No. 7 Illini Wrestlers Host No. 9 Ohio State in Regular Season Finale


Feb. 13, 2001

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The seventh-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team (11-2, 5-2 Big Ten) will host No. 9 Ohio State (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten) on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. at Huff Hall in Champaign.

Sunday's dual marks the final home appearance for eight Illinois seniors. Those seniors are: Mike Castillo, Ryan Escobar, LaDaryl Hale, Ben King, Jon Lanning, Nate Patrick, Pat Quirk and Adam Tirapelle.

Projected Starting Lineups

Illinois (11-2, 5-2 Big Ten)

125No. 19Ryan Escobar21-1010-3
133Dave Stoltz1-30-2
orKelly Madden15-93-2
141No. 13Mike Castillo19-712-1
149No. 2Adam Tirapelle22-112-1
157No. 17Griff Powell20-99-3
165No. 6Matt Lackey22-711-2
174No. 18Ben King13-56-3
184No. 2Nate Patrick27-213-0
197No. 13Pat Quirk23-610-3
HwtNo. 6John Lockhart24-512-1

Ohio State (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten)

125No.20Kore Sharpley21-133-3
133No.20Jeff Ratliff18-152-4
141No.11Robert Sessley28-85-1
149No.14Keaton Anderson22-15-0
157Josh Janson19-115-1
165John Clark20-103-3
174Ryan Hieber22-124-2
184No.20Anton Talamantes15-93-3
197No.9Nick Preston25-55-1
HwtNo.1Tommy Rowlands33-26-0

This weekend's duals will feature several matches between ranked opponents.

No. 19 Ryan Escobar of Illinois vs. No. 20 Kore Sharpley of Ohio State Escobar beat Sharpley 3-1 at the Midlands earlier this season but Sharpley beat Escobar twice during the 1999-2000 season, a 4-2 overtime decision at last year's dual and a 6-5 win at the Big Ten championships.

No. 13 Mike Castillo of Illinois vs. No. Jeff Ratliff of Ohio State The two have not faced each other.

No. 2 Adam Tirapelle of Illinois vs. No. 14 Keaton Anderson of Ohio State The two have not faced each other.

No. 2 Nate Patrick of Illinois vs. No. 20 Anton Talamantes of Ohio State The two have not faced each other.

No. 13 Pat Quirk of Illinois vs. No. 9 Nick Preston of Ohio State Quirk and Preston have not wrestled this season but each wrestler came away with one victory in meetings in 2000. Quirk won 1-0 in overtime during the regular season dual while Preston won 3-2 at the NCAA championships.

No. 6 John Lockhart of Illinois vs. No. 1 Tommy Rowlands of Ohio State This will be the second meeting between Lockhart and Rowlands with Rowlands winning the first bout 3-2 in overtime at the Las Vegas Invitational last December.

The Illini and Buckeyes are all square in the all-time series with 27 wins apiece and one tie after 55 duals dating back to 1934, a 15-11 Illini win in Columbus. Illinois has won the last five meeting between the two schools including last year's 36-3 decision in Columbus. Mark Johnson coached Illini squads are 5-1 against the Buckeyes with the lone loss coming during the 1993-94 season by a 24-6 count at Ohio State. The last time the Buckeyes came to Champaign and left with a victory was during the 1990-91 season 40-6

Sunday's dual marks the regular season finale for the Illini. The next action for the Illinois wrestlers will be March 3-4 at the Big Ten championships in Evanston, Ill.

The Illini improved to 11-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten with a pair of Big Ten dual victories. Illinois defeated No. 21 Purdue 32-10 on Friday night in West Lafayette, Ind., then came back and beat Wisconsin 27-11 on Sunday in Madison, Wis. Mike Castillo, Adam Tirapelle, Griff Powell, Nate Patrick, Pat Quirk and John Lockhart each notched two victories during the weekend while Matt Lackey nearly upset the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at 165 pounds. Wisconsin's Donny Pritzlaff escaped with a narrow 6-3 win over Lackey. Lackey lead the match 3-2 with about 20 seconds remaining before Pritzlaff scored his first takedown of the match and registered two near fall points at the buzzer for the three-point win.

The Fighting Illini are ranked seventh in the latest InterMat NCAA Division I wrestling rankings. Nine Illini individuals are also ranked, they are: Ryan Escobar, 19th (125), Mike Castillo, 13th (141), Adam Tirapelle, 2nd (149), Griff Powell, 17th (157), Matt Lackey, 6th (165), Ben King, 18th (174), Nate Patrick, 2nd (184), Pat Quirk, 13th (197) and John Lockhart, 6th (Heavyweight).

Several Illini are climbing the career wins and pins charts. Adam Tirapelle is 22-1 on the season and has amassed 118 career wins. He currently needs only three more wins to tie Ernest Benion as the Illini career wins leader and four to take possession. At his current pace he will gain the record at the Big Ten tournament in Evanston on March 3-4.

Pat Quirk has also cracked the top 10 in career wins. He has 23 wins this season giving him 100 for his career which ranks eighth all-time, just ahead of 2000 NCAA 141-pound national champion Carl Perry.

Tirapelle has also tied Keith Healy as the Illini's all-time career pins leader. He has eight falls this season and his next pin will place alone atop the list. Nate Patrick is also making a push on the chart. The senior is currently 27-2 with nine falls and has moved into a tie for fifth with Karl Roesler on the list with 21 career pins.

The Illini's success on the mat this season has moved head coach Mark Johnson atop the Illini recordbook for career coaching wins. Johnson moved past B.R. Patterson with a 32-3 win over Penn State, moving Johnson's record to 101-25-1 in under nine complete seasons. Patterson ammased a record of 100-113-12 from 1951-68, a span of 18 years. Johnson's current record is 103-26-1.