Seven Illini Qualify for NCAA Championships
March 7, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seven Fighting Illini wrestlers will compete at the 2012 NCAA Championships March 15-17 at the ScottTrade Center in St. Louis. Jesse Delgado (125), B.J. Futrell (133), Eric Terrazas (149), Conrad Polz (165), Jordan Blanton (174), Tony Dallago (184) and Mario Gonzalez(197) all qualified automatically at last weekend's Big Ten Championships.
Delgado grabbed the No. 4 seed at 125 pounds and will face Old Dominion's Jerome Robinson in the first round. The winner of that match will face the winner of the bout between Central Michigan's Joe Roth and Purdue's Camden Eppert. It is Delgado's first trip to the NCAA Championships.
Futrell earned the No. 3 seed at 133 pounds and will take on Chattanooga's Nick Soto with the winner of the match facing the winner of the Scott Festejo (Old Dominion) and Zach Zehner (Wyoming). Futrell is a three-time NCAA qualifier and earned his first All-American status last season, finishing eighth.
Terrazas will face No. 5 seed Ian Miller (Kent State) at 149, with that victor taking on the winner between No. 12 Ivan Lopouchanski (Purdue) and Justin Accordino (Hofstra). This will be Terrazas' second trip to the NCAA Championships, as the senior went to the round of 16 last year.
Polz notched the No. 9 seed in the 165 pound bracket and will face Oklahoma's Patrick Graham in his first trip to the NCAA Championships. The winner of that match will take on the winner between No. 8 seed Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) and Zach Toal (Missouri).
Blanton is ranked at the No. 7 seed at 174 pounds and will take on The Citadel's Turtogtokh Luvsandorj with the winner of the match facing the victor of the Ryan Leblanc (Indiana) and No. 10 Te Edwards (Old Dominion). Blanton will be competing in his third NCAA Championships, as the redshirt-junior finished fifth in 2010 and earned his first All-American honor.
Dallago will face Navy's Luke Rebertus, with that victor taking on the winner between No. 2 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) and Casey Newburg (Kent State). Dallago qualified for the NCAA Championships last year.
Gonzalez earned the No. 7 seed at 197 pounds and will take on Army's Derek Stanley, with the winner of that match facing the winner of No. 10 Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) and Ryan Smith (Cal Poly). This will be the defending 197-pound Big Ten Champion's first time to the NCAA Championships.
The NCAA Championships begin March 15 at 11 a.m. CT at the ScottTrade Center. Both sessions on March 15 will be streamed live on ESPN3.com.