Illini Notch Four All-Americans
March 16, 2012
St. Louis - The Illini ended Friday night with four wrestlers earning All-America honor, the most since the 2005 season. Of the four, Jesse Delgado (125), B.J. Futrell (133), Conrad Polz (165) and Jordan Blanton (174) earned All-American, with two of them getting the status for the first time in their career. Tony Dallago (174) and Mario Gonzalez (197) made it to the consolation round of 12 but were eliminated. The Illini are tied with Lehigh for the sixth place with 57.5 points. Session V begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT.
Futrell dropped his semifinal match against Oklahoma State's Jordan Olivier and will move into the consolation bracket. The Illini struggled in finding his offensive as his only two points in the match came from escapes. Olivier was dominate on top and moved past Futrell 8-2. Futrell will wrestle No. 10 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota) in the consolation semifinals.
Delgado earned his first All-American honor as he went 1-1 on Friday. In his first match against No. 3 Alan Water (Missouri), Delgado was tied with the Tiger after the final period 1-1 to go into overtime. In sudden victory, Delgado scored a takedown to win the match 3-1 and advance to wrestle No. 8 seed Ryan Mango (Stanford). Against Mango, the Cardinal notched the first takedown, then Delgado escaped to make the score 2-1 after the first period. Delgado started bottom and tied up the match 2-2 with his escape, however Mango scored a quick takedown to push the score to 4-2. Delgado scored another escape, but time ran out on the freshman as he will now wrestle for seventh place against No. 12 Steve Bonanno (Hofstra).
Blanton was extremely dominant in his 12-3 victory over Peter Huntley (Navy). The Illini started the match scoring two takedowns and a nearfall in the first period to go up 6-1. Blanton then started down and scored the escape, while Huntley notched a takedown making the score 8-3 in favor of Blanton after the second. In the final period, Blanton posted a three-point nearfall and added the riding time to win 12-3 and become a two-time All-American. The Illini grappler will face No. 4 Logan Storley (Minnesota) tomorrow in the consolation semifinals.
Polz went 1-1 during the Friday night session, picking up his first career All-American honor after moving past No. 12 Paul Gillespie (Hofstra), 3-1 in sudden victory. The two were scoreless after the first, however Polz started down in the second and notched the one point escape. He started on top in the third, and gave up the escape, tying the bout 1-1. In overtime, Polz scored the winning takedown to move into the consolation quarterfinals against Kyle Blevins (Appalachian St.). Polz competed hard, but dropped the bout 4-2 in the first sudden victory. He will take on Wisconsin's Ben Jordan tomorrow morning.
Tony Dallago (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) came close to earning All-American honors but both dropped out of the tournament. Dallago lost 13-6 to the No. 1 seed Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) while Gonzalez was defeated by No. 9 Alfonso Hernandez 7-6.
125: No. 4 seed Jesse Delgado, Fr., Salinas, Calif., 33-8
133: No. 4 seed B.J. Futrell, r-Jr., Park Forest, Ill., 30-7
149: Eric Terrazas, Sr., Wheaton, Ill., 25-13
165: No. 9 seed Conrad Polz, r-Jr., Orland Park, Ill., 24-7
174: No. 7 seed Jordan Blanton, r-Jr., Richmond, Ill., 29-7
184: Tony Dallago, r-So., Harrisburg, Pa., 25-13
197: No. 7 seed Mario Gonzalez, r-So., Aurora, Ill., 26-9