Roesler, Tirapelle Fail to Advance to NCAA Finals
During Friday morning's session of the 1999 NCAA Wrestling Championships, Illinois won 10 of 13 matches and pulled three upsets. Unfortunately, the luck ran out on the Fighting Illini Friday night. All six UI wrestlers lost in the evening session, including Adam Tirapelle and Karl Roesler who failed to advance out of the semifinals to the title match. Four other Illini, who would have become All-Americans had they won their consolation matches, also lost and were eliminated from the championship.
"I'm very disappointed with how the day ended up," said UI Head Coach Mark Johnson. "We had four guys who could have become All-Americans and none of them showed up to wrestle."
Tirapelle, seeded seventh at 149 pounds, faced sixth-seeded Tony Davis of Northern Iowa in the semifinals. After falling behind 4-1 with 1:47 to go in the match, Tirapelle scored a takedown at the 1:22 mark to stay alive. However, with just 23 seconds left, Davis recorded a near fall and ended up winning the decision, 7-3.
Tirapelle reached the semifinals after upsetting second-ranked Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State, 6-4, in the quarterfinals. The Illinois sophomore, already an All-American, can still place as high as third when competing in the wrestleback finals Saturday morning.
Roesler, the fifth seed at heavyweight, reached the semis after defeating fourth-seeded Mat Orndorff of Oregon State in the quarterfinals. In the finals, however, Roesler came up against one of the top wrestlers in the nation and lost by technical fall to No. 1 ranked and top-seeded Stephen Neal of Cal. St.-Bakersfield, 17-2. Neal, the defending NCAA champions, is now a perfect 44-0 heading into Saturday's final. Roesler, like Tirapelle, Still can place as high as third and no lower than sixth while wrestling Saturday morning.
"Karl and Adam did a great job in the morning session and upset some tough guys to reach the semifinals," said Johnson. "As great as the morning was for those two, and for the whole team really, the evening was just as disappointing."
In consolation action Friday night, junior Carl Perry fell behind 4-1 after one period in his match and ended up losing to sixth-seeded Dustin Denunzio of Harvard, 6-3. Bill Zeman, also a junior, trailed 8-0 and ended up losing, 8-4, to sixth-seeded Mark Samples of Edinboro at 165.
Nate Patrick fell to 10th-seeded Mike Greenfield of Central Michigan, 4-1, at 184. Greenfield scored a takedown with just four seconds remaining in the first period and those two points ended ups being the difference in the score.
At 197 pounds, Pat Quirk went to double overtime before losing to ninth-seeded Raphael Davis of Cal. St.-Bakersfield. Each wrestler recorded an escape during regulations and the score was tied 1-1 after the first overtime period. Davis, however, won the coinflip for the 30-second tiebreaker. After choosing the down position, Davis Escaped with 17 seconds left in double overtime and earned the 2-1 decision.
"Maybe we wrestled a little above expectations early on, but that is still no excuse," said Johnson. "It's a shame that we didn't wrestle better when the rewards were right in front of us."
In the team standings, Minnesota is leading with 89.5 points followed by Iowa (86), Penn State (74.5) and Iowa State (74.5). Illinois is tied with Northern Iowa in 13th place with 32 points.