#8 Illini Ready for 2013 NWCA National Duals

Sophomore Jesse Delgado and the Fighting Illini will compete in the 2013 NWCA National Duals this Friday.
Sophomore Jesse Delgado and the Fighting Illini will compete in the 2013 NWCA National Duals this Friday.

Feb. 20, 2013

Complete NWCA Duals NotesGet Acrobat Reader | National Duals Website

#8 Illinois at NWCA National Duals
Feb. 22 // Williams Arena // 6 pm CT // Minneapolis, Minn.

First Round, 6 pm
#8 Illinois vs. #1 Oklahoma State
#4 Ohio State vs. #5 Missouri

First Round, 8 pm
#3 Minnesota vs. #6 Virginia Tech
#2 Iowa vs. #7 Cornell

Semifinal, 1 pm
OSU/ILL winner vs MIS/OSU winner
UM/VTU winner vs. COR/IA winner

Finals, 7:30 pm
Mat 1 - Championship
Mat 2 - Third Place

Live Stream
The Big Ten Network will be live streaming all matches this weekend. Fans that are already a subscriber to the Illinois All-Access accounts will be able to watch HERE.

Live Blog
AWN/The Open Mat will be doing a live blog linked through the National Duals website: HERE.

Taylor Thomas, the Sports Information Director will be tweeting results from the championships. Follow the action on Illinois Wrestling's Twitter page @IlliniWrestling.

#8 Illinois (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten) Probable Starters
125: Jesse Delgado (3/3), 17-3, r-So.
133: Daryl Thomas (10/10), 20-6, Sr.
141: Steven Rodrigues (-/-), 30-11, r-Fr.
149: Caleb Ervin (-/19), 21-8, r-Fr.
157: Matt Nora (-/-) , 12-11, r-Fr.
165: Conrad Polz (8/7), 20-4, Sr.
174: Jordan Blanton (8/8), 19-7, Sr.
184: Tony Dallago (19/16), 17-9, r-Jr.
197: Mario Gonzalez (14/13), 11-5, r-Jr.
HWT: Chris Lopez (-/-), 11-13, r-Fr.

Rankings are listed in Intermat, W.I.N., format

Quick Hits
• The Fighting Illini wrapped up their conference dual season, dropping a close match to No. 2 Iowa 25-12 but got back on track as they defeated No. 17 Northwestern, 24-10. Illinois received an auotmatic bid to the 2013 NWCA National Duals championship final based on their finish last year. They will take on No. 1 Oklahoma State on Friday night at 6 pm.

• Senior Conrad Polz is off to a great final season, with a overall record of 20-4 and 7-1 in Big Ten action. Polz leads the team with the most dual points scored, with 38 total. The senior also holds the fastest pin of all Illini wrestler this season, recording the fall in 12 seconds.

• Sophomore Jesse Delgado returns as the starter at 125 after having a standout 2011-12 season. The Gilroy, Calif., native finished the conference season with a record of 6-1, including a win against No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa to snap his 42 match win streak. He also advanced to the finals of the 2012 Midlands Championships and placed second, a career-best finish.

• Injuries have been a big story this season for the Fighting Illini, as they have yet to field their starting lineup in a Big Ten dual this season. Senior Pat Walker hasn't competed since Dec. 8, after winning the heavyweight title at the Northern Iowa Open while redshirt-senior B.J. Futrell suffered an undisclosed injury and has missed seven matches with his return undetermined.

How Does it Work?
The National Duals began with 16 teams split into four regional tournaments. The winner of each region advanced to this weekend's championship final and will join the four teams (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State) that received automatic bids to the final.

Oklahoma State won the Kent State Region, Missouri ended the day with a regional victory, Cornell won their region and Virginia Tech won the Oregon State region.

Who Wrestles Who?
The University of Illinois wrestling team competes in the NWCA National Duals on Friday on the campus of Minnesota.

The tournament begins at 6 p.m. inside Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn., as Illinois will be the No. 8 seed and will face No. 1 Oklahoma State. Ohio State, the No. 4 seed will wrestle No. 5 Missouri also at 6 pm while two more matches will begin at 8 pm. Host, No. 3 Minnesota will take on No. 6 Virginia Tech while No. 2 Iowa will wrestle No. 7 Cornell during the later matches. The semfinals will take place at 1 pm on Saturday, with the finals beginning at 7:30 that night.

Illinois' History at the National Duals
Illinois has competed in the National Duals twice in school history, in 2004-05 and last season. Last year, the Illini won the Cornell region and advanced to the final four of the tournament. The Orange and Blue eventually fell to No. 1 Oklahoma State by a close 19-15 margin and placed fourth overall. The Illini defeated Oklahoma and Cornell to get to the finals.

Delgado Named B1G Wrestler of the Week
Illinois sophomore All-American Jesse Delgado was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week, on Feb. 12, after the third-ranked Delgado upset No. 1 Matt McDonough (Iowa), 9-4, last Friday and scored a decision against Northwestern's Dominick Malone in teams win over Wildcats. This marks the second conference honor of his career and first this season.