Illini Set Starters at Annual Wrestle-Offs

Tony Dallago earned a tech. fall victory at Saturday's Illini Wrestle-Offs.
Tony Dallago earned a tech. fall victory at Saturday's Illini Wrestle-Offs.

Nov. 2, 2013

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team hosted the annual Illini Wrestle-Offs on Saturday. This year's wrestle-offs featured six matches at five different weight classes, along with one exhibition match.

The day began with a 157-pound matchup between redshirt-freshman Zac Brunson and redshirt-junior Jake Gingerich. Brunson came away with a (*-*) decision, securing his spot as the starter at 157 pounds. The next matchup featured redshirt-freshman Nikko Reyes squaring off against redshirt-sophomore Jeff Koepke, with Reyes earning the starter role at 184 pounds after winning a 3-1 decision.

Redshirt-freshmen Zane Richards (133 lbs) notched a 22-7 (TIME) tech. fall victory over redshirt-freshman John Fahy (141 lbs), while redshirt-senior Tony Dallago, a three-year starter at 184 pounds, faced freshman Danny Hicks in a 174-pound matchup. Dallago will serve as the team's 174-pound starter this season after a 16-1 (TIME) tech. fall victory. Newcomers Isaiah Martinez and Kyle Langenderfer squared off at 157 pounds, with Martinez coming away with a 10-8 decision. Both freshmen will redshirt their first season at Illinois.

The 165-pound matchup featured redshirt sophomore Matt Nora, last year's starter at 157 pounds, and redshirt junior Jackson Morse. Morse, a 2011 NCAA qualifier, came away with the 9-3 decision, earning the starting spot at 165 pounds. The last matchup of the day featured 2013 NCAA and Big Ten Champion Jesse Delgado in a 125-pound matchup against Dominic Olivieri, with Delgado notching an 18-3 (TIME) tech. fall victory.

The Illini begin their season next weekend when they travel to Dubuque, Iowa on Nov. 9 for the Loras Open, where seven Illini won titles last season. Illinois will then travel north for the Chicago Quad Meet on Nov. 16, where they will face Arizona State at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Ill., followed by matches against SIU-Edwardsville and Ouchita Baptist at Glenbard East High School in Lombard, Ill.

Illinois will then compete at the NWCA Journeyman Duals in Troy, N.Y. on Nov. 30 before facing Cornell and Bloomsburg at the 'Grapple at the Garden', which takes place on Dec. 1 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. The Illini face their first Big Ten competition when they travel to Wisconsin on Dec. 6, then make their annual trip to the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. on Dec. 29-30.

Illinois hosts two duals in January, facing Ohio State on Jan. 12 and Michigan on Jan. 17, before traveling to State College, Pa. to take on defending NCAA Champion Penn State on Jan. 24. Two days later, the Illini will face Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. before hosting Nebraska at home, live on the Big Ten Network, on Feb. 1.

The Illini will travel to West Lafayette, Ind. on Feb. 7 to square off with Purdue before hosting Northwestern on Feb. 9 for their final regular season dual. Illinois will then travel to Columbus, Ohio on Feb. 16-17 to compete in the NWCA National Duals for the third consecutive year.

The 2014 Big Ten Championships will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. and take place on March 8-9. The 2014 NCAA Championships will be held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. on March 20-22.

Illini Wrestle-Off Results
157: Zac Brunson dec. Jake Gingerich, 12-5
184: Nikko Reyes dec. Jeff Koepke, 3-1
Zane Richards (133) tech. fall John Fahy (141), 23-7
174: Tony Dallago tech. fall Danny Hicks, 16-1
157: Isaiah Martinez dec. Kyle Langenderfer, 10-8
165: Jackson Morse dec. Matt Nora, 10-3
125: Jesse Delgado tech. fall Dominic Olivieri , 21-4