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    Illini Grapplers Set To Compete At 70th NCAA Championships

    March 14, 2000

    NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The fifth-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team will travel to St. Louis, Mo., for the 70th annual NCAA Wrestling Championships. The championships will be held March 16-18 at the Kiel Center.

    The Fighting Illini enter this year's championship after compiling a 14-1 dual record and a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Illinois sent two wrestlers to the finals at the Big Ten tournament with Adam Tirapelle claiming the 149-pound title while Nate Patrick injury defaulted the 184-pound title after securing an NCAA bid. All 10 Illini wrestlers earned a berth into the national tournament, nine claimed seventh-place or higher finishes at the qualifying meet while 125 pounder Ryan Escobar received one of two wildcard bids. Illinois placed 12th at last year's NCAA championship. The highest NCAA finish for the Illini under head coach Mark Johnson came in 1998 when the Orange and Blue finished seventh. The last time the Illini sent 10 qualifiers to the tournament was in 1995. That team went on to finish ninth but crowned two individual national champions when Steve Marianetti won the 150-pound title and Ernest Benion followed winning the title at 158. Illinois has recorded 23 top 10 team finishes at the NCAA championships which ranks ninth among Division I schools. The Illini's highest finish was second on two occasions, 1931 and 1938.

    SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The following is a breakdown of the daily sessions at this year's Big Ten Wrestling Championships.

    Thursday, March 16
    11 a.m. CSTSession I begins
    6:30 p.m. CSTSession II begins
    Friday, March 17
    11 a.m. CSTSession III begins
    6:30 p.m. CSTSession IV begins
    Saturday, March 18
    11 a.m. CSTSession V begins
    6:30 p.m. CSTSession VI begins

    THE COACH: Head coach Mark Johnson is in his eighth season as head coach of the Fighting Illini, with a record of 92-24-1 (.791) at Illinois

    • Has a career record of 112-29-3 (.788) in 10 years

    • Third-winningest coach in Illinois history, behind B.R. Patterson (99 wins) and H.E. Kenney (94 wins)

    • 1977 Michigan graduate and two-time All-American at 177 pounds

    • 1980 U.S. Olympic team member

    • 1995 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year

    • Has coached three national champions, 15 All-Americans and 64 Big Ten placewinners at Illinois

    The Lineup

    125Ryan Escobar24-1224-11
    133Dave Stoltz18-1418-13
    141Carl Perry21-620-6
    149Adam Tirapelle34-232-2
    157Griff Powell22-1021-10
    165Bill Zeman23-1123-11
    174Ben King18-917-9
    184Nate Patrick33-333-3
    197Pat Quirk27-926-9
    HwtJohn Lockhart28-528-3

    THE RATING GAME: The Fighting Illini are ranked sixth in the latest InterMat NCAA Division I wrestling rankings and fifth by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Ten Illini individuals are also ranked, they are: Ryan Escobar, 15th (125), David Stoltz, 20th (133), Carl Perry, 9th (141), Adam Tirapelle, 3rd (149), Griff Powell, 14th (157), Bill Zeman, 17th (165), Ben King, 13th (174), Nate Patrick, 5th (184), Pat Quirk, 11th (197) and John Lockhart, 4th (Heavyweight).

    FALL GUY: Adam Tirapelle recorded his team-leading 14th pin of the season against Tim Myers of Indiana in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. That fall moved Tirapelle into a third-place tie with Bob Norman who recorded 22 career pins from 1956-58. With his next pin - his 15th of the season - he will own the third spot and will be three shy of Larry TenPas who recorded 26 career falls.

    Career Pins

    1.Keith Healy1984-8831
    2.Larry TenPas1953-5626
    3.Adam Tirapelle1997-22
    Bob Norman1956-5822
    5.Karl Roesler1995-9921
    6.Eric Siebert1994-9819
    Bill Zeman1997-17
    Nate Patrick1998-12
    Carl Perry1996-11
    John Lockhart1998- 9

    MORE ADAM: Tirapelle's Big Ten title at 149 pounds was the Illini's first since 1997 when Ernest Benion won the 158-pound title. Tirapelle became the Illini's 56th Big Ten champion and second under head coach Mark Johnson.

    CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior 141-pounder Carl Perry moved into seventh-place on the Illini's career wins list. Perry has 93 career victories and needs four more to catch former heavyweight Jon Llewellyn for fourth place with 97 wins. Perry is being pursued by Adam Tirapelle and Bill Zeman in career wins. Tirapelle is the team leader in wins this season with 34, giving him 91 for his career. Bill Zeman is only four behind with 87 career wins.

