#6 Illini Fall to #17 Wisconsin, 18-19
Dec. 6, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The sixth-ranked Fighting Illini wrestling team dropped their conference opener to #17 Wisconsin in a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle on Friday night. Each team won five individual bouts, but the Badgers scored more points to earn the 18-19 victory at the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center. The Illini got wins from #15 Tony Dallago, #5 Mario Gonzalez, #1 Jesse Delgado, Steven Rodrigues, and Matt Nora.
The match started at 174 pounds as Tony Dallago picked up his 10th win of the season in a 6-4 decision over Scott Liegel to give the Illini an early 3-0 lead. Nikko Reyes then dropped a 3-2 decision to Jackson Hein, while Mario Gonzalez earned a decision over Timmy McCall to put the Illini back on top. Wisconsin won the heavyweight matchup as #6 Connor Medbery earned a 9-1 major decision victory over Christopher Lopez to give Wisconsin a one point lead with six bouts left.
Jesse Delgado improved to 7-0 on the season and added six points for the Illini after pinning Ryan Taylor in 0:44 seconds, while Zane Richards lost a 10-4 decision to #4 Tyler Graff. In the 141-pound matchup, Steven Rodrigues and Jesse Thielke were tied at 2-2 with seconds remaining in the third period before Rodrigues earned three near-fall points at the buzzer to win the 5-2 decision. Wisconsin won the next two bouts to take a four point lead, as John Fahy dropped a 10-3 decision to T.J. Ruschell and Zac Brunson was disqualified for stalling. Matt Nora won the final matchup of the day in a 4-1 decision over Ben Cox, but the three team points were not enough as Wisconsin came out on top with a one-point victory.
"It really was an unbelievable way to lose a dual meet," said head coach Jim Heffernan. "Jesse Delgado and Steven Rodrigues both had great wins in critical situations, and Matt Nora had a very solid win filling in for Jackson Morse. We need to get back to full strength, get healthy, and get tougher in certain areas."
Illinois has three weeks off before they are back in action at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30 in Evanston, Ill.
#6 Illinois 18, #17 Wisconsin 19