Kennedy Wins Title in Vegas
Dec. 6, 2008
LAS VEGAS - No. 3 and top-seeded Jimmy Kennedy (Ingleside, Ill.) won the 133-pound title at the 27th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational with a 6-4 victory over Boise State's eighth-ranked and third-seeded Andrew Hochstrasser to move to 9-0 on the season. Kennedy's victory is his first win in a major collegiate tournament and his third title overall along with two wins at the Missouri Open.
"It's really good to get this win since I wasn't able to finish this tournament last year because I was sick," Kennedy said. "Coming out here, that was kind of in the back of my mind, but I got through the first few matches with everything clicking and I was able to ride that momentum throughout the tournament."
Kennedy shot early against Hochstrasser and came away with a takedown just nine seconds into the bout. Hochstrasser escaped, but Kennedy got another takedown 1:20 into the match. After a Hochstrasser escape, the Illini notched a third two-pointer, but Hochstrasser slithered out to make the score 6-3 in Kennedy's favor after three minutes. Hochstrasser started down in the second and escaped, but neither wrestler managed a point the rest of the period. Kennedy started down in the third and Hochstrasser rode him the entire period but could never manage to turn the Illini junior as Kennedy walked away with a 6-4 victory and a Vegas title.
"Jimmy Kennedy did a great job all weekend," Illinois coach Mark Johnson said. "He continues to prove that if he's not the top guy in the country, he's definitely up there. All weekend, Jimmy and our two true-freshmen, B.J. Futrell and Jordan Blanton, did terrific."
Kennedy matches teammate Mike Poeta's 2007 Las Vegas Invitational title and is Illinois' third placewinner in this year's tournament. Freshman Jordan Blanton took seventh at 184 and sophomore Ryan Prater finished eighth at 141 as the Illini finished in a tie for 13th despite four starters not wrestling.
A number of Illinois grapplers will compete at Sunday's Northern Iowa Open before the Fighting Illini return home on Saturday, Dec. 13, for a double-dual against Findlay and McKendree at 1 p.m. at Huff Hall.
Final Team Scores
1. Nebraska 124.5 2. Cornell 91.0 3. Minnesota 89.0 4. Pittsburgh 85.0 5. Purdue 83.0 13T. Illinois 64.5 13T. Wisconsin 64.5
Outstanding Wrestler: Jordan Burroughs, Nebraska
125: B.J. Futrell (No. 12 seed), Park Forest, Ill., 12-3
133: #3 Jimmy Kennedy (No. 1 seed), Jr., Ingleside, Ill., 9-0
141: Ryan Prater (No. 10 seed), So., Plainfield, Ill., 8-4
149: Troy Tirapelle (No. 10 seed), Jr., Clovis, Calif., 8-4
157: Grant Paswall (No. 14 seed), So., Katonah, N.Y., 3-6
165: Joe Barczak, So., Fox Lake, Ill., 5-1
184: Jordan Blanton (No. 8 seed), Fr., Richmond, Ill., 11-3
197: #18 Patrick Bond (No. 6 seed), So., Chesapeake, Va., 5-5