Illini Topple Iowa After 38-Year Drought
Champaign, Ill. - For the first time since Dec. 17, 1960, the University of Illinois defeated the University of Iowa in a dual wrestling meet today at Huff Hall. No. 8 Illinois (12-2, 6-2) ended a streak of 32 straight dual meet losses to Iowa (13-3, 7-3) with a 20-16 win over the third-ranked and four-time defending NCAA champions.
"This is the best dual meet win ever for our program," said seventh-year Illini head coach Mark Johnson. "Words can't express how I feel, but I'm very proud of our guys."
The Illini never trailed in the meet, but the outcome wasn't decided until the last match of the day at 157 pounds. Iowa had won three straight matches heading into the finale, pulling to within one point (17-16) of Illinois. However, Illini redshirt freshman Griff Powell upset No. 8 Jamie Heidt to gain the deciding three points. Powell used a first period takedown, a second period penalty point and two third period escapes to earn the 5-4 decision.
The meet started out in a huge way for Illinois. Beginning at 165 pounds, Bill Zeman recorded a pin over Ben Uker of Iowa to give the Illini a 6-0 lead. Two matches later Nate Patrick won by a 12-3 major decision over Lee Weber at 184 to give Illinois a 10-3 lead.
Freshman John Lockhart made his third start at heavyweight for Illinois and used two takedowns in the final period to earn a 12-4 major decision. UI junior Steve Doerrer held off a late charge by Ben Kritsonis at 125 and used an escape and takedown in the final seconds to win 10-7.
Although the two teams split the 10 matches, Illinois used Zeman's pin and major decisions by Patrick and Lockhart to make up the difference in team points. Iowa recorded no pins and only one major decision
"Zeman really set the tone with his pin," said Johnson. "He got the fall and from that moment on our guys thought they could win...Griff wanted to be a part of this team, and he came here for this very moment, to beat Iowa."
# 8 Illinois 20, #3 Iowa 16
Wght -- Results -- Score (Ia-Ill)