#6 Illini Win Three Duals in New York
Dec. 1, 2013
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team competed in two events in New York this weekend, with two duals on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Illini began the weekend with two victories at the Journeymen Duals in Troy, N.Y., defeating George Mason 44-0 and #28 North Carolina State 26-15. Jackson Morse (165) highlighted the day, winning each bout by pin and defeating #19 Nijel Jones of North Carolina State.
The squad then traveled to New York, N.Y. to compete at the 'Grapple at the Garden' on Sunday, where they began the day with a 29-18 victory over #23 Bloomsburg. Caleb Ervin (149) and Morse each came away with big wins in the matchup, as Ervin defeated #15 Bryce Busler and Morse defeated #6 Josh Veltre. In the final dual of the weekend, Illinois lost a nail-biter to #9 Cornell 15-18. Jesse Delgado (125) highlighted the matchup, defeating #2 Nahshon Garrett, and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the event.
"Individually we had some very good wins this weekend and as a team wrestled relatively well," said head coach Jim Heffernan. "Unfortunately, we made a few poor decisions that cost us the Cornell meet, and that was extremely disappointing. With some young guys in the lineup we have some lessons to learn and some growing up to do as the season picks up. Being in a back-and-forth competitive meet like this will only help us."
The Orange and Blue started the weekend with a 44-0 win over George Mason. Delgado began the match by pinning Bryce Gentry, his second pin in his first three matches, while Zane Richards and Steven Rodrigues each earned major decision victories to give the Illini a 14-0 lead. Caleb Ervin and Zac Brunson both won by decisions, while Jackson Morse pinned Matt Stull. Tony Dallago earned a tech. fall victory over Seth Robertson, while Nikko Reyes pinned Ryan Hembury. Mario Gonzalez won a 14-3 major decision in his season debut, while Christopher Lopez came away with a 2-0 decision over Jake Kettler to give the Illini the win.
Delgado began the next match against #28 North Carolina State with a tech. fall victory over Micah Perez. Richards then earned a major decision victory over Chris Wileks, while John Fahy and Ervin each lost decisions, making the score 9-6. Brunson won by major decision and Morse pinned #19 Nijel Jones, while Tony Dallago suffered his first loss of the season, an 11-5 decision to Pete Renda. Nikko Reyes won a 9-4 decision and Mario Gonzalez earned a 12-3 major decision victory, while Christopher Lopez was pinned by #4 Nick Gwiazdowski, making the final score 26-15.
The Illini then traveled to New York, N.Y. to compete at the 'Grapple at the Garden' on Sunday. In the dual against #23 Bloomsburg, Delgado pinned Sean Boylan, while #20 Nick Wilcox pinned Richards to tie the score at six. Rodrigues earned a 16-4 major decision victory and Ervin won a 9-4 decision over #15 Bryce Busler, while Brunson pinned Kevin Hartnett to increase Illinois' lead. Morse came away with an 11-0 major decision victory over #6 Josh Veltre, handing the reigning Eastern Wrestling League Champion his first loss of the season. Dallago was pinned by #19 Mike Dessino, while Reyes pinned Sam Shirey to give the Illini a 29-12 lead. The Huskies won the final two match-ups, as #11 Richard Perry defeated Jeff Koepke in a 6-3 decision and #17 Justin Grant won a 4-0 decision over Christopher Lopez.
Illinois faced #9 Cornell in the final match of the weekend, with Delgado and Richards each earning decisions over ranked opponents to give the Illini an early 6-0 lead. Delgado defeated #2 Nahshon Garrett, while Richards handed #11 Mark Grey his first loss of the season. Cornell responded with three straight decisions as #5 Mike Nevinger defeated Rodrigues, #13 Chris Villalonga defeated Fahy, and #16 Brian Realbuto defeated Brunson. Morse earned his 12th win of the season with an 8-4 decision over Dylan Palacio, while Dallago won a 9-4 decision over Duke Pickett to give Illinois a 12-9 lead. Reyes was pinned by #11 Gabe Dean with just five seconds left in the third period, while Gonzalez won a 7-1 decision over #12 Jace Bennett to tie the score at 15. After a close battle at heavyweight, Stryker Lane came away with the 4-3 2OT victory over Christopher Lopez to give Cornell the 18-15 victory.
The Illini have five days off before traveling to Madison, Wis. on Friday, Dec. 6 to face Wisconsin in their first conference dual of the season.
#6 Illinois 44, George Mason 0
#6 Illinois 26, #28 North Carolina State 15
#6 Illinois 29, #23 Bloomsburg 18
#6 Illinois 15, #9 Cornell 18