Illini Wrestlers in Fifth After First Day of NCAA Championships


March 15, 2001

Iowa City, Iowa.-The seventh-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team is in fifth place after the first day of the 71st Annual NCAA wrestling championships in Iowa City, Iowa. All nine Illini qualifiers won first-round matches and six have advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Illinois' quarterfinalists are Ryan Escobar at 125 pounds, Adam Tirapelle at 149, Matt Lackey at 165, Nate Patrick at 184, Pat Quirk at 197 and John Lockhart at heavyweight. Mike Castillo at 141 pounds, Griff Powell at 157 and Ben King at 174 dropped second-round decisions and will have to battle back in the wrestlebacks. Even with a loss, Castillo, Powell and King could still place as high as third but will each have to win five consecutive matches.

Ryan Escobar, seeded No. 11 at 125 pounds, defeated Omar Porratta of Millersville 9-2 in his opening-round match then pulled a 6-5 upset over No. 6 Matt Brown of Oklahoma State to advance to the quarters. Escobar and Brown were knotted at 4-4 with about 15 second remaining in the match but Brown had the necessary riding time advantage for additional point. Escobar earned a reversal then held on for the one-point win. Escobar will face Minnesota's Leroy Vega in his quarterfinal match.

Unseeded Mike Castillo earned the Illini's first upset win of the afternoon. Wrestling at 141 pounds, he topped No. 10 Jason Mester of Central Michigan 7-2 then fell to Minnesota seventh-seeded Chad Erikson to drop into the wrestlebacks.

No. 3 Adam Tirapelle (149 pounds) defeated Malik Elliott of Boston University 12-3 and Ty Morgan of Central Michigan 11-2. He will face Michigan's Mike Kulczycki in Friday morning's quarterfinal.

Griff Powell posted the biggest Illini upset of the day. Powell beat No. 3 Yoshi Nakamura of Penn 3-2 at 157 pounds but then dropped a 5-3 overtime decision to Scott Owen of Northern Illinois to fall into the wrestlebacks.

Illinois would then advance wrestlers in four of the next five weight classes. At 165 pounds, No. 5 Matt Lackey beat Mark Fee of Appalachian State 19-12 and Tony Denke of Nebraska 13-4. He will face No. 4 Robbie Waller in tomorrow's quarterfinal. No. 2 Nate Patrick earned a 3-0 decision over Dave Colabella of James Madison and a 6-3 win over Ohio State's Anton Talamantes 6-3 at 184 pounds and will now face No. 7 Andy Hrovat of Michigan. 2001 197-pound Big Ten champion Pat Quirk, seeded No. 7, posted a 5-2 win over Edinboro's David Shunamon and a 14-6 major decision over Jason Payne of Northern Iowa to advance to face the No. 2 seed, Brad Vering of Nebraska. Heavyweight John Lockhart needed overtime in both of his first-round matches to advance. Lockhart downedJames Huml of Oklahoma State 5-4 in two overtimes then dropped Jake Vercelli of Purdue 4-2 in a single overtime. The fourth-seeded Lockhart will face No. 5 Matt Brink of Michigan. The Illini's Ben King defeated Eric Brown of Northern Iowa 9-7 at 165 pounds, but then fell to No. 2 Otto Olson 6-4.

The quarterfinals will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday and semifinal action is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m.

71st NCAA Wrestling Championships First Session Results March 15, 2001 Carver-Hawkeye Arena Iowa City, Iowa

Top 10 Team Scores: 1. Minnesota 41.00 2. Iowa 36.50 3. Oklahoma State 31.00 4. Oklahoma 28.00 5. Illinois 25.00 6. Iowa State 22.50 7. Michigan 19.00 Nebraska 19.00 9. Wisconsin 14.50 10. Edinboro 14.00

Illinois First Session Results: (Quarterfinal Opponents Listed)

125 Pounds- First Round: No. 11 Ryan Escobar (Illinois) defeated Omar Porratta (Millersville), 9-2 Second Round: No. 11 Ryan Escobar (Illinois) defeated No. 6 Matt Brown (Oklahoma State), 6-5 Quarterfinal: No. 11 Ryan Escobar (Illinois) vs. No. 3 Leroy Vega (Minnesota)

141 Pounds- First Round: Mike Castillo (Illinois) defeated No. 10 Jason Mester (Cent. Mich.), 7-2 Second Round: No. 7 Chad Erikson (Minnesota) defeated Mike Castillo (Illinois), 8-1

149 Pounds- First Round: No. 3 Adam Tirapelle (Illinois) defeated Malik Elliott (Boston U.), 12-3 Second Round: No. 3 Adam Tirapelle (Illinois) defeated Ty Morgan (Central Michigan), 11-2 Quarterfinal: No. 3 Adam Tirapelle (Illinois) vs. No. 11 Mike Kulczycki (Michigan)

157 Pounds- First Round: Griff Powell (Illinois) defeated No. 3 Yoshi Nakamura (Penn), 3-2 Second Round: Scott Owen (Northern Illinois) defeated Griff Powell (Illinois), 5-3 (ot)

165 Pounds- First Round: No. 5 Matt Lackey (Illinois) defeated Mark Fee (Appalachian St.), 19-12 Second Round: No. 5 Matt Lackey (Illinois) defeated Tony Denke (Nebraska), 13-4 Quarterfinal: No. 5 Matt Lackey (Illinois) vs. No. 4 Robbie Waller (Oklahoma)

174 Pounds- First Round: Ben King (Illinois) defeated Eric Brown (Northern Iowa), 9-7 Second Round: No. 2 Otto Olson (Michigan) defeated Ben King (Illinois), 6-4

184 Pounds- First Round: No. 2 Nate Patrick (Illinois) defeated Dave Colabella (James Madison), 3-0 Second Round: No. 2 Nate Patrick (Illinois) defeated Anton Talamantes (Ohio State), 6-3 Quarterfinal: No. 2 Nate Patrick (Illinois) vs. No. 7 Andy Hrovat (Michigan)

197 Pounds- First Round: No. 7 Pat Quirk (Illinois) defeated David Shunamon (Edinboro), 5-2 Second Round: No. 7 Pat Quirk (Illinois) defeated Jason Payne (Northern Iowa), 14-6 Quarterfinal: No. 7 Pat Quirk (Illinois) vs. No. 2 Brad Vering (Nebraska)

Heavyweight- First Round: No. 4 John Lockhart (Illinois) defeated James Huml (Oklahoma State), 5-4 (2ot) Second Round: No. 4 John Lockhart (Illinois) defeated Jake Vercelli (Purdue), 4-2 (ot) Quarterfinal: No. 4 John Lockhart (Illinois) vs. No. 5 Matt Brink (Michigan)