Five Illini Advance to Quarters of University National

Sophomore Jackson Morse is one of five Illini to qualify to the quarters of the Asics University National Championships
Sophomore Jackson Morse is one of five Illini to qualify to the quarters of the Asics University National Championships

June 2, 2012

AKRON, Ohio - Five Illinois wrestlers Daryl Thomas, Jackson Morse, Conrad Polz, Jordan Blanton and Pat Walker advanced to the quarters at the Asics University National Championships freestyle tournament Saturday. The wrestlers will compete tomorrow at the Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House at the University of Akron to become the top seven placewinners. The top seven in the seven Olympic weight classes qualify for the University World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., on August 17.

"Our guys wrestled well today," associate head coach Mark Perry said. "We forced our opponents to wrestle in our positions which lead to good results. We need to continue to wrestle our matches tomorrow and bring home some national titles."

Thomas moves into the quarterfinals in 63 KG/138.75 lbs by defeating Matt Rappo (Husky Wrestling) 3-2,7-0 then pinned John Fahy in 1:10. Thomas will take on Justis Flamio (SKWC) tomorrow to advance to the semifinals. Morse at 74 KG/163, is undefeated after defeating Dakota Cooley (Central Michigan) 2-1, 4-1 then moved past Colin Zeerip (Cliff Keen Wrestling) by a technical fall of 6-0,6-0 and Alec Ortiz (University of Minnesota) by a 7-4, 6-0 decision to wrestle Bobby Barnhisel (Navy Mat Club) tomorrow.

Polz and Blanton both wrestled at 79 KG/174 lbs as Polz beat Harrison Cook (Askren Wrestling) in a 3-0,3-1 decision before taking down Tyler Koehn (NWTC) by a 1-1, 2-0 decision. The Orland, Park, Ill., native then defeated Kevin Hardy (OCU/Gator RT) by a 3-4, 1-0, 9-2 decision and will wrestle John-Mar Cannon (Buffalo Wrestling) for a chance to qualify for the University World Team Trials. In his first match, Blanton defeated Michael Moreno (Iowa State) by a 1-3, 6-0, 5-3 decision before moving past Todd Porter (Missouri Wrestling) with a 7-0, 6-0 technical fall. The redshirt-junior will face Jimmy Sheptock (Terrapin Wrestling) in his next bout.

Walker (120 KG/264.5 lbs) wrestled one match and won against Henry Chirino (Bear Cave) with a 1-0,1-0 decision to take on Joe Rizqallah (Michigan Wrestling) in the quarterfinals.

Also, a week ago in Colorado Springs, Colo., two Illini placed in the top-four of their respective weight classes at the World Trials as Illinois freshman Steve Rodrigues finished third in 60 kilos while freshman Christopher Lopz placed fourth at heavyweight.