Senior Eric Terrazas looks for his first Big Ten title this weekend at the Big Ten Championships held at Purdue this weekend.
Feb. 29, 2012
#5 Illinois at Big Ten Championships
March 3-4 // Mackey Arena // West Lafayette, Ind.
125: 4th Jesse Delgado (27-5, 6-3), Fr., Gilroy, Calif.
133: 3rd B.J. Futrell (24-5, 7-3), r-Jr., Park Forest, Ill.
141: 6th Daryl Thomas (13-12, 5-5), r-Jr., Edwardsville, Ill.
149: 7th Eric Terrazas (21-8, 4-3), Sr., Wheaton, Ill.
157: 8th Jackson Morse (11-11, 3-6), So., Alto, Mich.
165: 5th Conrad Polz (18-3, 6-2), r-Jr., Orland Park, Ill.
174: 8th Jordan Blanton (21-5, 3-4), r-Jr., Richmond, Ill.
184: 7th Tony Dallago (19-9, 5-3), r-So., Harrisburg, Pa.
197: 5th Mario Gonzalez (19-7, 5-3), r-So., Aurora, Ill.
HWT: 11th Pat Walker (12-16, 1-7), r-Jr., Lombard, Ill.
Records are (Overall, Against the Field
Sessions 1-3 will be available through the Big Ten Networks online coverage while the Big Ten finals will be televised live on BTN. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks will have the call live from Mackey Arena.
A live blog will be available throughout the Big Ten Championships, run by Illini wrestling sports information intern Taylor Thomas. The blog can be found here.
Live bracket updates will be available at the official website of the Big Ten Championships.
Saturday, March 3
Session 1 - 10 AM
Session 2 - 5 PM
Sunday, March 4
Session 3 - 1 PM
Session 4 (1st/3rd/5th place) - 3 PM
#5 ILLINI HEAD TO BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
No. 5 Illinois (16-4 overall, 6-2 in the Big Ten) begins the championship portion of the schedule when it travels to West Lafayette, Ind, for the 2012 Big Ten Championships at Mackey Arena. Illinois finished sixth at last year's championships and qualified four individuals for the NCAA Championships.
TEN ILLINI EARN PRE-SEEDS
Ten Fighting Illini grapplers earned pre-seeds for the Big Ten Championships, with B.J. Futrell (133) grabbing the No. 3 seed while Jesse Delgado (125) notched the No. 4 seed. Conrad Polz (165) and Mario Gonzalez (197) grabbed the No. 5 spot and Daryl Thomas (141) earned the No. 6 seed. Both Eric Terrazas (149) and Tony Dallago (184) were slotted the No. 7 seed in their respective weight classes, while Jackson Morse (157) and Jordan Blanton (174) grabbed the No. 8 spot. Pat Walker (HWT) earned the No. 11 seed at heavyweight. Seeds will be finalized at the coaches' meeting on March 2 and brackets will be announced that afternoon.
NCAA QUALIFIER SPOTS ALLOCATED
The NCAA announced the number of qualifiers for each weight class at each qualifying event on Feb. 23. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches rankings. Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. The Big Ten Conference received 74 spots a record-high under the new qualifer system.
However, there will be 40 at-large selections made on March 7 after all the qualifying events are completed, spread among the weight classes in order to fill each class to include 33 wrestlers. Below is the list of automatic qualifiers the Big Ten received at each weight class as well as the number of national at-large selections in each class:
Weight Big Ten Qualifiers National At-Large 125 6 4 133 7 4 141 5 4 149 9 4 157 6 4 165 8 4 174 9 4 184 7 4 197 7 4 HWT 10 4
ILLINI HISTORY AT THE BIG TENS
Six Illini currently in the starting lineup have placed at the Big Ten Championships in the past, with B.J. Futrell recording two placing finishes in his career. His fourth place finish was the highest of the Illini last year. Eric Terrazas notched a fifth-place finish last year, while Conrad Polz and Tony Dallago finished sixth and Jackson Morse took seventh a season ago. After being injured last season Jordan Blanton looks to improve upon his third place finish in 2010 and his fourth place in 2009. In addition, Futrell, Terrazas and Polz placed sixth, eighth and seventh in 2009, respectively. Junior heavyweight Pat Walker and 141-pounder Daryl Thomas are the only Illini who have competed in the Big Ten Championships but haven't placed, meaning two Orange and Blue have never competed in the Big Ten Championships.
WEIGHT CLASSES TO WATCH
While every weight class in the Big Ten is extremely tough, there are a few classes where Illinois wrestlers could make a deep run in the Big Ten Championships. Here's a look at those weights:
Fourth-seeded Jesse Delgado has as good a chance to win a Big Ten title as any of the top three seeds at 125 pounds, since two of his losses against the field have been to Iowa's top-seeded Matt McDonough. His other loss was to Minnesota's second-seeded Zach Sanders after leading Sanders 11-4 after the second period. Delgado is the only wrestler in the field to give No. 1 McDonough a loss this season.
B.J. Futrell owns the three-seed in the 133 pound field. The redshirt-junior looks for his first Big Ten crown as he's defeated three of the top-six wrestlers in the weight class. His three losses come from second-seeded Tony Ramos of Iowa while the Illini hasn't competed against top-seeded Logan Steiber of Ohio State this season.
No. 5 seed Conrad Polz has had a couple of close calls against two wrestlers seeded above him, losing two points to No. 4 Ben Jordan (Wisconsin) and four points to No. 2 Mike Evans (Iowa). Polz has to finish in the top eight to qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships.
Fifth-seeded Mario Gonzalez has had a career-setting year, including a win over Minnesota's No. 1 Sonny Yohn earlier this season. The redshirt-sophomore has also defeated Michigan State's Nick McDiarmid, Northwestern's John Schoen, Wisconsin's Jackson Hein and Iowa's Vinnie Wagner.
Complete notes available in the above PDF file