rattling off a takedown and a three-point near-fall. After allowing Kotowski to escape, Metcalf scored a takedown with five seconds left in the period for the 18-3 technical fall in 4:56.
Just 42 seconds into the match at 157, No. 2 Mike Poeta shot in on a double-leg and got the takedown on No. 16 Ryan Morningstar for a 2-0 lead. After working over the Hawkeye, Morningstar edged off the mat for a restart, which Poeta let him up from, cutting the lead to 2-1 with 1:19 riding time in Poeta's favor after one period. Poeta started down in the second and quickly escaped. With 12 seconds left in the period, Morningstar took a sloppy shot that Poeta fended off and grabbed a leg before getting the takedown just before time expired for the 5-1 lead. Morningstar started down in the third and Poeta worked to tilt him, but the Iowa sophomore managed to flatten out each time. Poeta then let him up with less than a minute left and neither wrestler was able to connect on more offense, the bout ending 6-2 in Poeta's favor and bringing the Illini within 11-6.
At 165, Roger Smith-Bergsrud got a textbook double-leg takedown 30 seconds into the bout, but Jake Kerr escaped quickly, making the score 2-1 in the Illini's favor, which is where the period ended. Smith-Bergsrud started down in the second and managed to free himself in just 12 seconds for a 3-1 advantage after no further offense in the second. Kerr started down in the third and quickly sat out for the escape. Smith-Bergsrud shot with 1:35 left, but Kerr fended it off once more. With 30 seconds left, Kerr hooked Smith-Bergsrud's leg, but the Illini grabbed Kerr's foot and the pair tumbled to the mat with no advantage gained. Smith-Bergsrud then fended off two late shots to win, 3-2, his fifth-straight win by one point, cutting Iowa's lead to 11-9.
No. 15 John Dergo defended some early shots from No. 3 Jay Borschel before the Hawkeye shot in for a takedown 90 seconds into the bout. Dergo sat out and nearly escaped with a minute left in the period, but Borschel got him back to the mat, working on his left arm the entire time while riding him out for a 2-0 lead after a period. Borschel started down in the second and Dergo nearly got the tilt before Borschel scored a reversal for a 4-0 lead, which held up through the rest of the period. Dergo started down in the third and the Hawkeye continued to ride him while working for the tilt. During a near-escape at the edge of the mat, Dergo was called for stalling and a point was awarded to Borschel, pushing his lead to 5-0. Dergo finally escaped, but Borschel shot in and, after a scramble, scored the takedown. He let Dergo up then got the takedown at the edge of the mat for a 9-2 lead. With the riding time point, Borschel took the 10-2 major decision and pushed Iowa's lead to 15-9.
At 184, No. 7 Phillip Keddy hooked Ben Friedl's leg less than 30 seconds into the bout and tossed him to the mat for a takedown. After a restart, Friedl sat out and broke the hold, cutting the deficit to 2-1. But Keddy controlled Friedl's head and tripped him up for another takedown before letting him up to make the score 4-2. Keddy once again got the waistlock and tripped Friedl for a takedown and the Illini redshirt-freshman was warned for stalling late in the period, which ended with Keddy holding a 6-2 advantage. The Hawkeye started down in the second and quickly escaped. After another fruitless scramble, Keddy worked into yet another waistlock that Friedl fended off, but the Illini was called for stalling, giving Keddy a point and making it 8-2 in Keddy's favor with 1:58 of riding time. Friedl started down in the third and Keddy let him up, and Friedl defended a number of shots in the final period, dropping a 9-3 decision as Iowa extended its lead to 18-9.
Next, No. 11 Patrick Bond and Chad Beatty fought through a scoreless first period at 197. Bond started down in the second and quickly escaped. When Bond took a shot with 1:17 left, Beatty backed off and was called again for stalling, pushing Bond's lead to 2-0. But Beatty shot in with 50 seconds left and controlled Bond for the takedown, tying the bout. Bond managed an escape, however, to retake the lead, 3-2. Bond nearly got a takedown but was ruled off the mat and the period ended with him leading, 3-2. Beatty chose neutral to start the third and won a scramble near mat's edge to go up, 4-3, but Bond escaped to tie the bout at 4 with 1:20 left. Neither wrestler could connect in the final 80 seconds and the match went to sudden-victory time. Bond narrowly missed on three shots in the sudden-victory time, pushing the bout to two 30-second tiebreaks, with Beatty starting down in the first. Beatty escaped 11 seconds into the period for a 5-4 lead. Bond shot in for a leg late, but couldn't control before time ran out. Bond started down in the second and spun out in two seconds, tying the bout at 5. Beatty shot in, but Bond fended it off, then managed to get a leg and score the takedown as the buzzer sounded, giving the Illini a 7-5 win and bringing the Huff Hall crowd to its feet as they pulled within 18-12.
At heavyweight, No. 15 John Wise capitalized on the momentum Bond gave Illinois, shooting off the whistle and dropping No. 7 Matt Fields with a big takedown less than 10 seconds into the match. Fields attempted to escape and Wise slammed him to the mat repeatedly, coming up with a huge ride of 2:37 before Fields escaped just prior to the first-period buzzer. In the second, Wise chose down and escaped quickly for the only score of the period. With Wise leading 3-1 after two periods, Fields started down and escaped in 13 seconds to get within 3-2. Wise was warned for stalling with 57 seconds left in the match and Fields got a takedown with 45 seconds left for a 4-3 lead. Wise escaped to tie it at 4 with the riding time point sealed up, but he was called for stalling with five seconds left in the bout, giving Fields a point and ending regulation tied, 5-5. In sudden-victory, Fields got the first shot in and took down Wise for a 7-5 win, sealing Iowa's 21-12 victory.
#1 Iowa 21, #11 Illinois 12
125: #2 Charlie Falck (IOWA) dec. #8 Gabe Flores (ILL), 6-4 (SV1) (0-3)
133: #7 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) dec. #3 Joe Slaton (IOWA), 8-4 (3-3)
141: #8 Dan LeClere (IOWA) dec. #15 Ryan Prater (ILL), 6-5 (3-6)
149: #1 Brent Metcalf (IOWA) tech. fall Joey Kotowski (ILL), 18-3 (4:55) (3-11)
157: #2 Mike Poeta (ILL) dec. #16 Ryan Morningstar (IOWA), 6-2 (6-11)
165: Roger Smith-Bergsrud (ILL) dec. Jake Kerr (IOWA), 3-2 (9-11)
174: #3 Jay Borschel (IOWA) maj. dec. #15 John Dergo (ILL), 10-2 (9-15)
184: #7 Phil Keddy (IOWA) dec. Ben Friedl (ILL), 9-3 (9-18)
197: #11 Patrick Bond (ILL) dec. Chad Beatty (IOWA), 7-5 (TB1) (12-18)
HWT: #7 Matt Fields (IOWA) dec. #15 John Wise (ILL), 7-5 (SV1) (12-21)