    Career Wins

    No.Wrestler (Wt.)Wins
    1.Ernest Benion (158)121
    2.Steve Marianetti (134/150)120
    3.Eric Siebert (150)112
    4.Jevon Herman (177)110
    5.Kevin Puebla (126)104
    6.Jon Llewellyn (Hwt)97
    7.Carl Perry (141)93
    8.Adam Tirapelle (149)91
    Seth Brady (Hwt)91
    10.Jon Vaughn (134/142)88
    Karl Roesler (190/Hwt)88
    12.Bill Zeman (165)87
    13.Kirk Azinger (142/150)86
    Lindsey Durlacher (118)86

    HOT TICKET: The 2000 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, to be held at Kiel Center, March 16-18, in St. Louis, Missouri, has sold the most all-session tickets in the 69-year history of the event. With 15,015 all-session tickets sold and three-day championship ticket sales over 90,090, the University of Missouri and St. Louis Sports Commission have surpassed the previous record set in 1997 at the University of Northern Iowa. The Kiel Center, which will seat 19,854 for wrestling, is the largest venue ever to host the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Approximately 2,000 general public seats are still available. For information on all-session and Saturday-only tickets, fans may call 800/916-9642.

    CLUB 30: Illinois juniors Adam Tirapelle and Nate Patrick have each earned 30 or more wins this season. Those win totals mark the 23rd and 24th time in Illini history an individual has had 30 or more wins in a single season. Tirapelle joined the club last year with the 34 victories and is one of seven others (Steve Marianetti, Eric Siebert, Kevin Puebla, Ernest Benion, Lindsey Durlacher and Jevon Herman) to have accomplished this feat twice in their careers. With 30 or more wins next season, Tirapelle will become the only Illini to have ever made the list three times. Patrick just fell short with 29 wins last season.

    RANKED ROOKIES: Illinois' recruiting class of Mark Jayne (Elyria, Ohio, St. Edward High School) and Paul Collum (Romeoville High School) are the top-ranked senior wrestlers in their respective weight classes according to Wrestling USA magazine. Jayne, a two-time Ohio state champion, is first at 125 pounds while Collum, a two-time Illinois state champ, is tops at 130.

    Intermat's Top 25 (3/8/00)

    2.Iowa State
    3.Oklahoma State
    9.Michigan State
    10.Northern Iowa
    12.Boise State
    15.West Virginia
    16.Penn State
    18.Arizona State
    22.Oregon State
    24.Central Michigan

    NCAA Championships
    Top-Ten Team Finishes

    1.Oklahoma State 68
    2.Iowa State55
    4.Iowa 47
    5.Penn State38
    8.Michigan State24

    NCAA Champions
    Individuals (1990-1999)

    1.Iowa 25
    2.Oklahoma State13
    3.Penn State7
    Ohio State4
    Arizona State4

    National Champions, High NCAA Finishes Rule the Times It is impossible to ignore the success that Mark Johnson has had during his eight years at Illinois. In 1993, he took over a program that had posted two winning seasons in 10 years and has since formed Illinois into a national power, having posted eight straight winning seasons and been a regular in the national team rankings.

    The facts support the theory that Johnson has helped wake a sleeping giant in Champaign-Urbana:

    • Johnson has led Illinois to five consecutive top 12 finishes at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. In 1998, the Illini placed seventh, which is the highest finish for a UI team in 40 years.

    • Eric Siebert became the third NCAA Champion for Johnson at Illinois when he won the 1998 150-pound title. He joins Ernest Benion, Jr. and Steve Marianetti who won titles in 1995.

    • In the last seven years, Illinois has had 15 All-Americans, nine of which came over the last three seasons. The four All-Americans in 1998 are the most in one season for Illinois since 1948.

    • Illinois has had 64 Big Ten placewinners during the Johnson era, including Adam Tirapelle who won the Big Ten title at 149 pounds in 2000.

    • Over the last six years, UI has had an impressive 53 NCAA qualifiers, including 10 in 1995 and 2000, and nine in 1998 and 1999.

    Although Illinois has achieved much success during the last eight years, there are still many more goals to achieve, and Johnson will be around to guide his program into the future. In January of 2000, Johnson increased his commitment to the University of Illinois by signing a three-year contract extension.

    "My family and I are excited about the extension," Johnson said. "This is where I want to be. My staff and I have worked hard at turning our program into a top ten team and I feel we can challenge for the national title on a yearly basis. The University of Illinois is where I'd like to retire."

    "Mark Johnson is at the top of his profession and, with high standards on and off the mat for his student-athletes, has developed Illinois wrestling into a consistent national contender," University of Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther said. "We're pleased to keep Mark as part of the Illini family as he continues to pursue a national championship."

