Delgado to Compete for Big Ten Title
March 8, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team finished day one of the 2014 Big Ten Championships with defending conference champion Jesse Delgado (125) advancing to tomorrow's championship bout. Eight Illini remain alive in the consolation bracket, including five in the consolation semifinals. The Orange & Blue currently sit in fifth-place with 69.5 points.
No. 2 Jesse Delgado defeated No. 3 Cory Clark of Iowa 5-4 in the championship semifinals to advance to tomorrow's final, where he'll square off against top-seeded Nico Megaludis of Penn State. It will be the sixth career meeting between the two, with the Nittany Lion claiming the most recent victory, a 5-4 decision in January. Delgado defeated Megaludis in last year's conference semifinals, then again in the finals of the NCAA Championships.
"It's great for Jesse and for our program," said head coach Jim Heffernan. "He's a competitive kid and he continues finding ways to win against top guys at that weight. I don't think the history between those two will impact the match in any way. They are two great wrestlers that are exciting each time they wrestle."
Earlier in the day, No. 5 Jackson Morse defeated No. 4 Dan Yates (MICH) to advance to the 165-pound championship semifinals. He squared off against top-seeded David Taylor of Penn State, but was pinned in the first period to move to the consolation bracket. He'll face Northwestern's Pierce Harger (No. 3) in tomorrow's consolation semifinals.
Zane Richards (133), Steven Rodrigues (141), Tony Dallago (174) and Nikko Reyes (184) each won two consolation matches today to advance to tomorrow's consolation semifinals. A win in the semifinals will advance them to the third-place match, while a loss will move them to the battle for fifth-place. Caleb Ervin (149), Zac Brunson (157), and Mario Gonzalez (197) dropped their consolation semifinal matches and will compete for seventh place tomorrow. Christopher Lopez (HWT) dropped his second-round consolation bout, but remained alive due to extra matches being added for NCAA qualification purposes. He squared off against top-seeded Adam Coon for a spot in tomorrow's ninth-place bout, but dropped the 2-0 decision to end his tournament run.
"The fact that there are eight wrestlers remaining in consolation is huge not only for the team, but also for the wrestlers themselves," said Heffernan. "Every win matters at this point and can help our seeding at the NCAA tournament. Our guys have competed very hard and we had a successful round tonight."
The third session of the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will begin at 11:00 a.m. CT tomorrow, and will include the consolation semifinals, as well as seventh-place matches. The championship, third-place and fifth-place bouts will begin at 1:12 p.m. CT.
Team Standings After Day 1