Illini Set for 2013 NCAA Championships

Jesse Delgado is one of seven Illini who will be competing for an NCAA title this Thursday-Saturday.
Jesse Delgado is one of seven Illini who will be competing for an NCAA title this Thursday-Saturday.

March 18, 2013

Printable NCAA Championship NotesGet Acrobat Reader

#11 Illinois at NCAA Championships
March 21-13 // Wells Fargo Arena // Des Moines, Iowa

The 2013 NCAA Championships will feature a wealth of coverage on television and streamed online, all by ESPN. Both sessions on March 21, will be on ESPN3.com, and ESPNU will carry both sessions on March 22, and the consolation finals on Saturday, March 23. ESPN will air the championship finals live at 7 CT on March 23.

Receive updates on the progress of Illinois wrestlers at the NCAA Championships through the official Twitter account of Illinois Wrestling, @IlliniWrestling, or HERE.

Bracket Updates
Bracket updates will be available at the official website of the NCAA Championships HERE.

Session Times
Thursday, March 21
Session 1 | 11 AM | ESPN3
Session 2 | 6:30 PM | ESPN3

Friday, March 22
Session 3 | Quarterfinals | 10 AM | ESPNU & ESPN3
Session 4 | Semifinals | 6 PM | ESPNU

Saturday, March 23
Session 5 | Consolation Finals | 10 AM | ESPNU
Session 6 | Finals | 7 PM | ESPN

*All times Central

Seeded Illinois Wrestlers
125:	2nd	Jesse Delgado (22-3), So., Gilroy, Calif.
165:	7th	Conrad Polz (22-6), Sr., Orland Park, Ill.
174: 	7th	Jordan Blanton (22-10), Sr., Richmond, Ill.

Unseeded Illinois Wrestlers 133: Daryl Thomas (22-10), Sr., Edwardsville, Ill. 149: Caleb Ervin (22-12), r-Fr., Morganfield, Ky. 184: Tony Dallago (19-13), r-Jr., Harrisburg, Pa. 197: Mario Gonzalez (14-7), Jr., Aurora, Ill.

• Sophomore Jesse Delgado is having an incredible season at 125 pounds, having recently winning the Big Ten Championships at the weight, defeating top-seeded Matt McDonough (Iowa) 10-4 in the championship bout. Delgado's title is the first in the weight class since Robert Burwell achieved the feat in 1945. The Illini grappler holds a 22-3 overall record this season and finished the conference season with a record of 6-1. Delgado comes into the NCAA Championships with the No. 2 seed in the 125 pound bracket.

• Senior Conrad Polz is having a great final season, with a overall record of 22-6 and 7-1 in Big Ten action. Polz finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships, dropping the championship bout to two-time NCAA finalist David Taylor (Penn State). The senior notched the No. 7 seed in the 165 pound bracket. Polz earned his first career All-America honors last year, finishing eighth at the national meet.

• Senior Jordan Blanton is chasing his first career NCAA title this week, entering the 2013 NCAA Championships as the No. 7 seed. Two-time All-American Blanton finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships, dropping a 4-3 bout to Nebraska's Robert Kokesh in the third-place bout. He is 22-10 this season. Blanton also finished fourth at the national meet last year, the highest of any Illini.

• Redshirt-junior Mario Gonzalez looks for his first All-America honor this year. He owns a 14-7 overall record and will wrestle Cornell's Jace Bennett in the first round at the NCAA Championships. The 2012 Big Ten champion finished third at the conference championships, only dropping one match to Nathan Burak (Iowa).

#11 Illini Set for NCAA Championships
No. 11 Illinois travels to the 2013 NCAA Championships at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, March 21-23. The three-day event begins Thursday at 11 a.m. Session II starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Sessions III and IV begin Friday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Session V begins Saturday at 10 a.m., and the finals begin Saturday at 7 p.m. All times are listed as Central.

The Orange and Blue finished seventh at the 2012 NCAA Championships, with Jordan Blanton (174), B.J. Futrell (133), Jesse Delgado (125) and Conrad Polz (165) earning All-America honors.

Three Illini Earn Seeds for NCAAs
Three Fighting Illini grapplers earned seeds for the 2012 NCAA Championships, with Jesse Delgado (125) earning the highest seed of the Illini with the No. 2 spot. Seniors Conrad Polz and Jordan Blanton notch the No. 7 seed in the 165 and 174 pound brackets, respectively.

ESPN Family to Broadcast NCAAs
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast every session of the 2013 NCAA Championships, with the network streaming both sessions on Thursday, March 21, on ESPN3.com. Both sessions on Friday, March 22, featuring the quarterfinals (morning) and semifinals (evening) will be aired on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. ESPNU will continue coverage of Saturday's morning's medla round at 10 a.m., while the championships matches will be aired on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. Anthony Robles and Tim Johnson will serve as play-by-play analysts while Adam Amin will give sideline reports.

Illini History at NCAA Championships
Five of Illinois' qualifiers for the NCAA Championships have competed at the championships in their career, with Jesse Delgado (125), Conrad Polz (165), Jordan Blanton (174), Tony Dallago (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) holding NCAA experience. Three of the qualifiers have earned All-America honors as Delgado placed seventh last year, Polz finishing eighth and Blanton placing fourth to earn his second honor of his career.

Weight Classes to Watch
125 Pounds
Big Ten champion Jesse Delgado looks to continue his success from the conference championships into the NCAA's. The No. 2 seed has a legitimate shot of winning a national title as he is currently riding a seven match winning streak and has defeated both the No. 3 seed Matt McDonough (IOWA) and No. 4 Nico Megaludis (PSU). Delgado will face Utah Valley's Jade Rauser in the first round.

165 Pounds
Conrad Polz, the Big Ten runner-up at 165 pounds seeks success at the NCAA Championships. The senior is the No. 7 seed and will wrestle Rider's Ramon Santiago in the first round with the possibility of taking on two-time defending NCAA champion David Taylor (Penn State) in the championship quarterfinals. The two have met twice this season with Polz dropping both matches.

174 Pounds
Jordan Blanton is no stranger to wrestling at the NCAA Championships. The senior is seeking his third All-America honors as an Illini as he placed fourth last year, the highest of any Illini. Blanton looks to outperform his No. 7 seed as he will wrestle the winner of Virginia Tech's Austin Gabel and Wyoming's Lee Helbig.