    Illinois All-Americans

    1928Albert Campbell (145), 3rd
    Ralph Webster (HWT), 2nd
    1929Joe Sapora, (115), 1st
    George Minot (135), 1st
    1930Joe Sapora (115), 1st
    Louis Bauerle (135), 2nd
    Lloyd Burdick (HWT), 2nd
    1932Joe Puerta (123), 1st
    1933Joe Puerta (118), 2nd
    R.L. Emmons (126), 2nd
    1934Barney Cosneck (HWT), 3rd
    1935George Ledbetter (118), 3rd
    Pete Pakutinsky (126), 3rd
    Jack McIlvoy (145), 3rd
    Ralph Silverstein (175), 1st
    1937Jack McIlvoy (145), 2nd
    John Ginay (175), 2nd
    1938Allen Sapora (126), 1st
    Archie Deutschman (135), 2nd
    John Ginay (165), 1st
    1939Paul Petry (128), 3rd
    Archie Deutschman (136), 1st
    John Sikich (HWT), 2nd
    1941Theodore Seabrooke (155), 3rd
    1942Theodore Seabrooke (155), 2nd
    1946David Shapiro (165), 1st
    1947Lou Kachiroubas (128), 2nd
    Kenneth Marlin (155), 4th
    Dave Shapiro (165), 4th
    Charles Gottfried (HWT), 4th
    1948William Mann (114 1/2), 2nd
    Joe Garcia (136 1/2), 4th
    Gilbert Gaumer (174), 4th
    Charles Gottfried (191), 2nd
    Arthur Archer (HWT), 4th
    1949Gilbert Gaumer (165), 3rd
    1950William Vohaska (175), 3rd
    1952Richard Meeks (115), 3rd
    Louis Kachiroubas (123), 3rd
    Norton Compton (137), 4th
    1953Richard Meeks (115), 3rd
    Norton Compton (137), 2nd
    1954Larry TenPas (157), 3rd
    1955Richard Meeks (123), 3rd
    Larry TenPas (167), 2nd
    1956Larry TenPas (157), 1st
    1957Dave Moore (115), 4th
    Werner Holzer (147) 3rd
    Bob Norman (HWT), 1st
    1958William Gabberd (157), 3rd
    Bob Norman (HWT), 1st
    1963William Roy (167), 6th
    1965Clayton Beattie (157), 4th
    1979Kevin Puebla (126), 5th
    1986Phil Callahan (134), 6th
    1988Kirk Azinger (142), 7th
    1989Jon Llewellyn (HWT), 3rd
    1990Jon Llewellyn (HWT), 3rd
    1991Jon Llewellyn (HWT), 1st
    1993Steve Marianetti (142), 4th
    1994Steve Marianetti (142), 5th
    1995Steve Marianetti (150), 1st
    Ernest Benion (158), 1st
    1996Ernest Benion (158), 2nd
    Lindsey Durlacher (118), 4th
    1997Ernest Benion (158), 3rd
    Lindsey Durlacher (118), 2nd
    Eric Siebert (150), 5th
    1998Jevon Herman (177), 6th
    Carl Perry (126), 7th
    Karl Roesler (Hwt), 7th
    Eric Siebert (150), 1st
    1999Karl Roesler (Hwt), 3rd
    Adam Tirapelle (149), 3rd

    ILLINOIS' NCAA QUALIFIERS 1990-2000 1990 (2)
    Derrick Crenshaw, 134
    Jon Llewellyn, Hwt, 3rd

    1991 (1)
    Jon Llewellyn, Hwt, 1st

    1992 (3)
    Steve Marianetti, 134
    Greg Rudin, 118
    Geoff Woodcock, 167

    1993 (3)
    Charles Gary, 150
    Steve Marianetti, 142, 4th
    Jeff Monson, 190

    1994 (5)
    Lindsey Durlacher, 118
    Lance Pelton, 190
    Steve Marianetti, 142, 5th
    Steve Rusk, 177
    Jon Vaughn, 134

    1995 (10)
    Ernest Benion, 158, 1st
    Seth Brady, Hwt
    Lindsey Durlacher, 118
    Charles Gary, 167
    Jevon Herman, 177
    Steve Marianetti, 150, 1st
    Steve Rusk, 190
    Eric Siebert, 142
    Brian Stewart, 126
    Jon Vaughn, 134

    1996 (7)
    Ernest Benion, 158, 2nd
    Seth Brady, Hwt
    Lindsey Durlacher, 118, 4th
    Jevon Herman, 177
    Karl Roesler, 190
    Eric Siebert, 150
    Jon Vaughn, 142

    1997 (8)
    Ernest Benion, 158, 3rd
    Seth Brady, Hwt
    Lindsey Durlacher, 118, 2nd
    Jevon Herman, 177
    Carl Perry, 126
    Eric Siebert, 150, 5th
    Tony Siebert, 134
    Jon Vaughn, 142

    1998 (9)
    Steve Doerrer, 118
    Jevon Herman, 177, 6th
    Ben King, 167
    Carl Perry, 126, 7th
    Pat Quirk, 190
    Karl Roesler, Hwt, 7th
    Eric Siebert, 150, 1st
    Adam Tirapelle, 142
    Bill Zeman, 158

    1999 (9)
    Steve Doerrer, 125
    Nate Patrick, 184
    Carl Perry, 141
    Griff Powell, 157
    Pat Quirk, 197
    Karl Roesler, Hwt, 3rd
    Dave Stoltz, 133
    Adam Tirapelle, 149, 3rd
    Bill Zeman, 165

    2000 (10)
    Ryan Escobar, 125
    Ben King, 174
    John Lockhart, Hwt
    Nate Patrick, 184
    Carl Perry, 141
    Griff Powell, 157
    Pat Quirk, 197
    Dave Stoltz, 133
    Adam Tirapelle, 149
    Bill Zeman, 165

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