Illini Hit The Road For A Pair Of Big Ten Duals


Jan. 24, 2001

The fifth-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team (8-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on No. 8 Michigan State (4-2, 0-0) on Friday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Jenison Field House. The Illini will then travel to University Park, Pa., and take on No. 17 Penn State on (5-5, 0-0) Sunday, Jan. 28, at noon at Rec Hall.

With the next Illini win, head coach Mark Johnson will become the Illini's all-time winningest coach. He is currently tied with B.R. Patterson with 100 wins. Johnson's record is 100-24-1 (.804) in nine seasons while Patterson racked up a 100-113-12 (.471) record in 18 seasons. Johnson will have accomplished the feat in less than half the time.

If Illini 149-pounder Adam Tirapelle notches a pin this weekend, he will become the Illini's all-time career leader in falls. He is currently tied with Keith Healy (1984-88) atop the list with 31 pins.

vs. Michigan State
125 Pounds
No. 12 Chris Williams (MSU) 20-5 vs. No. 19 Ryan Escobar (ILL) 19-7
Have not faced each other this season. Escobar won 5-2 at last year's dual.

149 Pounds
No. 1 Adam Tirapelle (ILL) 18-0 vs. No. 17 Karl Nadolsky (MSU) 17-6

Have not faced each other this season. Tirapelle won 17-6 at last year's dual.

197 Pounds
No. 8 Pat Quirk (ILL) 20-4 vs. No. 11 Nik Fekete (MSU) 15-4
The two have not faced each other

vs. Penn State
184 Pounds
No. 2 Nate Patrick (ILL) 22-2 vs. No. 15 Jeff Knupp (PSU) 13-5
The two have not faced each other

All-Time Series:
Illini look to break 13-year East Lansing Drought Michigan State leads the all-time series between the Spartans and Illini 39-10-3 dating back to the first dual in 1946. Illinois has won the last two meetings between the two schools including last year's 25-6 win in Champaign. The last time Illinois got past the Spartans in East Lansing was during the 1987-88 season by a count of 27-13. Illini head coach Mark Johnson has a 4-2 record against the Spartans but is 0-2 in East Lansing.

Against the Nittany Lions:
Illinois and Penn State are tied in the series 2-2 count. The Nittany Lions won back-to-back duals in 1956 and 1957 while the Illini won in 1957 and more recently in 1999 by a score of 20-14 in Champaign. Johnson is 1-0 against Penn State.

Illinois Probable Starting Lineup

Wt.WrestlerOverall RecordDual RecordIntermat FallsRank
125Ryan Escobar19-78-0 419
133Kelly Madden 9-72-1 1
Chad Hay13-73-1 1
141Mike Castillo 15-68-0 3
149Adam Tirapelle18-08-0 8 1
157Ryan Berger8-51-0 1
Griff Powell16-85-2 2
165Matt Lackey 18-67-1 210
174Ben King12-35-1 0 8
John Sears 3-51-1 0
184Nate Patrick22-28-0 8 2
197Pat Quirk 20-47-1 2 8
HwtJohn Lockhart 20-48-0 5 6

The fifth-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team picked up two dual wins on the opening weekend of Big Ten action. The Illini won 19 of 20 matches during the weekend with a 40-3 win over Northwestern and a 39-0 shutout of then-No. 23 Indiana. Head coach Mark Johnson notched his 100th career win at Illinois with the Indiana win, tying B.R. Patterson as the UI's all-time winningest coach. Senior 149-pounder Adam Tirapelle, ranked No. 1 in the nation, all etched his name in the recordbook with career pin No. 31. He ties the school career mark held by Keith Healy.

The Fighting Illini are ranked fifth in the latest InterMat NCAA Division I wrestling rankings. Seven Illini individuals are also ranked, they are: Ryan Escobar, 19th (125), Adam Tirapelle, 1st (149), Matt Lackey, 10th (165), Ben King, 8th (174), Nate Patrick, 2nd (184), Pat Quirk, 8th (197) and John Lockhart, 6th (Heavyweight).

Several Illini are climbing the career wins and pins charts. Adam Tirapelle is 18-0 on the season and has amassed 114 career wins. He is currently third on the Illini's all-time career wins list and needs only seven more victories to tie leader Ernest Benion at the top with 121 wins.

Pat Quirk has also cracked the top 10 in career wins. He has 20 wins this season giving him 96 for his career which ranks ninth all-time. Next up on his sites is 2000 national champion Carl Perry with 98.

Tirapelle is also in line to become the Illini's pin king. He registered two falls during last weekend's duals to move into a tie with Keith Healy at the top of the Illini's career pin chart with 31 falls. With his next fall he will claim the top spot in the recordbook held since the 1988 season. He has had five pins in his last seven matches and is tied for the team, season lead with Nate Patrick, with eight pins.

Patrick is also making a push on the chart. The senior is currently 22-2 with eight falls and has moved past Eric Siebert for sixth on the list with 20 pins. He will move up one spot with each of his next two pins as Karl Roesler is next in line with 21, and Bob Norman is in fourth with 22.

The Illini Sports Network will air the Feb. 4 Big Ten dual between No. 5 Illinois and No. 3 Minnesota live over the internet at www.fightingillini.com. Nationally-recognized wrestling commentator Tim Johnson will call the action and 2000 141-pound NCAA champion Carl Perry will provide expert analysis. The dual will then be tape-delayed broadcast locally on WDWS AM 1400 beginning at 4:30 p.m. that evening. The dual is set to start at 1 p.m. at Huff Hall in Champaign.