#15 Illinois Heads to NCAA Championships

Illini junior Jesse Delgado looks to defend his national title at 125 pounds.
Illini junior Jesse Delgado looks to defend his national title at 125 pounds.

March 18, 2014

2014 NCAA Championships NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Championships Central | Brackets

#15 Illinois at NCAA Championships
March 20-22 // Chesapeake Energy Arena // Oklahoma City, Okla.

Session Times
Thursday, March 20
Session 1 - 11:00 a.m.
Session 2 - 6:00 p.m.

Friday, March 21
Session 3 - 10:00 a.m.
Session 4 - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 22
Session 5 - 10:00 a.m.
Session 6 (Championship Finals) - 7:00 p.m.

Seeded Illinois Wrestlers
125: No. 1 Jesse Delgado (25-2), Jr., Gilroy, Calif.
165: No. 12 Jackson Morse (25-6), r-Jr., Alto, Mich.
133: No. 14 Zane Richards (25-7), r-Fr., Carbondale, Ill.
157: No. 16 Zac Brunson (22-12), r-Fr., Eugene, Ore.

Unseeded Illinois Wrestlers
141: Steven Rodrigues (12-9), r-So., Mount Kisco, N.Y.
174: Tony Dallago (20-11), r-Sr. Harrisburg, Pa.
184: Nikko Reyes (20-12), r-Fr., Fresno, Calif.
197: Mario Gonzalez (10-1), r-Sr., Aurora, Ill.

#15 Illinois Set for the 2014 NCAA Championships
The Fighting Illini wrestling team heads to Oklahoma City, Okla. for the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 20-22. Sessions one and two will take place on Thursday, sessions three and four are set for Friday and sessions five and six will take place on Sunday.

The Illini are currently ranked No. 17 in W.I.N. Magazine's Tournament Power Index (TPI). The TPI is compiled by awarding points to each team with ranked wrestlers by W.I.N. Teams are awarded points based on how many potential NCAA All-Americans they could have and get advancement points for wrestlers ranked No. 9-20. Three-time National Champion Penn State takes the top spot with Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Iowa and Cornell rounding out the top-five.

Eight Illini Qualify for NCAAs
Eight Illini wrestlers have qualified to compete at the 2014 NCAA Championships, the most since Illinois qualified nine in the 2009 season. Jesse Delgado (125), Zane Richards (133), Steven Rodrigues (141), Zac Brunson (157), Jackson Morse (165), Tony Dallago (174), Nikko Reyes (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) automatically qualified for the national meet at last weekend's Big Ten Championships. Four wrestlers also earned seeds for the tournament, with Delgado earning the highest seed for the Illini at No. 1. Richards took the No. 14 spot, Morse earned the No. 12 seed and Zac Brunson grabbed the No. 16 spot.

ESPN Expands Coverage of NCAA Championships
For the first time in tournament history, ESPN will televise all six sessions of the NCAA tournament. Sessions one, two, three (quarterfinals) and five (medal round) will air live on ESPNU, while session four (semifinals) and session six (championship finals) will be televised live on ESPN. ESPN3's individual mat feeds will allow fans to watch every match, including the wrestleback bracket.

Illinois History at the NCAA Championships
Seven wrestlers qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championships where the Illini placed ninth with 45.5 points. Jesse Delgado led the Orange & Blue and captured Illinois' first ever 125-pound national title, and will make his third-career appearance at the national tournament this weekend. Tony Dallago will travel to the tournament for the fourth time in his career, while Mario Gonzalez makes his third straight appearance. Jackson Morse has experience at the NCAA tournament after qualifying for the event in 2011, while Zane Richards, Steven Rodrigues, Zac Brunson and Nikko Reyes will compete at the national tournament for the first time.