Tirapelle, Roesler Pull Upsets to Reach NCAA Semis
Sophomore Adam Tirapelle and senior Karl Roesler each upset higher seeded opponents in dramatic form to advance to tonight's semifinals of the 1999 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Roesler and Tirapelle are now assured of placing among the top six in the tournament. The top eight earn All-America honors.
Besides the two wrestlers left in the championship bracket, Illinois also has four left in the wrestlebacks. Carl Perry (141 pounds), Bill Zeman (165), Nate Patrick (184) and Pat Quirk (197) all will wrestle in the consolation fourth round tonight. If they win, they become All-Americans. If they lose, they are eliminated. In all, Illinois wrestlers won 10 of 13 matches today, and six of nine UI qualifiers are still alive in the tournament.
Tirapelle advanced into the semifinals at 149 pounds with an impressive upset over the second-ranked wrestler in the nation in today's quarterfinals. Tirapelle, who is ranked and seeded seventh, upset second-seeded Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State with a 6-4 decision. Tirapelle used a takedown with 32 seconds remaining to gain a 5-2 lead. After a Wright reversal with 13 seconds left, Tirapelle had an escape to end the scoring. It was the first meeting of the year between the two wrestlers and the defeat was only Wright's second of the season.
At heavyweight, Roesler, the fifth seed, used an improbable comeback to upend fourth-seeded Mat Orndorff of Oregon State. Roesler scored three takedowns in the last minute of regulation to come back from a 6-2 deficit. Although trailing in riding time by more than two minutes, Roesler's takedown with nine seconds remaining sent the match into overtime tied at eight. Just six seconds into the overtime period, the Illini senior took Orndorff down, winning 10-8.
NCAA Championship Quarterfinals
141 - No. 1 Mark Angle (Clarion) dec. No. 8 Carl Perry (Ill.), 8-4
149 - No. 7 Adam Tirapelle (Ill.) dec. No. 2 Reggie Wright (Oklahoma St.), 6-4
Hwt - No. 5 Karl Roesler (Ill.) dec. No. 4 Mat Orndorff (Oregon St.), 10-8 ot