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    Illini Wrestlers Tame Bulldogs, 37-3
    Troy (above) and Alex Tirapelle and Gabe Flores lead the Illini to a 37-3 victory over Fresno State in front of their family and friends.

    Troy (above) and Alex Tirapelle and Gabe Flores lead the Illini to a 37-3 victory over Fresno State in front of their family and friends.

    Jan. 14, 2006

    Fresno, Calif.--The fourth-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team improved to 3-0 on the season as they defeated Fresno State 37-3 in main event of tonight's three-team dual. Earlier in the day, the Illini dismantled San Francisco State in their dual, 44-0. The loud crowd at the Save Mart Cener was not only rooting for their home team, but for Alex and Troy Tirapelle and Gabe Flores who all won championships for nearby Clovis High School.

    The Illini were looking to duplicate the fast start they had in the first session, instead, they got the opposite. Gabe Flores (Madera, Calif.) needed riding riding time to win his match against Sean Carlson, 5-4. However, Cassio Pero's (Chicago Heights, Ill.) 7-2 decision over Garrett Spooner along with Troy Tirapelle's (Clovis, Calif.) pin of Dustin Rocha in 4:15 put the Illini back on the right path and in command of the dual. With senior All-American Alex Tirapelle's (Clovis, Calif.) 7-2 manhandling of Charles Jones, the three local wrestlers were unbeaten in their homecoming.

    Mike Poeta (Highwood, Ill.) and Donny Reynolds (Frankfort, Ill.) also added big points to the Illini's team score. The two starters won in their 165 and 174 pound matches by forfeit. Senior All-American Pete Friedl (Orland Park, Ill.) was too much for Greg Gifford to handle as Friedl scored every period en route to a 12-6 decision.

    With the 197 pound match tied at 2-2 at the beginning of the third period, Tyrone Byrd (Clinton, Ill.) scored 5 quick points on an escape, a takedown, and a two-point near-fall to win his match against Brandon Halsey.

    Illinois' season dual shutout was finally snapped as heavyweight Matt Weight (Batavia, Ill.) dropped a close and controversial decision to Cody Parker, 3-2. In the first period, Weight was called for fleeing the mat and a point was given to Parker--much to the disagreement of the Illini supporters. Then, in the closing seconds of the third period, Weight tried to put a few shots together but the buzzer sounded before he could score.

    That was the only bump in the road for the Illini. In his125 pound match, senior All-American Kyle Ott (Huber Heights, Ohio), helped the Illini finish strong as he won by major decision over Cory Borges 14-4. Ott exploded out of the gates and quickly scored on two takedowns and a two point near-fall. Ott controlled the frenzied pace of the match and only let Borges score on escape points.

    The Illini travel to Palo Alto, Calif. to face Stanford on Sunday. Mat time is 11 a.m. CST. The team opens the Big Ten season at home against Purdue on Jan. 20.

    133: Gabe Flores (ILL) dec. Sean Carlson (Fresno St.), 5-4--3-0
    141: #13 Cassio Pero (ILL) dec. Garrett Spooner (Fresno St.), 7-2--6-0
    149: Troy Tirapelle (ILL) pinned Dustin Rocha (Fresno St.), 4:15--12-0
    157: #1 Alex Tirapelle (ILL) dec. Charles Jones (Fresno St.), 7-0--15-0
    165: #9 Mike Poeta (ILL) won by forfeit--21-0
    174: #17 Donny Reynolds (ILL) won by forfeit--27-0
    184: #3 Pete Friedl (ILL) dec. Greg Gifford (Fresno St.), 12-6--30-0
    197: #8 Tyrone Byrd (ILL) Brandon Halsey (Fresno St.), 8-2--33-0
    Hwt: Cody Parker (Fresno St.) dec. Matt Weight (ILL), 3-2--33-3
    125: #3 Kyle Ott (ILL) maj. dec. Cory Borges (Fresno St.), 14-4--37-3

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